“Mageiritsa” is a traditional Greek soup, usually served on the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday. The idea is that after fourty days of fasting, you break yourself in gently before the monster feast the next day. My mother, being English, does a version of this dish which in many ways is better than the original. Like with her mousaka, it is less spicy and not so heavy on your system. Like with her dolmades she takes all the shortcuts in order to get the job done faster. And more importantly – she doesn’t wait for Easter to make it. The slaughter of two goats provided the reason this time. While visiting them on Sunday I had heard about that. I just hadn’t made the connection.
Thursday. It was a typical meal, the sort you try to get used to when you have three very young children. One was climbing a cupboard in order to get to something he shouldn’t be. Another was falling to the floor. The third was loudly objecting to something. For some stupid reason the radio was also blasting at us. Enough to drive my wife to a screaming fit, thought it didn’t seem to be helping much as the chaos continued. The flu had finally caught up with me with gusto, blocked nose, sore throat and all. It had taken all my strength to go out shopping and I was ready to collapse.
But not now, I was mesmerised. Everything else faded in the background, the way the background fades when you photograph a flower with a macro lens, the way everything goes quiet before your ears pop on a flight.
She must have brought it around while I was out. The dish was full to the brim. The lemon juice I squeezed on could barely fit. No bread, no salad, no nothing. Just me and my mageiritsa. I think I offered the kids a taste but I didn’t insist. The commotion was still at a high but the bond between me and the food was unshakeable. A river runs through it. Meanderings of soup like cosmic string theory connecting me to my mum and probably to her mum ad infinitum.
Life tastes good.
I love you mum.