Cooking for a bunch of people - the joy of living with roomates

Summer of 2011 was supposed to be glorious. It was supposed to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime summers that you go back and remember for years. Unfortunately it was not. On the contrary I am happy that fall is on its way. So as I am getting ready to fly to London, I will share with you one of my nicest moments of this not-so-nice summer that we're leaving behind.

Flying back to Athens from London in mid August, I was literary without a job and without a house. “Homeless and Jobless” as Mr N said laughing, while sipping his tall starbucks americano one sunny morning at Borough Market a few weeks ago. Yes, both were long-thought decisions but to be honest I haven’t really had time to process everything as I have been too busy planning the future. In fact, part of me still thinks this is all a dream and that on Monday I'll have to get back to my excel spreadsheets and Southeast Europe Market Shares. And I still find it strange when leaving the movie theatre that I don’t head towards the city centre.

Back to mid August, as mama K and Dad were away on holidays, I joined sister Ei to our big house in the suburbs. With everything that was going on, sitting on the balcony looking at green trees seemed to be exactly what I needed. But as Sister Ei was going through a rough time, we invited one of her best friends, Mr X, a very well read literature teacher, to spend some time with us. So I finally got the chance to experience flat sharing. This is something a bit uncommon in Greece as housing is relatively cheap and everyone pretty much has his/her own apartment. It turned out to be lots of fun! Waking up to find french toast prepared by Mr X or having 3 people clean up in the kitchen instead of one really made me rethink of flat sharing next year in London. Trips to the supermarket were a joy, with each of us choosing odd food, from dried bananas and bitter lemon sodas (to mix with Gin) to all sorts of ice cream flavors. Needless to say that ice cream was our dessert of choice every night. Sometimes it even went onto the breakfast table-you can blame the heat for that!

We also had many guests coming and going from early in the morning until late at night. With everyone grabbing things from the fridge and laughing, one needs to cook something fun, simple and playful. One night best friend T came for dinner and I prepared pan fried pork chops with honey, mustard and sage along with a leafy green salad. Everyone loved it!

Then another night, Miss A, my sister’s friend and best friend M and her partner came for dinner. Chicken wings with barbeque sauce, oven baked french fries and, as per sister Ei's exciting and surprising request, Apple Crumble. And I say exciting and surprising because (a) sister Ei almost never has food related requests and (b) who wants to eat apple crumble in the middle of the greek summer? The highlight of those days was during that evening: Mr X, Miss A and myself were cooking, while Sister Ei was picking out a movie for us to watch. Miss A was in charge of the potatoes, I was preparing the wings and the crumble, and Mr X’s was my "sous-chef", peeling the apples for the crumble with a surgeon's precision and asking all sorts of interesting questions.

As I was getting ready to put the tray in the oven I turn around to see three happy faces, looking at me (and the wings) with a huge smile. With the tray in hand I approach the oven and then they all start clapping their hands cheering Yaaayyy! It was magical! For the first time in my life I had three people in the kitchen, genuinely excited about my food, before even tasting it!

You see, a cook usually receives compliments during dinner but for me the greatest moment is before serving the food: when all the preparation of the dish you prepared with love is over and you are getting ready to place it in the oven; praying that the recipe will prove itself to be tasty, that the ingredients you so carefully chose will taste as good as the look and smell, and that all the experiments that you decided to conduct will be successful.

So yay to my wonderful roommates who applaud moments like this and make me the happiest cook!!