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Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick

Lost and Found by Eleanor Thomas

My partner and I strode through the saloon door side by side and paused just inside. The buzz of conversation died like air escaping from a balloon, and dozens of weather-hardened faces turned to stare. But this wasn't Dodge City in 1883. This was a village perched on a Peloponnesus mountain in the fall of 1966. 

Blonde and blue, North American girls from head to open-toed shoes, we had taken them by surprise. Silence filled the taverna, as thick as the steam billowing above the stove across the room. The only sound was the hiss and bubble from the cauldrons on its surface, but the fragrances that filled the air were so moist and luscious that they were almost tangible.

A woman in white stood frozen beside the stove, as startled as the men. At last she moved, calling to us through the hush, one plump arm waving us forward. She lifted the pot lids one at a time, pointing with her wooden spoon at each simmering stew, asking, so we thought, what we would like to have. 

Potato chunks bubbled in tomato sauce, fragrant with rosemary. Cubes of meat danced in a thick broth. One dish held green runner beans, and in another, onions and aubergine slices hissed in olive oil. And there was more. We tried it all, a bit of everything, ladled into stoneware bowls. 

We sat and ate until we forgot the terror of the mountain road, the fog, the missed turns of the long night before and the confusion that came with dawn. We rested in the taverna, warm and content, off-course in Greece but no longer lost.

Eleanor Thomas is from Ottawa, ON

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