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We were never a bread and butter family. If bread was going to be served with lunch or dinner (and let’s face it, it usually was), it was used to sop up all of the delicious sauces and juices which came with our great meals, like green beans with potatoes, stewed green peas and horiatiki salad. No butter required. And even if the meal was not bathed in rich delicious sauces, butter was unnecessary because our parents would either drizzle our pieces of bread with olive oil, or create an aromatic olive oil and vinegar combination that we could then dip our bread into.
We don’t know about you, but in our homes, melitzanosalata often plays second and third fiddle to some of the other, more popular Greek dips like tzatziki and taramosalata. This is a shame, and every time we do have melitzanosalata, we vow to make it again very soon; it is so good, so easy, and pretty good for you too. It is also a great way to use up any eggplant surplus from the garden when you don’t feel like eggplant chips (actually…we always feel like eggplant chips), or you don’t have the time to invest in making moussaka.
When we were young, we didn’t have all of the gadgets and gizmos that kids today have to keep us amused. We made our own fun, often out of nothing. One of our favourite games was dubbed “Try to make the other person laugh”; one of us would be seated, and the rest of us would take turns, using a variety of tactics, trying to make that person laugh, without touching them. The person who could hold out the longest without laughing was declared, The Winner! We especially liked playing this game when our family was visiting from Ontario, as their visits usually prompted a larger get-together, with more aunts, uncles and cousins. With so many kids, this meant hours of silly fun. It also meant that there was, of course, plenty of food. Along with the pitas, keftedes, salads and grilled meats, there was always tzatziki. Aside from being delicious, this garlicky dip provided more amusement. Invariably, a few of us would sneak a generous helping before the meal was served. We would then get really close to our cousins and siblings, preferably backing them into a wall, and breathe into their faces. Oh, how we laughed and laughed, as they practically choked on the noxious garlic breath they were forced to inhale. Good times.