When I was growing up my mom would always make our family’s spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) recipe. Our recipe called for four things: frozen spinach, cottage cheese, regular dough instead of filo, and a cup of Sanka (instant decaf coffee) on the side. I remember watching my mom make the spinach pie in awe and excitement. In order to make it right, you had to knead the spinach in the sink – for what felt like hours as a kid – to make sure all the water was removed. Then you added all the ingredients and mixed them together in a big bowl with your hands.
We’d both wait longingly for the timer to go off. Finally, when it was ready, we’d eat standing up in the kitchen, straight out of the pan. My moms spinach pie is still my favorite food to this day — and I can’t eat it without a cup of Sanka.
I decided to include this piece, not because of it’s rich tradition or history, but because I think that this is how family traditions and folklore are started. When the informant told me that she cant eat spanakopita without a cup of Sanka I really thought about the fact that when you become so accustomed to doing something alongside something else, it almost feels empty when the two arent together. I think that the tying together of these two things is what makes this piece unique and interesting.