Researching regional cuisines, we the food writers, are usually met with incredibly welcoming cooks who not only share their recipes and tips, but may go as far as to organize a whole cooking event for us, inviting their friends and relations, in their eagerness to teach us the cooking of their village or region. But occasionally we encounter a professional, or semi-professional cook who stubbornly refuses to even vaguely describe their signature dish. One such experience I shared with my mentor, renowned author Paula Wolfert in the '90ies, as we travelled through the Northern of Greece, collecting recipes for our books.
Paula's marvelous account of such an incident she shared, some years ago, on the food forum egullet, and now she posted it on the Facebook pageGreek, Balkan and Mediterranean Food :
" For the past 30 or so years, I've traveled around Greece with my good friend, the terrific food writer Aglaia Kremezi. On one trip through the Northern Zagora region (a beautiful area of gorges, forests, rivers, and mountains of layered rocks with a stunning monastery perched on a peak 3,200 feet above sea level) we stopped at a little restaurant in the tiny hamlet of Monodendri famous for its pittas or open faced fried pies -- thin, crisp, fragrant and warm slices of phyllo covered with a layer of shredded kasseri cheese and crumbled feta. The top had an unusual glossy sheen that seemed impossible if the pie was only fried.