In a scene that could have taken place 100 years ago, or five thousand miles away, Molly and her friend Kaelah spent a delicious Sunday afternoon making burek, a savory Eastern European pastry.
As they chatted happily and stretched dough across our dining room table, I thought about the shared joy of meal preparation and how we’ve ceded that camaraderie in favor of convenience.
I’m a big fan of cellophane and all the tasty food contained within; I love my microwave, electric tea kettle and crock pot. But, wouldn’t it be nice to spend an afternoon cooking old school recipes with friends?
Burek dates back to the Ottoman Empire, though Molly used a more modern recipe from her great-grandma Mary that was probably only a century old.
Kaelah brought her own expertise to the operation, having spent most of her childhood in Bosnia Herzegovina.
The goal, to stretch the dough thin enough to read a newspaper through it, seemed impossible to me but, under their patient hands, the dough grew thinner and thinner until it eventually stretched across our whole dining room table.
They filled the first set of pastry with meat, and the second with spinach and feta cheese, rolled them up, brushed them with an egg wash, baked them and, mercifully, shared them with us.
I loved the whole process and am now actively seeking a Sunday afternoon cooking activity to share with my friends.
Anyone up for a taffy pull?