By Lucie Robson
Whenever I travel to England, nowhere do I feel the favourable influence of Cyprus more keenly than when it comes to cooking. This is not to give British food a bad rap.
Any stance UK cuisine is unpalatable is light years out of date. There are restaurants in the areas I regularly visit I always go to and shops are packed with all the ingredients you need.
It’s the Cypriot effortlessness of enjoying food that I appreciate. In many UK restaurants, for example, they now list calorific and fruit and veg content details on menus.
This ‘nannyish’ practice I put under the heading of “Too Much Information”.
Also, in the UK I always feel they’ve counted out every half cherry tomato and sprig of water cress in my salad. In Cyprus I feel like I’ve dipped into a bottomless cornucopia.
I was reminded of this at a recent fundraising event my sister invited me to help with in the UK town where she lives.
The event was an evening of entertainment and cold buffet dinner, donated by different people, in support of the local refugee centre.
My sister was put in charge of salads and, expecting 90 people, pulled out a couple of vats totalling a capacity of 28 litres.
We both got busy making the food but on examining the half full vats at the end of it all were dissatisfied.
“It’s not enough,” my sister, who lived in Cyprus for years, said.
I fresh from the land where mint and basil grows in abundance, and where when you need a lemon you only need to reach your arm one metre in any direction to pluck one from a heavily laden tree, agreed.
More boiling, chopping and sautéing took place until each vat was three-quarters full. “I still don’t think it’s enough,” fretted my sister as we lugged the food into the venue and onto the buffet table.
But while all the other food looked delicious we nearly, well, overlooked it.
A polite dining table-sized bowl of salad stood next to a dinner plate stacked with lentil bake slices which was touching a Tupperware tray of artichokes.
This was the scene all along the table. Discreetly we shunted each small receptacle a few inches down the table to make room for our generous Cyprus-sized servings.
“We’ve overdone it,” my sister now said.
It was evident at the end of the night big dents had been made in our offerings but there was still plenty left over.
The good news is the event raised loads of cash!