Lately it seems it is popular to make what was "old fashioned" new again but I am not certain this is always a good thing. Do we really need to break what does not need fixing? I think "old fashioned" food is comforting because it is familiar. I enjoy cooking these "old fashioned" foods as new old friends. A little twist here or a curve there is ok for an old fashioned recipe but new routes are not needed.
I recently got to eat baklava my cousin Athanasios made. Athanasios makes it like his mother made it, with roasted sesame seeds and a combination of almonds and walnuts which he does not toast. He also uses an organic honey as the sweetener. Athanasios's baklava is very different from my grandmother, Mary's, baklava. My grandmother's baklava, like I make, is made without sesame and uses syrup sweetened with sugar, cinnamon stick, whole clove and a bit of lemon peel with a tiny amount of honey instead of straight honey. Where Athanasios's baklava is soft and drips with honey, mine is crispy and only has enough syrup to reach the bottom layers and made rich with butter.
The first time I tasted Athanasios's, I was surprised by the taste and texture but quickly came enjoy this new old friend.
Cooking is such a lovely way to connect with people don't you think? Athanasios and I chatted back and forth about the techniques we each use to make baklava and about the memories we have surrounding this sumptuous Greek treat. We bonded and became new old friends.