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Help me with spanakopita, gigantes, pizza recipes? (Athens)

Hi. I'm Brad. I was stationed with the USAF in Athens from Protected content 1982. I've been pretty astonished at how difficult it is to find authentic (non americanized) versions of the most popular Greek "fast food" here in the U.S. "Greek" pizza is available in most Greek restaurants, and of course there are thousands and thousands of 'Greek' restaurants, most of them actually run by Greek famiilies, but is nothing a all like what is to be had on the streets of Athens. I can't even find a recipe for the style on Google despite there being hundreds of "authentic" Greek pizza recipes to be had. The cheese is oilier, saltier, burns a bit more easily, ends up being a little crunchy.... much like real Parmesan more than mozzarella. It has to be a recognized style/recipe since it was pretty standard throughout the city when I lived there.

I also can't find a proper recipe for Gigantes. Another of the extremely common side dishes and one of my favorites while living there. I'd love to know exactly what kind of bean is used, if it's available in the States, and a good standard recipe for the sauce.

Other favorites that are difficult to come by here are the sesame bars baked in a pan and cut thick like brownies. Of course the souvlaki!!!!!! LIttle opengrilled cubes of meat on a soft oily pita lathered in tsadziki. It burns me up that all we have here is Gyros. Cheap fatty overspiced meat loaf on a skewer and I try to tell friends that it is hardly common in Athens.

Anyway. I can't tell you how fortunate you are to be liviing there for some length of time. It's very easy to take for granted the wonders around you when there is, (and I completely empathize) often so much that is irritating and disspiriting about Greece. But live every moment like it's your last day! Seriously. Or you'll spend the rest of your life wondering how you could have let any moment of your time there go wasted.

Just a recipe for generic taverna style pizza and gigantes. I'd be very very thankful. I've got tsadziki perfected... that was pretty easy.

Respect and my everlasting envy,
Brad Williamson

Grand Haven, Michigan.

Athens Forum