There is a small hole in my heart.

Protests and clashes over shooting of 15 year old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a police officer continue unabated. Greek police run out of teargas and approached Germany and Israel for urgent supplies. Police quickly denied its involvement in the shooting of a 16 year old boy’s hand. Riot police officers protect the Christmas tree at Syntagma Square in Athens. The original tree was burned in the first days of protests and the second one is the best -guarded tree in the world!!!!  In some ways the protests have found different forms: all over Greece more than 800 high schools and 240 university departments are occupied, there are protests outside police stations and protests in the central streets of major cities.

 It is the murder of Alexis and the sense of despair that make the climate in Greece so tense. You see, when you have in the midst of serious economic depression an incompetent government and several senior government officials involved in a long series of economical scandals… when you have parents working hard to support their childrens’ studies and school kids working very hard at school to get in a Public University, expecting a wage of 700 €… when the dramatic expansion of university education has not been followed by an analogous increase of public funding… when there are repeatted attacks on social security… when there is almost impunity for police violence, including racist attacks and there is no faith in the Greek justice system…. in a few words when there is a crisis of values, institutions, politics, society and economy, all it takes is a spark.


The violence that broke out after the shooting death is a result of the state violence which is, by far, much more destructive than teenagers’ violence. In fact, no one in Athens was surprised by the situation that broke after the shooting death. However we are all surprised by the duration of the protests. Anarchist groups played a key part in the first days, the undercover police and of course, the fascists, but the most important role is held by the anguished, disillusioned and angry middle-class teenagers who look at their economic and employment future with despair; who can not believe that one of them was murdered for nothing. It is a revolt of schoolchildren and students, most on the streets for the first time.

Greek society is still in shock by the killing and its anger is fuelled by the violence employed against demonstrators. Thus, parents and other adults have to protect the protesting kids standing between them and police.

These strange days, philanthropic bazaars give some light in our souls. My son’s school parents association organized a bazaar to raise money for the underprivileged children’s extra education (visits to museums, and theatres, participation in education programs and other events). Parents and schoolchildren made the majority of the artefacts, gift items and food showcased in the bazaar. I made Christmas wreaths, liquers (lemon, strawberry and bitter almond), chocolates, various flavored salts, sauces and my favorite mostarda dolce. The two – day bazaar was hosted by the school and featured entertainment, shopping and delicious food for children and visitors.

Yes, there is a small hole in my heart… and a smile on my face as I see people feeling responsibility for the needy.



3 large quinces, peeled and cut in 2 cm cubes

700 gr sweet wine (mavrodaphni or visanto) + 2 tbs

1 cinnamon stick

3/4 tsp powdered cloves

2 tb powdered mustard seeds

Stir 2 tbs wine into mustard powder in small cup. Place quinces, wine, cloves and cinnamon stick into a pot and simmer gently, stirring frequently until desired consistency is achieved. Take the pot off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick, add the mustard pulp, stir well and spoon while mostarda dolce is still hot into hot sterilized jars.

This mustard is made in Zante (Ionian islands) and is one of the delicacies a skilled cook prepares for the feast on Christmas eve. In Corfu mostarda dolce is made with a variety of candied fruits. The rest of Greece is unfamiliar with this fruit mustard which is of italian origin and dates back to the middle ages. Mostarda dolce is a requirement with the roast turkey or meat, however is delicious with a selection of hard cheese. 

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