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Skordalia and Family in KPHTH Magazine

November 2018 article by George Vutetakis

1897 meeting of the revolutionary council at Plakoures, Crete. E. Venizelos is in the center. Manolis Stratigakis is on the right.

Inspiration from Anthe in KPHTH Magazine











Baklava is one of the hallmark dishes of Cretan heritage.


Originating in Ionian kitchens, it was adopted in every region of Ottoman rule and incorporated into each culture’s national cuisine because of its heavenly flavors and flaky, yet juicy, textures.  


I cannot recall any family gathering without Yia Yia’s, Anthe (Stratigakis) Vutetakis, deliciously sweet and delectable baklava. She crafted her recipe while growing up in the village of Plakoures in western Crete and passed it onto her children and grandchildren. My aunt Thea Irene Laggeris inherited her mother’s culinary aptitude and, as most talented cooks will do, added her own memorable touches to the original recipe.


My recipe takes inspiration from the original while using local ingredients and seasonal tastes. The authenticity is rooted in Greek tradition while paying homage to how so much in America is built upon, or influenced by, Greek foundations.


This dessert was introduced to the public in 1997 when I was chef and owner of Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak, Michigan. It quickly became a favorite, especially in the Autumn when Michiganders share a collective passion for all desserts crafted with pumpkin, sweet spices and maple syrup.  

This is a healthier plant-based interpretation of the traditional baklava recipe. It combines maple syrup, organic cane sugar, fresh baked pumpkin and healing Autumn spices with walnuts and whole wheat phyllo dough. If pumpkin is not available, hubbard, butternut, buttercup, or similar squashes, may be used.




Irene Laggeris in the Canton Repository

Veterans Day Appreciation

From Wikipedia:
World War I was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. More than 70 million military personnel participated, making it one of the largest wars in history. An estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war with losses exacerbated by technological developments and the tactical stalemate caused by trench warfare. The war is also considered a contributory factor in a number of genocides and the 1918 influenza epidemic, which caused between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide. Unresolved rivalries at the end of the conflict contributed to the outbreak of World War II about twenty years later.

Coffeehouse Traditions- KPHTH Magazine

Marjorie and Sam


Giving thanks.

They made a difference in this world, enriching the lives of those around them with their kindness and generosity.

Marj and Sam 2006

Marjorie – 1929 to  November 7, 2015

Spyros “Sam” – 1921 to November 27, 2009



Marj and Sam 2006







I watch you write letters of Christmas.

Your heart guides the point of your pen,

As it renders sp
eech to intangible feelings

(hydroactive feelings)

That ebb, rest, or flow,

tides of the sea of life in many forms….

Lakes of familiarity, influential factors fixed….

Gushing springs of renewal, resource cisterns calm and cool….

Sometimes floods swell, bursting in passion….

Rivers of sweet hope meander

toward their destinations….

And above them all, the sharing mode

of love’s gentle rain:

All distilled by you into incomparable

gifting messages of vibrant

and warm expression

That happily ripple and enrich the same waters

of the people who receive them!

*      *     *

(I admiringly wish you rewarding holidays.)

Sam 12/18/07

53 times

San DIego 1106 095

Marjorie, come,
The bells have rung!
53 times our song has sung.
It’s clear to all, and not just some
That our long great venture has made us one.

With each other in spirit we’ve danced, Fueled, and steeled, by love and devotion’s stance which blossomed from a cliff-climbing Ozark romance.

Beginning with Nietzsche and tree-hugging Wooster, to the Inn Season Cafe’,
From Morgantown to Pleasant St to Guilderland
to Ingleside Rd to Atwood, aye,
Through the burgs of Pitts and Harris, Pennsylvaniay, You have hung in there with me the entire way.

And now, whence?

Well, let’s dine at Lily’s Seafood Cafe’ hence also enjoy The Cooler’s humor thence. next to Marino’s food events.

Through it all, I confirm that (despite the domino effect) I loved you in the past, do so in the present, and shall do so in the future tense.

(As was said about West Virginia’s mountain water, Marj, it’s just plain common sense!)


Birthday Poem

Marjorie finding beauty

San DIego 1106 089

This is a very special birthweek, featuring the

arrival on earth of such eminent human beings as the

Reverend Martin Luther King, the Reverend Oscar Olson,

and, Marjorie, you.   And your paths in life have

since crossed.

There was the occasion, when you were 21, of

Reverend Olson uniting you to fortunate me, the

first time he presided over this important process.

Then there was the memorable 1967 sermon in

the Cleveland Antioch church by Dr King, which you

attended, when you were both 38.  There was visible

only one other white woman amidst the congregation

of hundreds, which is a tribute to you as well as your

presence then was to Dr King.

So now you are 75, three-quarters of the way Home.

May your way be sunny with health, and flowered with love,

as by these Primroses.  And may the attached coins, such as

your ancestors used, be the root of riches to come.

Mother’s Day 1972


In 1971, Anthe Vutetakis, son Spyros Vutetakis, daughter Helen Krikos and grandson George Vutetakis, visited Crete. It was the first time Anthe had stepped foot on the island in over fifty-two years. Every year Spyros would give his mother a poem as a gift on Mother’s Day. This one was inspired by the celebrated visit.

Now you’ve been a mother for 51 years, and a yaya for 22.

You have done it very well, as you can tell

By just looking at the people around you.

We each have our ideas, our style and our place, but

one feeling together embrace:

Much more than a mother you are- the roses in our garden,

a faithful friend in our lives, a warm magnet that

gathers us from afar.

The Lord surely guided patera to Plakoures, and then

gave us to you

And lovingly gave you to us.

So there’s a song in our souls, let your ears and your heart

have their fill:

We love you….metera, yaya, friend….and always will.


The Beauty poem


With the kindness of its weather,

San Diego has developed multiple forms of beauty.

(My words of enthusiasm are difficult to restrain.)

The soil harbors and embraces plants which give birth

to hundreds of varieties of flowers.

Their creative method of procreation is:

they make their flowers so fragrant and colorful

that the bees and other pertinent species

are attracted to visit,

To collect their nectar, and thereby leave tracks

from gathering visits to neighboring flowers.

The plants then “eat”, and become happily pregnant.

This is the intelligence of beauty!

Now the plants we call ‘trees’ reach high for the sky

and its sunshine.

Each family has its own leaf formation, and height,

their arms lissome to the winds,

as their hair of leaves is tousled.

And we humans too enjoy our views of them.

~Spyros Vutetakis 2007