Watching her take the first bite was the most gratifying feeling in the world.
It was her first Spanakopita ever and she knew it was what she wanted when she first laid eyes on it in the crowded market.
They–all three of them–had made their way (mostly by train) to the large bazaar-like hall with endless food vendors one after the other and a large dining space on the other side.
It was bitingly cold outside on that first day of the year and the market offered warm shelter from the chill, with an array of flavors and seasonings flowing through the air.
Every bite of the warm crusty pie was taken with closed eyes.
“This is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted!” she exclaimed after shoving the last morsel in her mouth, her cheeks flushed.
She raved about it throughout the rest of the day: nearly an hour or two after finishing the remnants of the ice cream cones they had splurged on despite the cold (which she didn’t indulge in); while walking through the chilly plaza outside, and of course, on the train ride back.
She would mention it for weeks, months, and even over a year later. And it was a mystery at first.
A Spanakopita is a spinach pie with cheese in it, like they sell in many places. But what was so special about this one? Could it have been the novelty, the newness of it?
Maybe if she ate it for a month, she’d get sick of it after awhile, surely. But no matter. It was like watching a kid eat their first cone with gusto or smile from ear-to-ear over something they enjoyed.
It was her turn to devour shamelessly, her turn to smile largely, her time to have her fill because it was what she wanted. This was more than a favorable food experience: it was her chance to step outside of what she knew and what her pallet was familiar with in order to taste the different flavors of life all around her. It was one of the sweetest gifts ever given and received at the same time.
That’s why Spanakopitas are magic.