Today is cookie day.

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This is my first year in 20 years not being in Athens at holiday time, and I miss it terribly. I had decided that today would be the day I would take off from work, brew a pot of coffee and make my holiday cookies.

Cookie exchange

I wanted to do this today so that I would feel ‘connected’ to my friends back in Athens as they celebrate an annual Cookie Exchange’ event. ‘We’d all come together every year at J’s home. She has always been an awesome hostess and I am sure that today was no different.

Holiday cookies

One thing I never did while in Athens for those nearly 20 years, was prepare the traditional Greek Christmas cookies, Melomakarona and Kourabiedes. I hadn’t needed to as many Greek friends provided me with delicious mounds of these cookies. In turn, I was to bake the traditional American cookies that they desired.   But today, being an ocean away from my old life there, I will do two things I haven’t done in all my Christmases in Greece. I will not attend the cookie exchange at one of my main filenada’s (girlfriend’s) home and I will have my first attempt at making the traditional cookies that I am dependent on creating myself this year.


As I fluff thru mounds of flour, globs of butter and pillows of powdered sugar, I am happy that social media and technology are keeping me somewhat connected with the celebration that is happening concurrently 7 hours difference in time & at the same moment.


I had to wake early to call my Pethera, (Mother-in-Law) to have her give me the recipes that she used each year. She was very nice to provide them to me adapted to US measurements and ingredients.


I have always found baking to be very relaxing. Today there are cups of happiness and calm– mixed with measuring spoons of tears and sorrow. I felt a little bit like Julia Child, with her famous, phrase, “A little wine for the chicken, and a little wine for me”, as I shared the Ouzo with the cookie batter:)


We were not ready to move from Athens just 10 months ago, but that is what the oven of life baked up for us. I do like my new home here, but it is sur-real to have the feelings of missing a place that I had 20 years ago felt the same way about the place I am now! Yes—it is that confusing.  Excited and sad to leave the USA 20 years ago, only to find myself now 20 years later both excited and sad to be returning.


As the day passed and I settled into late afternoon as my Athenian friends were settling off to sleep, I sat down with my newly baked Kourabiedes and Melomakarona and a strong cup of tea. I pondered life in my new home and realized that although I missed my friends, I am truly blessed. Wherever I am in the world—they are there with me in my heart.

Melomakarona Greek cookies

I will always be divided between two places, but also untied in two places as well.


The first batches of my Greek cookies are delicious and are baked straight from my heart. I mixed the flour and eggs along with tears and smiles—and ended up with a contented and happy cookie.

Greek Kourabiedes

Click here for Epatia’s Cookie Recipes



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