Saturday, July 1, 2017

Real Yogurt

My daughter points to the white and blue container in my fridge, "That's not real Greek yogurt, you know."

I didn't know. "But it says Greek yogurt."

"You have to read the label," she chides. "Real Greek yogurt is 20% protein--this one is around 10%. The other giveaway is the ingredient list; the process to make thick Greek yogurt takes time and special equipment. This brand," she points to the last ingredient on the list, " uses pectin for thickening."

It's only yogurt, but I feel betrayed. Especially since this brand is my favorite flavor. It's not even the real deal.

The first time we visit a little (it's so little, the grocer doesn't have change for €5), grocery on Lesvos, I look for yogurt. I find a little container. We buy it, and when I taste, it's luscious and thick, thick.

When the last bite has been scooped, we stop at our now favorite grocery with the lady firmly perched behind the counter, cigarette smoke curling out the front door. When we ask her questions, she answers us in Greek as if we understand her and as if she understands us--always with a smile. We're on friendly terms so that when I have a craving for dates to go with the yogurt, she jumps to the cause and leads me to the refrigerated case, positive that she knows what I've requested. She lifts a box of cream cheese; if I could go back in time, I would have said "Yes, yes," and we both would have beamed.

She is so helpful, that when a man who speaks both English and Greek enters the store, she ushers him to us for help. However, he doesn't understand the word "date," and I am describing its size and color in detail, until finally he breaks into that grin earned through perseverance and patience.

He points to a palm tree to insure our understanding continues. "Yes? Only in the fall. Dates can only be purchased then. But perhaps you could drive to Mytilini."

No drive to Mytilini, becauseI didn't come for dates, I came for real yogurt. Tony pulls him to the yogurt case. The shopkeeper follows and everyone in their part-English, part-Greek and sign language engages in conversation about the best yogurt. He chooses two, "One is sweet, and the other is not." She chooses a brand, but he disagrees. We buy them both.

However, one is not sweet, it is only not tangy. One is super, super tangy, and the other is creamy. Both are thick and loaded with yogurt flavor. Best of all, it's the real deal.

When we purchased some Greek honey to pour on the yogurt, Tony fell in love, because, "It tastes like ice cream."

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