Month of the Rabbit

4/03/2011 09:58:00 am

Since I am a heathen without a god, Easter holds for me only the promise of paid days off from work, and gluttony. Is that so bad?

Just because I don't believe it doesn't mean I don't appreciate the trimmings... and I must share with you something truly wonderful.

First some back story. As you are probably aware, we live in Marrickville. Before it was the new Paddington and we were priced out of the housing market, it was home to a large Greek population. Now it's home mostly to yuppies who complain about aircraft noise, but I digress.

Vestiges of its time as a Greek centre remain in two major forms. The first, delicatessens with so vast an array of cured meats and olives that your heart stops beating before you walk in the door. The second, Greek bakeries.  Athena Greek Bakery, to be precise.

Imagine a wonderland of baklava, paximadia (biscotti), shortbread, friend pastry, and all manner of things filled with custard. All measured by weight. Except for the vanilla slice, a wedge of which is so huge and luscious it could stop the wheels rolling on an A380, which is $2.50 a piece. Even in Armidale, where gentrification has not yet reached the prices in Moxon's Bakery, you cannot buy a piece of good vanilla slice for such a price.

It is an entirely different world. One entirely governed by elderly Greek ladies who think it's strange when people order 4 biscuits rather than 4 kilos of biscuits. On baking days, the smell wafting up our street almost does me in.

I'm guessing the Greeks take Easter very very seriously. Last year, Athena was taking orders for tsourekia (sweet braided bread with a red egg in it) about 3 weeks out, and in the days leading up to Easter, those egg breads didn't stand a chance. And I did actually see gaggles of 3rd generation Greek women with big hair, tight jeans and lots of gold jewellery, with the husband's Lexus double-parked outside (it's not racist if it's true, right?), reeling off lists written by their grandmothers, ordering boxes of biscuits, painted eggs, egg bread, yes, the kilo.

Yes, Easter is a big deal around these parts.

And, non-believer and all,  I would totally buy those straw rabbits if I didn't find them just a bit creepy.

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