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Badge Task Mash-Up: Books & Family Heritage, Part I

The mash-up: two or more things that stand alone quite nicely, but, put together can create something that feels both new and familiar. The sum usually may not always be greater than the parts, but it’s still a fun exercise. I tried to apply the principle last week when it was my turn to host my book club for convo and dinner.


I cherish the smart, funny women in my book club, and I’ve been a happy member since early 2010. We meet every six weeks or so, and we rotate hosting duties. The calendar is established at the start of the year, the host also gets to choose the book to be read, and nobody gets out of taking their turn.

Charles and I do not do a lot of entertaining in our tiny cottage of a home, and I worried about the comfort level of ten women in our living room. How to compensate? Cook a really good meal.

Readers of the BSP know that I am kitchen-challenged. Historically, however, there is one kind of cuisine at which I seem to excel: Greek. I think it comes from having watched my yaya in her kitchen as a small girl. A woman of pinches and fistfuls, as opposed to measuring spoons and cups, she whisked through traditional meals with more energy than a woman of 80 should normally have. And she somehow  delivered the goods without covering her uniform of black mourning with flour.

Anyway, it all worked out quite nicely, especially since tasks for the My Heritage badge ask scouts to celebrate and show pride in their heritage, as well as learn a special dish, game or song that ancestors might’ve enjoyed. To do this right, one dish wouldn’t be enough. I needed the big spread.

I cooked for several evenings to create a menu of greek salad, pastitsio, spanikopita, baked shrimp, and diples (or thiples). Plus some basic finger food: olives, pita, feta, tzitzki. Here are a few shots to prove it:

Spanikopita: Spinach and feta in phyllo triangles

Pastitsio: Greek “lasagna” with a bechamel sauce

Diples (or Thiples): honey-soaked fried dough with walnuts and cinnamon

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of either the baked shrimp or people actually eating the food, but I’m going to take that as a sign that we were enjoying the heck out of it all. As unnerved as I get at the thought of cooking for and entertaining others, this was an incredible pleasure. I can’t explain how it is that I’m often challenged to boil water correctly, but when it comes to Greek food, I just get it.

But you’re asking, “Hey Jean… what about the book? This was for book club, right?”

Ah, yes. The book in question, my choice, was Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  We’ll look at the book in the next post…


3 thoughts on “Badge Task Mash-Up: Books & Family Heritage, Part I

  1. Pingback: Badge Task Mash-Up: Books & Family Heritage, Part II | The Big Scout Project

  2. Pingback: Badge Task Mash-Up: Books & Family Heritage, Part II | The Big Scout Project

  3. So, no Uzo???? Jean, the food looks AMAZING! If I had to choose between the pemmican of my Native American (Cherokee) heritage and the weinerschnitzel from my German heritage, I think I’d go for the tasty friend food….and, of course, the English major in me is very interested in hearing what your book club thought of the seminal American novel, it’s use of dialects, and its depiction of Jim.

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