Making Spanakopita by Heart

Christos Floros is 89, has a vegetable garden, a foul mouth, and makes great Greek food. He’s a man after my own heart. He lives down the street from me in an old house with a gated front yard, where, for the past few years, I’ve seen him tend to his vegetables, grapevines, apple tree, and flowers. The other day I asked him if he liked to cook, and he said, “are you kidding, I’ve owned four restaurants.”

“Will you teach me to make something Greek?” I asked.

“Yes. What do you like?”

“Spanakopita,” I said, resolutely.

“Come in then.”

“Now?”

“Yes, now.” He then paused and added, “but there’s one rule. You cannot write anything down. You must just use your brain to remember.”

I was a little taken aback by this rule; it seemed so random. But as our conversation over the next couple of hours would reveal, learning by watching and trusting yourself to be capable of excelling at anything has been the secret to Christos’s success. Continue reading