#WorldRefugeeDay is trending as we read about survivors beached on Greek Islands like driftwood after sea journeys in rubber rafts cast them ashore. Organizations working with the Greek government provide humanitarian relief to refugees. Some may be familiar to most, but often go unrecognized. Christmas comes to children by way of the “Shoe Box Ministry” through Samaritan’s Purse. This same non-profit organization works to shelter the refugees by providing materials, supplies including blankets, backpacks, meals and hygiene resources. “Compassion requires ACTION”, quoting myself. I will not tell you how to act, but encourage participation in the effort to save human lives.
Today, I share about my Greek friend who declared many years ago that he was adopting our family. His alias name known to most is Pete Scott. We met because he was a fine artist I commissioned to paint a large wall mural. He didn’t make a great living as a fine artist so his claim to fame was a business sign painter. The tools of his trade were Squirrel hair brushes and high quality sign paint. His signage and paintings survive him.
Pete’s true identity became clear as a business relationship grew into a friendship. His Greek identity was his signature on all the gifts he shared with us over many years. He was a classical guitarist, taught music and brought his instruments to our home to entertain all present. The traditional Greek instrument called a bouzouki was my favorite. He played “Never on Sunday” one evening while couples danced in my living room.
Pete was a chef and restaurateur for a time and was proficient at feeding a crowd. His recipe for Cabbage Rolls is below. He explained that he used to make them traditionally with Grape leaves.
I have lost track of him since his move and death of his sister he once lived with. He very well may not be alive as his current age would be Ninety-Three. His service as a paratrooper trainer in France during WWII is honorable and he was definitely an unsung hero. After the war he worked as a scene artist for a major motion picture company.
People like “Pete” carry their heritage with them throughout their lives. His devotion to his mother was evident as he talked about a heavy Greek bread she would make without measurements that he never perfected.
I played the Greek toy wind up bouzouki for my thirty year old parrot the other day and was reminded about “Uncle” Pete’s love. It was a gift purchased from Greece for our young daughter. Whenever I wear the Greek hand embroidered apron he gave me I am reminded that Greeks know no strangers because they feed you and entertain you like you were their immediate family.
I believe the greatest stories are about the simple “Acts of Kindness” that are often never told. Pete’s story has many chapters. He “adopted” our family in the senior years of his life. His legacy is fresh.
Please enjoy his recipe and think about #WorldRefugeeDay. People need to eat ever day and children should have breakfast, lunch and dinner. What will your roll be in world humanitarian relief?
Pete’s Cabbage Rolls
2-3 heads Cabbage – boiled (Save the Cabbage Water)
2 pounds ground beef sirloin
2 cups Rice
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small onion – grated
½ teaspoon Dill Weed
½ teaspoon Tarragon
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
Separate the boiled cabbage leaves, stuff and roll the combined ingredients into neat “packages”. Layer the Cabbage rolls into a large pot and cover with broth and sauce completely.
3 Cups Cabbage Water
3-4 tablespoons Tomato Paste
8 ounces crushed Tomatoes
¼ teaspoon Orange Peel
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Dill Weed
¼ – ½ teaspoon Tarragon
sprinkle of Garlic Powder
2-3 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
Pour sauce on top of the cabbage rolls adding Chicken Broth and the rest of the Tomato Paste and Tomatoes to cover the rolls. Bring the temperature up slowly so cabbage rolls at the pan bottom will not scorch. Cover and simmer (lightly boil) until rice is tender and meat is completely cooked. Serve hot in bowls.