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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > April 2019 > ”The food that shaped my past – and my future”

”The food that shaped my past – and my future”

There’s an extra-special theme to Georgie’s Hayden’s dishes this month… She’s just published a new and beautiful book, Taverna, which celebrates the food of her Cypriot heritage. These recipes were made with loyalty, love and care – the best ingredients a cook can have
Pumpkin, bulgur wheat and raisin pie (kolokythopita), p67
RECIPES AND FOOD STYLING GEORGINA HAYDEN PHOTOGRAPHS KRISTIN PERERS STYLING TABITHA HAWKINS

Writing Taverna was something I’d dreamed of my whole life. I was desperate to record and share the recipes and stories from my childhood. To shout about Cypriot food – what it means to me and why there’s a place for it in everyone’s home — was the reason I wanted to become a food writer.

I grew up in north London surrounded by food. Dad’s parents owned a Cypriot taverna and Mum’s folks opened one of the city’s irst Cypriot delis. Every weekend and holiday there was a meal or feast to celebrate.

I was born above the restaurant and my childhood memories revolve around the place. I recall my paternal yiayia (grandmother) cooking, my bapou (grandad) cleaning the cutlery and glassware and Dad manning the bar. Even now, at 78, my grandma still cooks for us all at least once a week. After Greek school on Saturdays my sister Lulu and I would run into the restaurant and help by laying tables and illing the salt and pepper pots – but mostly we just got in the way. My maternal grandparents were just as food-driven, and my other yiayia made the best koupepia (stufed vine leaves) I’ve ever eaten. She’d walk miles every day to ind the most aromatic herbs and freshest vegetables for that evening’s dinner. I’ve written Taverna with my grandparents (especially my yiayias and great-aunties) in my heart. They are the reason I feel so passionately about my heritage and its cuisine. I hope you enjoy our food and that these recipes become a part of your family too.

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About delicious. Magazine

Celebrate spring with our April/Easter issue: the maestro Francesco Mazzei creates an Italian feast while Raymond Blanc roasts a salmon French-style. Finish off with cakes from Bake Off’s Martha Collison, Paul A Young's new sticky, chocolate pud or Brick House's orange hot cross bun loaf. Read how in 1999 British food changed forever and find out whether counting calories works. If you've ever wanted to visit Amsterdam, we've got the latest foodie recommendations as well as a round-up of the best Easter eggs AND 16 extra pages of brilliant cheesecakes!