One of the things I love best about being part of my village is that whenever my friend Eleni is making anything; the whole family get involved and we are invited too. After the making there is usually some sort of tasting and the indispensable bar b q. Well it stands to reason doesn't it, if you have to light a fire in that heat, to make full use of it.
So one day we get a call to say the trachanas are being made with souvla to follow. The first time I saw trachanas I was fascinated; huge stacks of red boxes holding huge drying trays full of biscuity things. At that time she gave us a small bag and they were religiously put in a glass jar and stored in the kitchen. Some years later Eleni was surprised to see them still there! Obviously I didn't have the faintest idea of what they were or what to do with them.
For those who don't know this biscuit; it has a long and ancient history and variations on the theme are seen all over the Eastern Mediterranean. In the summer months pourgouri (cracked wheat, bulghar) is mixed with boiling fermented milk until the paste thickens. It is then cut up into small bars and dried in the sun for three or four days. Once dry, it is stored and used throughout the year in one of Cyprus' national soups. There is nothing more warming than a bowl of trachanas soup on a cold winter night. It is also very nutritious and is a natural way of preserving the milk protein