By: Cassidy Martenson
The Honors Program at celebrated Greek Independence Day with a sweet treat on Thursday. Students joined Dr. Neovi Karakatsanis, honors program director, virtually to make baklava in their own homes and learn about Greek history.
The idea was originally for a just cooking demonstration led by Dr. Karakatsanis. The idea then transformed into a celebration of Greek Independence accompanied by a tasty treat.
“As we were brainstorming the event, it occurred to me that Greek Independence Day would be an ideal day to host it,” Karakatsanis said.
Honors Students were able to learn about Greek history while Karakatsanis led them in making baklava. Baklava is a traditional Greek pastry made with filo dough, chopped nuts and a sweet syrup. Students were able to pick up some of the specialty ingredients from the honors lounge, such as ground almonds and frozen filo dough.
The students joined Karakatsanis via Zoom after gathering the ingredients. The process took approximately one and a half hours. Students were instructed to complete the final steps later in the evening after their pastry has cooled. While it was a difficult task, it was fun to learn something new, said many of the attendees.
“I hope that students are left with a positive experience, more connection to the honors program and their fellow students, and a delicious dessert,” Paige Closson, Honors Program intern, said.
Students were left with a knowledge of Greek history, a delicious sweet treat and a new skill.
Karakatsanis says her favorite part of baking baklava is the aroma that fills her house and the enjoyment of tasting her hard work. Students were happy to experience these scents and flavors from their own kitchens.
This year was Greece’s bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Karakatsanis is from Chios, a Greek island, and shares a special appreciation for the day. Chios experienced heavy reprisals the year after defeating the Ottoman Empire. Many of its inhabitants joined the call to revolution and three-fourths of the island’s population was killed or sold into slavery.
“As a result, the date has even more significance to me,” Karakatsanis said.
Honors Students should continually check Titan Atlas for events as the spring semester heads into its final months.