Q: I frequent the Friday luncheons and the annual Greek Fest at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Town and Country. I am in total love with the Greek salad dressing: It's amazing, and I'm pretty sure it's homemade.
— Chance Genovese, St. Louis
A: In the late 1980s, 125 families of Assumption Greek Orthodox Church built a church in Town and Country, moving from University City. "We needed to pay off the debt," says parishioner Art Lieyos, and they decided to serve authentic Greek food at weekly fundraising luncheons.
They also began holding four-day festivals over Memorial Day weekend. Traditional Greek food is a major attraction: Adults favor the lamb shanks, children the pastitsio, a pasta dish with beef, tomato sauce, cheese and a light béchamel sauce. Everyone loves the Greek pastries handmade by the women of the church. There's also a Kids Corner, Greek music and dancing and the chance to see traditional Byzantine iconography, wall-to-wall paintings depicting the life of Jesus.
Andreas Karakasis was an altar boy when the church was located in University City. Today he is responsible for the parish's food activities, including the Friday luncheons and the annual festival. He oversees the large batches of Greek salad dressing that need to be prepared every week. For authenticity, he recommends using Greek olive oil, oregano and feta cheese. "Greek oregano is grown in the mountains," he says. "It's more aromatic."
Recipe: Greek Salad Dressing
Special Request is written by Kirkwood resident Alanna Kellogg, author of the online recipe column KitchenParade.com and "veggie evangelist" at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.