I came to Australia in 1955 on a plane that took seven days to arrive. It stopped every day to refuel and carried only 75 passengers. I was 26 and I came here to marry my husband, who I had met in the personals section of a Greek women’s magazine. I was already a good cook by then, having learned from my mother in our home in Rhodes, a Greek island near the coast of Turkey. I remember her teaching me how to make daktyla when I was 15 years old. We would make them together as gifts to give to our neighbours or to friends or family; it was one of the first sweets I learned to make. My brothers and sisters were only ever interested in eating them, and not helping, so I would happily help my mother make them by rolling out the pastry. Now as an old woman, I still make them for my grandchildren. We often eat daktyla during Lent, as they don’t contain any dairy. If we have guests over during lent, I will usually bring out a plate of daktyla to have with a Greek coffee.
Photography Sean Fennessy.
Interview by Imoden Byrne.
As seen in Feast magazine, September 2014, Issue 35.