Bastard Greeks

Posted on August 9th, 2010 Won't you help brighten a lonely comment's day?

In roughly ten to twenty years from now, crossing over the Bloor viaduct, you’ll probably be able to wander into any establishment and order a classic Torontonian Greasy Danfurd — or something of that nature.

Oh, we already have the Greasy Danfurd now, in case you didn’t know, and it’s already something of a classic. It has hairy bare chests, gold medallions, girls names Roula / Toula / Voula / Koula / etc.-oula, and small, innocuous-looking elderly men that you just know are mob leaders of some sort.

taste of the danforth, toronto, city, life

It’s the Danforth, of course! And on the Danforth is that yearly tradition, the Taste of the Danforth. That’s the “Danfurd” part, and the Greeks are the “Greasy”, as in “Greece-y”.

It’s a theory, but one that I think will bear out. I believe the same’s happened with other foods / cultures. Take my favourite overpriced sourpuss, the passion fruit, for example.

passion fruit, toronto, city, life

In Mandarin, it’s called Bai-Shiang-Guo (pronounced like buy-young-grow), probably not an originally Chinese name. With the exception of the guo part (which means fruit), it sounds an awful lot like “passion” — buy-sh-young; no? Phonetically it makes sense. Literally it means “fruit of a hundred aromas” (bai=hundred, shiang=odour, smell, aroma), which mostly misses the horniness connotation: “Here, darling, have a smelly fruit.” Kinda like the Japanese word for chocolate – cho-ko-re-to – something to do with small cold cups of sugar. Where da cocoa at?!

taste of the danforth, deep fried foods, toronto, city, life

So my theory is that the current “Greek Danforth” will be conflated somehow in the future and the original meaning, along with the original festival, will be lost in the annals of time like some kinda ancient civilization for which I have no example.

And I just know that some snot-nosed punk is gonna try to convince me that the Greasy Danfurd is actually named after some guy named Danfurd who was the first to put French fries in his Gyros; Gyros, of course, being named after Venetian flying machines; Venetians, if you read your history, being blind due to staring into the sun all day — just like Da Vinci, the first Gyro captain, original sky-bound blind dude, and pommes-frites-eating tickler of French fancies. That’s why he’s on display at the Louvre, naturellement.

messini, gyros, greek food, taste of the danforth, toronto, city, life

It’s already kind of happening. I mean, the Danforth is still very much Greek-central, but the food festival is increasingly being infiltrated by unrelated participants – local colleges trying to recruit stooges, soy beverage pushers trying to get you to “enjoy” their samplers with your side of fatty lamb, even the cops trying to rustle up meaty volunteers. The point of Taste was for the local restaurant owners to set up in front of their shops and give the public cheap samplings of their Grecian delights. The Gyros, the Souvlaki, the Tsatsiki, they’re all still there — but for how long?

pikilla, gyros, greek food, taste of the danforth, toronto, city, life

Well, this officially marks the second TCL anniversary at the eatfest so we’ll at least be able to mark the decline of this fascinating civilization. I mean, I’m sure it’ll be around for some time to come, but I’m equally sure it’ll be bastardized into something we might not readily recognize. “Greece? Nah, don’t like it. Olivia Newton-John grates on my nerves.”

Last year, as I recall, it was a lot more festival-y; kids’ rides, slides, menacing clowns. So this year I managed to talk my mom, sis, and her minions into coming down for the afternoon, only to crush their spirits with a lacklustre Taste. The weather didn’t even have the decency to stay respectable.

taste of the danforth, rain, toronto, city, life

I should’ve known something was up when Thai food started showing up along the street. Oh well. At least Toronto has a bazillion other food festivals to attend; shame but I think Taste has been on the grill too long.

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