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  • Melissa Orquiza

Athena's Classic Spanakopitta, Inspiration & Privacy, Daft Punk, The Weeknd, Moog Cookbook & Debussy

Updated: May 4, 2021

Yummy! What's under that puff pastry? Athena's Classic Spanakopita!

Athena's Classic Spanakoppita, Inspiration & Privacy, Daft Punk, The Weeknd, Moog Cookbook & Debussy

Two of my favorite candies are Almond Roca and Ferrero-Rocher Chocolates. Both are artfully wrapped in gold tinfoil and covered in a nut coating, hiding either a hard toffee center or a velvety smooth hazelnut filling. These chocolate love affairs started when I was a kid, meandering the chocolate/ candy aisle, at the Oriental supermarket. Now that I think about it, they’re like American and Italian sides of the same coin… almost a riff on the same candy, but intrinsically different. Almond Roca has almonds, milk chocolate, a toffee, hard center and a more cylindrical shape. Ferrero- Rocher candies are a sphere, made from hazelnuts with a more intense, chocolate flavor, encasing a cookie crunch and soft filling. What drew me in as a kid, besides the flavors, was the MYSTERY. Take a bite and there were so many different layers?! Staring in the sunshine, taking in every minutiae, it was a piece of comfort, knowing that even a piece of candy can be multifaceted. Especially now, understanding and trying to know or face the different aspects of ourselves, can help us confront or more profoundly, avoid disasters of our own making. For that reason alone, I relish and actively protect, the idea of privacy.

My close friends and family know that for years, I have been terrified of social media. I prefer to hang out, play, call, and text a person directly, however, the last year has forced me to interact online. (It took a global pandemic and social isolation). Like the bazaar of life, I realized there were exacerbated aspects of being online that I hated and parts I actually liked: ie. the ability to find PPE equipment for my cousin and his medical team (and subsequently others), the exact same day after posting a FB post for help. Privacy is a human right because it gives us the ability to truly examine aspects of ourselves without the judgement or opinions of others, enabling us to fully realize and understand our deepest desires, failures and judgements. It helps incubate and truly examine what works and what doesn’t. If everyone is in each others’ business, how do you know if the decision you are making is truly for yourself or a byproduct of everyone else around you? Will that truly make you fulfilled? Are you inadvertently being led down a path you do not want for yourself, just because the people around you are doing the same thing? It’s not a moral judgment because our friends and family will try to give you their best advice, but everyone has limits and oftentimes, are the most blind to them. Self awareness is your best ally when the world goes to crap.

So in that vein, since our lives truly are the best creations we will ever make, here is something to think about: the intersection of finding artistic inspiration amidst the betrayal of privacy. So many of our celebrities grapple with this truth and in a smaller way, ourselves. Here’s to finding your balance.

Intersection of Privacy & Art

Because “Daft Punk” embodied this. Is the person the art or the music? Musicians carry this torch.

Love. Here’s to redirection, privacy, intellectual ownership and keyboards…

Why Does Daft Punk Wear Helmets - A Brief History of the Band | Vinyl Rewind special

And finally, what is “inspiration?” Art is so semi-permeable. What is “ours”? It’s like our emotions or feelings after encountering a highly emotional situation… Is what I’m feeling or doing solely mine or a byproduct of others?

Moog Cookbook & Daft Punk

I still love this song. Always makes me groove like a mofo…

The Weeknd - Starboy ft. Daft Punk (Official Video)

Still great after all these years. Daft Punk and Tron: Legacy.

Daft Punk - Derezzed (from the movie TRON: Legacy)

A more forward, bombastic arrangement of Debussy's "La Cathédrale Engloutie” by Sir Henry Wood, as opposed to the more known arrangement by conductor, Leopold Stokowski. (I had to throw in an arcane musical reference for good measure if we’re dealing with the intersection of privacy and artistic inspiration). Yes, Debussy because he's French. "Sunken Cathedral" because of duh... semi-permeable privacy, ala the internet.

Debussy 'The Sunken Cathedral' arr. Sir Henry Wood - Bramwell Tovey conducts

Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh, smile and forget your troubles for a little while (and hopefully conjure up some artistic inspiration for yourself)! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Athena's Classic Spanakopita. Because we all have some mystery beneath the surface!

Athena's Classic Spanakopita

by Diane Kochilas, from "The Food and Wine of Greece: More than 300 Classic and Modern Dishes from the Mainland and Islands of Greece"

Makes 6 to 8 servings


One package of phyllo dough (or puff pastry)

Oil, for greasing pan

1 1/2 lbs. fresh spinach

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb. scallions (white part as well as 2 to 3 inches of green), coarsely chopped

2 large bunches fresh dill, chopped, or 1 bunch fresh fennel and 1 bunch dill

1 large bunch parsley, chopped

1 egg, slightly beaten

3/4 lb. feta cheese, crumbled or chopped

2 Tbs grated kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese

3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 egg yolk

2 Tbs. milk


  1. Remove phyllo dough from refrigerator. (I used puff pastry because that's all I could find.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10 1/2 in. pie plate.

  2. Wash and chop spinach and squeeze dry thoroughly, then drain very well. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy skillet. Sauté scallions and leek for 5 to 7 minutes over medium to low heat, until the green part of the leek is bright and softened and scallions are almost translucent. Add the spinach and stir until wilted, 5 to 7 minutes. The spinach will exude liquid. Remove spinach together with scallions and leeks to a colander, and let drain completely. Set aside and cool.

  3. In a large bowl, combine spinach, dill, parsley, scallions, and leek. Add egg, 1/4 cup olive oil, feta, kefalotyri, spices, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, preferably with a wooden spoon.

  4. Divide phyllo dough (or puff pastry) in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out first half of dough to a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place in oiled pie plate. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread spinach filling evenly over dough.

  5. Roll out remaining dough to a 12 inch circle. Carefully place over filling. Gently press top and bottom pastries together and cut away excess, leaving about 1/2 inch hanging over rim of pie plate. Roll top and bottom pastries toward inner edge of rim to form a border crust. Make four small incisions in center of pie with a sharp knife. Lightly beat egg yolk and milk and brush pie crust with the mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brow. Serve warm or cold.

Thanks for reading! Here's to finding your balance on artistic expression and individual privacy. Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

#athenasclassicspanakopitta, #inspiration&privacy, @daftpunk, @theweeknd, @moogcookbook, @debussy, #debussylacathédraleengloutie

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