On the subject of Greek food, Patrick Leigh Fermor was clear about one thing: he could not stand moussaka. One day, however, his cook decided to put this prejudice to the test. She served him a moussaka, not telling him what it was, and awaited the outcome. The moussaka was made to the cook's own recipe - which involved frying all the vegetables (aubergine, courgette, potato) in olive oil and making a notably rich bechamel sauce - and she believed this to be the finest moussaka available to man. PLF ate the moussaka with relish, declared it delicious, and inquired what it was. 'Moussaka' announced the cook triumphantly. 'But I hate moussaka!' declared the great man.
I owe this insight into the home life of Patrick Leigh Fermor to Rick Stein, who in last night's episode of From Venice to Istanbul visited the writer's villa in the Mani and met the delightful woman who cooked for him.