Though he’s the youngest of three brothers in my new novel, What’s Left, her uncle Tito winds up as the family patriarch.

As much as Cassia would love for him to fill the emotional void created by the disappearance of her father in an avalanche halfway around the globe, he’s not naturally inclined to be the warm supportive figure she desires. Even her best friend forever Sandra, Tito’s daughter, would agree.

Still, he’s physically present, usually in suit and tie, when required.

And he’s married to Yin, for added friction.


A passage I trimmed from an earlier version gives you a taste of his sensibilities:

Tito, in turn, confirmed Baba’s astonishment at the amount of waste in the food chain, from the way a big pile of an ingredient might cook down into a condensed quantity – that, in addition to all the leftovers that came back on the plates to be washed.


There we have it, quantity over quality! Or appearances over essence. How crass it seems now!

Is there a significant event in your life when you really hoped someone in particular would be there for you – but wasn’t? What happened, and how did you react?


Louis and Michael Pappas preparing Greek salad at Riverside Cafe in Tarpon Springs, Florida, April 12, 1947. (State Library and Archives of Florida via Wikimedia Commons.)

In her family’s past, there may have been scenes food like this.


  1. Pappas Riverside had a great Greek salad. I ate there back in the 80’s as I used to live near there. Their spanakopita was pure delight, along with the baklava. Alas, it closed in 2005 (opened in 1925) and was for sale for redevelopment back in 2015. Not sure what is there now.

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