WHEN GREEK EATS MEAT. ~ He Cooks It on an Improvised Stove in Open Air.

December 14, 1908

He Cooks It on an Improvised Stove
in Open Air.

In no other part of Kansas City are primitive methods of cooking so strictly adhered to as in the Greek colony of railroad laborers west of the Seventh street viaduct in Kansas City, Kas. Although there are between forty and fifty residents of the colony, not a single cookstove is to be seen. Instead, you will find before the door of each "bunk" car a small mound of earth about three feet high, with an opening in the side. In this improvised oven, the fire of wood is kindled below a flat piece of tin which rests on shoulders of dirt. The food is placed on the tin, where it remains until sufficiently well done to tempt the appetite of the not-oversensitive consumers. No way of escape is provided for the smoke, which mingles with the ingredients and apparently detracts nothing form the desired flavor.

As protection against the winter winds, small board "shacks" have been erected around these mounds. On cold winter mornings the Greeks gather wood and replenish the fire until the morning meal is ready, whereupon the adjourn to their "bunk" cars and each man helps himself to whatever he desires. No table is provided. This meal is not at all elaborate, in fact it usually consists of dry bread and some kind of meat. Beer is very popular as a beverage and ordinarily forms a part of each meal. Upon rare occasions a large kettle of soup is prepared.

Although much has been said and written concerning these so-called "bohunks," the fact remains that many commendable traits are to be found among them. A stranger, passing by at meal time, is invariable asked to share the meal. Ignorant of the laws governing the land, they frequently are brought in contact with the police, usually through violating the law by firing revolvers or making other demonstrations during the celebration of some religious even, of which there are many in the Greek calendar.

Dishonesty in their dealings with each other is almost unknown. May instances have been brought to light wherein on Greek will loan $75 or $100 to another countryman with whom he is thrown in contact by chance, possibly never having known him for more than a few days. Instances of a betrayal of this trust are rare.