I’m sure you thought you had the last word on Bouboulina–but NOOOOOOOO. Once more the indomitable David E. Corona steps up to the plate–errrr stove–and adds significantly to the lore of Bouboulina. Her is David’s recipe for Bouboulina pasta and sauce:
The Story of Bouboulini
(About which it cannot be said: “We’re not making this up!”)
By David E. Corona
Alas, at this moment I am unable to upload the photo of
Pavel Strogonov’s Historic First Batch of Bouboulini Drying on his Istanbul Kitchen Table/
Photo courtesy of the Archives of the Imperial Russian Embassy–Istanbul
Count Pavel Strogonov first met Laskarina Bouboulina in 1816 while negotiating on her behalf with the Turkish government. He quickly became a friend and admirer of the Greek captain and freedom-fighter. He is credited with the invention of Bouboulini pasta, creating it to honor her revolutionary spirit and dynamic leadership. He intended it to be an accompaniment to his eponymous beef dish. He and his chef always maintained that the unusual shape of Bouboulini was meant to reflect the Greek letter beta (β,) the first letter of her name.
While granting them that assertion, there are those who steadfastly countered that in fact the pasta shape was greatly similar to Bouboulina’s impressive décolletage, most especially on days when the wind was up and the salt spray turned her captain’s blouse into a translucent form-fitting outfit which did little to conceal the fact that her fetching form was, indeed, quite fitting.
When Bouboulini was first served at the Russian Orthodox Seminary it created quite a commotion of lascivious elbowings, giggles, winks and nods among the seminarians. Scandalized, the Patriarchs and other Church Fathers took quick action. Strogonov and his chef were dragged before the Russian Inquisition, where their protestations of innocence fell on unsympathetic ears. Bouboulini was quickly banned by the Russian church as an extreme occasion of sin, both venial and mortal. Henceforth flat noodles were to be served with Beef Strogonov, as a reminder of peasants and villagers flattened under the hooves of Cossack horses.
Following the October Revolution the Supreme Soviet extended the ban on Bouboulini, considering it to be an example of the decadence and immorality of the dreaded West. The flat noodles served with Beef Strogonov were now a warning to rebellious comrades to adhere to the party line, lest they be flattened themselves under the treads of Red Army tanks.
Greek grandmothers on the island of Spetses remembered the shape however, and continued to fashion and cook Bouboulini. They served it with a rich, red, vibrant tomato sauce, as a tribute to the dash, color and obvious sauciness of Captain Bouboulina herself. It is their recipe which has survived to the present day.
No–I am not making this up. This will clarify the statue of a woman looking out to sea on the island of Spetses and also confirm the importance of pirates in Greece. Arrrrrrgos!!
Here’s the Corona explanation:
By David E. Corona
Laskarina Bouboulina was born May 11, 1771 in Constantinople. She was the child of the sea Captian Stavrianos Pinotsis and his wife Skevo. Her father was imprisoned by the Turks because he had played a part in the failed Orlof revolution of 1769-1770. So apparently dislike of the Ottomans was woven into her DNA at conception.
Shortly after her birth, her father died on a Turkish prison. Her mother moved back from Turkey to the island of Hydra. In 1775 Skevo married Dimitrios Lazarou-Orlof. The family relocated to the island of Spetses and grew considerably larger. Bouboulina would eventually have eight half-siblings.
Laskarina would marry twice herself. Her first husband was Dimitrios Yiannouzas, her second was Dimitrios Bouboulis. (Apparently Bouboulina wouldn’t touch a Willie or a Sam.) He was killed in a battle against Algerian pirates in 1811.
On Dimitrios’ death Laskarina took over his shipping and trading business. Using her own fortune she built a fleet of four ships, including one warship, the Agamemnon. It became her flagship.
In 1816 the Turks attempted to confiscate her property because of her husband’s revolutionary activities. While the Turks had hoped to imprison her and take her property, at the intercession of the Russian Ambassador, Count Pavel Strogonov, she was merely exiled to the Crimea. There she befriended the mother of the Turkish ruler, Mahmed II. Mahmed’s mother convinced her son to leave Bouboulina and her property alone. She returned to Spetses after three months in exile.
Bouboulina was the only female member of the Filiki Etaireia, and underground group fostering revolution against and independence from the Turks. She menaced Turkish shipping and was quite the swashbuckler. Legend has it that she took lovers from among Turkish prisoners at swordpoint. She used her fleet of ships to acquire guns and ammunition and transport them secretly to Spetses. Her ship, Agamamnon, violated Turkish size and armament restrictions, but by bribery Bouboulina was able to keep it on operation.
On March 13, 1821, Bauboulina raised her own Greek flag on her flagship and the now seven other ships in her command. On April 3 Spetses revolted and her little fleet joined in a blockade of the Turkish outpost at Nauplion. The Palamidi was taken on Nov. 13, 1833. Bouboulina later took part in the blockades and captures of Monimvasa and Pylos. Her son Yiannis Yiannouzas was killed at Argos.
She fought successfully at Tripolis in September 1821, and there met the Gen. Theodoros Kolokotronis. Her daughter Eleni would marry his son Panos. During the slaughter of the Turkish garrison at Tripolis, Bouboulina saved the female members of the Turkish party—a gesture of repayment to the mother of Mahmed II.
Following independence the Greeks became embroiled in their own civil war in 1824. As an in-law of the Kolokotronis family Bouboulina was placed under arrest and her son-in-law killed. She was exiled to Spetses, despite having expended her entire fortune in the fight for Greece against the Turks.
Bouboulina was shot by an unknown assailant during a feud with Christodoulos Koutsis, her son Georgios’ father-in-law.
Bouboulina was posthumously awarded an Admiralty in the Russian Navy, and unheard of achievement for a woman of her era. Her ship, the Agamemnon, was renamed the Spetses and became the flagship of the Greek fleet. It was burned at Poros during the next Greek Civil War in 1831. Bouboulina’s descendants still live on Spetses in her mansion there, now the Bouboulina Museum. A statue of her now stands at the Spetses harbor, still scouring the seas for more Turks to torment and take.