A member of the New York Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame, Ernie Anastos has been a broadcast news fixture in New York City for more than 25 years. In addition to having received the New York City Police Journalism Award, he has served as celebrity chairman for Juvenile Diabetes and St. Francis Food Pantries of New York.
Ever interested in the development of children and teens, Anastos drew from his own life ambitions to author a children’s book, Ernie and the Big Newz. The storyline centers on a young boy who dreams of becoming a New York City newscaster someday and his path to realizing his dream. Illustrated by Bill Gallo, Ernie and the Big Newz has been incorporated into several child enrichment programs, including special readings by the author at St. Francis Food Pantries of New York and at select local schools, libraries, and stores around New York City.
St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters recently held its first annual “A Taste of Greece” Luncheon with guest host Ernie Anastos, the Emmy Award-winning television news anchor. The event served more than 500 clients from the group’s Midtown Manhattan food pantry and included traditional Greek food and music. Mr. Anastos presented footage from the occasion on his news program, Positively Ernie, which can be seen on his website, www.ernieanastos.com.
The Greece-inspired lunch is only one of numerous initiatives supported by St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters. Comprising a network of charitable programs for people with economic and social challenges, the organization offers a broad array of services, such as food, clothing, shelter, counseling, and literacy promotion. It maintains pantries, soup kitchens, safe havens, and drop-in centers throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, as well as in New Jersey, and serves more than 1.2 million meals a year. In addition to its daily work in community facilities, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters coordinates several annual events for hunger relief, including its Thanksgiving turkey distribution, Family Barbecue, Summer Fiesta, Back-to-School Picnic, and Holiday Parties, among others.
St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters also organizes many high-profile fundraising gatherings, which often feature well-known public figures. Along with his role at the organization’s “A Taste of Greece” Luncheon, Ernie Anastos has participated in a number of other fundraising events, including the “Women of Valor” Awards Tea and the “Doodle for Hunger” Celebrity Art Auction.
In recent years, nutritionists have lauded the many health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet. One of the best reasons is that Mediterranean food, including Greek cuisine, simply tastes good. Individuals interested in boosting their health and bringing delicious flavors to their kitchen can do both by mastering the basics of Greek cooking.
Luckily, preparing most Greek dishes does not require the purchase of any special equipment. Thanks to the increasing popularity of Mediterranean diets around the U.S., traditional ingredients in Greek food are easier than ever to find. To equip a kitchen for making delicious Greek recipes, be sure to stock it with the following:
• High-quality olive oil. This offers texture, flavor, and a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats.
• Greek dairy products, including thick Greek yogurt and cheeses such as feta.
• Olives, which come in a variety of colors and can be eaten alone or as part of a meal.
• Greek sea salt.
• Greek coffee.
About Ernie Anastos
Outside his Emmy-winning work as a reporter for New York’s Fox 5 News, Ernie Anastos enjoys cooking. On his website, Anastos shares a recipe for Greek Chicken Soup, following the Mediterranean cooking style of his ancestors.
I grew up in a family proud of its Greek heritage. I have traveled to Greece many times, and I particularly love the islands. I spend the most time in Mykonos, Santorini, and Patmos.
The Mykonos landscape is dotted with hilltop windmills and brilliant white houses enveloped by colorful bougainvillea and geraniums. People often describe Mykonos’ town as a labyrinth because of its maze-like streets. Maintaining its traditional charm with modern amenities, Mykonos attracts a glamorous crowd who frequent the town’s bustling beaches, bars, restaurants, and boutiques. A guided walking tour is the best way to see this town. Be sure to visit the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, with its lovely Byzantine structure. Most tourists flock to the southern beaches, with Kalafatis and Kalo Livadi the least crowded.
Santorini boasts dramatic landscapes with pure white houses atop the multicolored cliffs of Fira’s caldera, surrounded by the cobalt waters of the Aegean. A hike from Fira to Oia will provide you with amazing vistas. Southwest beaches display scenic coastlines, while the southeast beaches are popular for water sports and nightlife. Some fascinating excursions include Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan site. The Museum of Prehistoric Thira in Fira display artifacts from this site.
For a more tranquil setting, Patmos offers a lovely place for a retreat. This is where St. John the Divine lived in exile and composed the Book of Revelation. Aside from its peaceful vibe, Patmos is a lovely beach destination.
About the author: Ernie Anastos received the Archon Title from the Greek Orthodox Church of America, where he is a Leadership 100 member. An experienced reporter, he holds a news-anchor position at New York’s Fox 5 News.