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Kitchener Stitch – Musing on Food, Knitting and Military History

Posted: 23 May, 2019. No comments

Food, knitting and military history – a strange combination? Read on to find out how all of these are connected on Cyprus!

Restaurants come and go everywhere, including Cyprus. Luckily, to balance out the restaurants that close, there never seems to be a shortage of good new restaurants opening.

This morning I was reminded of one of the restaurants that closed some time ago, by the mention of Lord Kitchener. This was the name of a restaurant in our local ‘next door’ village of Psematismenos. The reason for the unusual name was intriguing to me when I first saw it, but then I discovered that Kitchener spent some years in Cyprus (1878-1883), conducting a survey of the island. He came to some interesting conclusions about the strategic importance of the island to the eastern Mediterranean, and recommended it as a key holding to Britain’s influence in the region. Whether he spent any time in Psematismenos is not known to me, but it certainly appears on his maps!

by Bassano, proof print, 29 July 1910 Source: Wikipedia

The restaurant although closed still bears the name, perhaps one day it will re-open. I was reminded of it while I was looking at some knitting patterns, and saw that the ‘seamless toe’ sock, was actually invented by Lord Kitchener, in order to make the hand made socks – which every woman was being asked to knit for the men at the front in WW1 – more comfortable to wear. The seamless ‘grafting’ of the toe is now known as ‘Kitchener stitch’. Poor old Kitchener did not live to see the end of WW1 – he was drowned in a war ship sunk when returning from Russia in 1916.

And as for restaurants in Psematismenos? There is now a family-run taverna called Lenia’s, which does excellent Cypriot-style food, in a quirky corner building with outside tables and a view over the cobbled streets of Psematismenos – ideal for watch those passing by in the street below.  Our recent guests went there and said that it ‘is well worth a visit’. Booking a table is recommended.

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