Apr 12 2017

Greek Easter

My father wasn’t one to praise me. A child of the Great Depression, his  measure of success was money; whereas my adult life has been defined by things that often don’t pay the bills: volunteering in my community, writing, filmmaking, acting.

“We sold out four shows and won Best of the Fringe Festival!”

“How much money did you make?”

But I understood. He didn’t want me to be poor, as his family was. He didn’t hesitate to tell my cousins how proud he was of my accomplishments. Just never me.

IMG_2611There was one big exception to his no-praise ways: my execution of his mother’s — my yia yia’s — recipes whenever I baked baklava or koulourakia (Greek Easter cookies — his favorite) for the holidays.

Year after year, with each batch he would say, “I think this is the best one ever, Dianie.” It didn’t matter if I burnt it a little, it was the best one ever.

As predictable as those words eventually became, hearing them was worth more than all the money in the world. I still hear them when I bake for the holidays. It’s why I still bake for the holidays, ten years after his passing.

Χριστός ἀνέστη!, Daddy.

Apr 17 2009

Why I Enjoy Eating Meat

So. Many. Choices.

So. Many. Choices.

1. Because lamb tastes really good. Like, suck-the-marrow good.
2. As does really rare (cooked rare, that is) hamburger. And steak.
3. And have you never known the joy that is a Monte Cristo (ham, turkey, & swiss — served warm inside FRENCH TOAST)! I like mine with maple syrup. If I’m ever posed with the “last meal” question: Monte Cristo. And I have to make it myself. I ain’t taking chances with my last fucking meal. I’d also like a side of  fries w/ aoli, and a vanilla malt.
4. Bacon, extra crispy. Why, the smell alone could make me turn in my own nephew, if it came to that.

Okay, seriously…

I know there are many religious and moral and philosophical and political and ideological and health and ethical and bubblebrain reasons to be a vegetarian. Just as there are such reasons to eat meat. All I’m asking is we respect each others’ choices and reasons. The information is out there, should one seek it. And the time to have the conversation is NEVER over ANY dinner table. Especially when alcohol is part of the meal. Yeah, don’t think there won’t be a future post about booze at the dinner table…

I like meat. That said, I hardly ever eat it. I feel better when I don’t. I’m a fruit & vegetable gal. But occasionally, my body craves meat. Or fish. Or something else with eyeballs.

Seratonin OD fast approaching.

Endorphin OD fast approaching.

And I do mean crave, on a primal level. And that’s when I dig in, without apology. I rarely (no pun intended, though I do like it extra bloody) get the craving. But when I do… do not try to stop me. When tearing into that filet mignon or lamb chop (@ thrice a year), I imagine I look like a cheetah at the gazelle carcass, blood dripping down the corners of my mouth. And yes, it feels like the most natural thing on Earth. No denying. Satisfaction and pleasure on a primal level. Wait, am I still talking about eating meat here…

I understand not wanting to allow other living beings to suffer cruelty, and with that I cannot argue. But here we start getting into degrees.

That lamb did not die in vain.

That lamb did not die in vain.

If a life of suffering is the issue, then can we not eat the cows who lived a life as cushy as Paris Hilton? Why not, if no cruelty suffered?

If it comes down to taking a life: Aren’t carrots alive? That is, before we violently rip them from the Earth, the only home they’ve known, the dirt. Poor, innocent carrots that have done no wrong: they don’t even have a mouth with which to scream. They must internalize all feelings. At some point, these arguments come down to splitting hairs: it has eyeballs, it has a mouth, It’s still growing. Where does life begin…

Oh, and the argument that we simply are not intended to consume animal products. Two words: Mother’s Milk.

I don’t want to change anyone. Let’s just live and let live. There’s the argument that all life is connected, we were cows in a past lifetime and suffered a tortuous slaughter and we’ve come back to right the wrongs of our slaughterers. There’s also the argument that God put us here, and devised this miraculous food chain, where cheetahs eat gazelles and we eat Spam and it’s all part of His Plan — of which we are a part. Take your pick. What the hell do I know?

Nothing beats a barbecue with friends.

Nothing beats a barbecue with friends.

All I know is Greek Easter is this Sunday. I got 2 legs of lamb, Rob’s cooking them on Jim’s big ol’ barbecue next door, and if that sounds alright to you, then just follow your nose. I’ll be in the kitchen making an orgasm-in-your-mouth Greek eggplant vegetarian entrée (please contact me in advance if you’re vegan).

Efcharisto! Christos anesti!