Remember that scene out of the film Wog Boy; the one where he’s a little boy sitting in the playground surrounded by his delicious food and these little red haired, freckly kids are pointing and yelling “wog boy, wog boy”? That was me. Kind of.
Growing up in the rural outback town of Broken Hill with a Greek mother meant my lunches were a lot more exotic than most kids with their Wonder White Vegemite sandwiches. In primary school I remember desperately wanting a “normal lunch”. One with Tiny Teddies, peanut butter sandwiches, rainbow coloured Roll Ups and Fruit Box juices. Instead, my lunch box was filled with carrot sticks and hummus, dolmades and pita bread with marinated lamb and greek salad.
I look back at it now and think how much I’d LOVE to have someone pack that for my lunch every day. There was no point fighting my wog heritage, eating this way was in my blood. Food, in particular lamb, is how the Greeks express their love, as I learnt from an early age. Every time we visited my yia yia and papou in Melbourne we’d have a lamb spit.
I remember my papou would rise before the sun on Easter morning and fire up the spit. He used the be a butcher back in Greece so he knew how to pick a good piece of meat. We’d all be woken by the smell of smoked meat coming through the house and after we’d found our Easter eggs and consumed far too much chocolate we’d race out to see the spit. My yia yia would be inside making spanakopita, greek salad and traditional sweet breads while we helped papou. When I say “help” I mean run around the spit avoiding the smoke and waiting for him to cut off tasters of lamb for us to eat.
I remember one time we brought a family friend to dinner who was a vegetarian. My Greek family all stopped and stared at her when she broke the news. It was a bit like this scene out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding…
I love lamb. I almost always order the lamb dish on a menu. I love cooking a lamb roast for my friends and every time I go to Adelaide to visit my brother I make him cook some sort of lamb dish whether it be a curry, roast or slow cooked pulled lamb we stuff into warm crusty rolls. Sadly, my yia yia and papou both passed away some years ago but their legacy lives on in the heart of my brother and I – our love for lamb has been ingrained.
This post was sponsored by We Love Lamb. When they asked me if I’d be interested in writing about lamb I thought “why have I not written a post about my love of lamb before?”. Thanks for giving me a nudge to share my story.