AUTHORITARIAN FETA SUCKS
Feta sucks. Feta is the Saddam Hussein of cheese.
I mean, when feta pops up sparsely in your favorite Mediterranean foods, it’s fine — whatever. When it invades and overwhelms the entirety of your favorite sandwich or salad, it becomes sinister.
For those not so well-versed in foods where feta makes an appearance, the application of feta can be similar to how Chipotle deals out Sour Cream. You order a taco with chicken, lettuce, and sour cream. They drop in 3 small chicken chunks, a forest of lettuce, and then create a lake of sour cream in the middle of it.
Chipotle has two gears when it comes to sour cream; no sour cream and the sour cream Sea of Galilee.
And even if you ask for light-sour cream, you are in for ladles of it. Chipotle has two gears when it comes to sour cream; no sour cream and the sour cream Sea of Galilee.
It is basically how I treated my childhood salads to Kraft Creamy Cucumber dressing. And that was mostly to see how much I could pour before my parents got pissed. I wasn’t planning on eating the salad anyway.
That is how the purveyors of feta purvey it to the masses.
And, BTW, I love Mediterranean foods, or at least the Mediterranean foods I find on the east coast. I’m sure some American bastardization is going on in my favorite gyros (also please, no lettuce). I am not an, if it’s not authentic, I don’t want it, kinda’ guy.
I CAN PRONOUNCE GYRO CORRECTLY, THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM
Anyway, when I lived in New York and Philadelphia, it was relatively easy finding a Gyro spot I could trust. A place that prepares the sandwich with meat cut right from that gigantic-slowly spinning meat mound. I could witness the meat being extricated with a giant, almost machete-shaped knife and transferred to the grill.
From my stool at the bar, I could watch the line’s ebb and flow and wait for the opportune time to sprint across the street to their order window facing South Street. Moments later, I would be holding a fantastic Gyro.
And South Street Souvlaki wasn’t Philly’s only magical Gyro spot. One place I loved sat just below the footprint of the ominous Eastern State Penitentiary. Zorba’s Tavern had a super-enchanted Gyro. Perhaps it seems so magical to me now as it was a limited release item. Zobra only made them on certain days.
Not sure what they do now, but there would be a sign on the door that would list upcoming Gyro days if I remember correctly. If I missed Gyro-day, I would totally be kicking myself. I would have wasted long walks through streets of the charming Fairmount neighborhood that creeped me the hell out. Thanks, Sixth Sense movie.
NO MICROWAVES FOR MY GYRO
I also have a penchant for picking dives that serve the saddest little Gyros in all of small-town America. I’m quite confident if I ever visit Greece and order a Gyro, it wouldn’t be followed by the sounds of a microwave opening and slamming shut. Beep, beep, beep; whirrrrrrrr.
I’ve made so many gyro ordering mistakes when my brain allowed that maybe the meat-mound was shy and just hiding behind a partition. I ordered the gyro and heard microwave cook-time buttons chirping. To hell with that.
Even in big cities, I have wound up at the most Greek-looking restaurants, décor-wise, and wound up with a monstrosity. Didn’t the exterior white and blue tiles mean this place was legit?
I ordered a gyro in a DC spot that met the criteria above. Then I was handed a goddam gyrorrito. Sparse meat hiding in a salad’s worth of iceberg lettuce all wrapped in a gigantic flour tortilla. “Here’s your lettuce wrap” And I unfurled it to spill out some of the shredded lettuce and discovered the feta crowding out everything else.
While I’m no expert on Greek food, I always understood that the Gyro wrap, aside from that delightful Tzatziki, was basically just a sandwich with lamb loaf, onions, and tomatoes. Feta sucks, why let it overcrowd such an awesome construction?
Lamb loaf, onions, and tomatoes are three of my favorite edible things and most certainly three things atop my favorite things, period. When I slip the mortal coil and tumble into the black abyss of nothing, these items will rank somewhere between Tacos and Gameboys.
OH, THAT MID-WEST FETA SUCKS
Nowadays, I am almost positive the feta I am being served is itself a bastard-Americanized version of the original. So I hope no one takes my criticism of the god-forsaken cheese I’ve endured as a critique of anyone’s ancestral traditions. My beef could be with Wisconsin.
Caveat two would be that it may not just beentirely Wisconsin’s fault. My beef could rest with the restaurants that heap feta on a salad the way child me heaped whipped cream on strawberry shortcake.
Possibly a cheese speculator determined feta was the next it-cheese and thus amassed a massive surplus of the shit.
I feel like there must be a good reason for so much feta. Possibly a cheese speculator determined feta was the next it-cheese and amassed a massive surplus of the shit — after figuring out his mistake then unloaded the feta on the rest of us.
Or some ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world is crowding our favorite foods with mountains of pungency.
Suppose there is a checkbox in your online order that includes feta. In this case, you are basically signing a waiver to endure all of the goddamn feta…
If I had been Eric Arthur Blair, outside of writing Orwellian novels and being dead right now. I would have been warning against the overuse of feta cheese. Orwell could have installed feta as a brief yet powerful device for admonishing future generations against over-cheesing salads.
It could have happened early in the book when Winston is out to the golden country for his and Julia’s sex-picnic in the field of bluebells.
Winston produces a wrapped handkerchief from his pocket to impress Julia. The rag hiding a diminutive mound of crumbled feta.
Julia slaps the shit out of him, “what the hell is this?!”
“it’s a bit of feta,” says Winston rubbing his cheek, “I thought we might enjoy it as we lay conjoined with each other.”
“Feta sucks!” Julia’s indigent now, “what the hell are we supposed to do with this insignificant lot of feta? Do you have one oyster cracker?”
“TDo you know how hard feta is to come by?”
“Well, what’s so great about a dime-bag of Feta cheese?!” Julia shouts; she’s irate. She’s thinking, good thing she’s discovered what an idiot Winston is before she’s wasted time and cigarettes on cultivating a sex-relationship with him. “Feta cheese is made to overwhelm it’s host.”
“Julia, I…” Winston stammers.
“Oooh, maybe we could just evaporate the pile, and each have a small breath of it?”
A child strolling nearby, hearing the commotion starts shouting for his mother, “it’s communists, again, Ma! They’re down in the sex-forest!”
The next day, the newspapers read of pithy headlines, like “I Guess Anti-Sex League, Isn’t.” Before, the documents are incinerated years later by Winston’s replacement.
And we never hear about the rat room.
PORTION CONTROL ME
I see the little containers of feta at my local grocer, and I feel like each should be labeled as “one sandwich’s worth of feta.” That’s how the restaurants and delicatessens treat the shit.
So maybe it’s not entirely feta’s fault. Perhaps the responsibility lies in some unspoken rule that when you order something with feta, the preparer cannot resist unleashing, goddamn, all of the feta on your salad.
And I’m no cheese- curmudgeon, I love cheese, I love Pizza, I love cheesecake. If you want proof, I enjoy cheese way too much; all you have to look for is what I don’t have. I haven’t had a gall bladder for, like, five years over my romancing Romano and ricotta and whiz et al.
Christmas Eve’s of my youth were, probably literally, overflowing with strange cheeses. My parents would unwrap a spread of crusty bread chunks and fondue.
Cheese clings almost invariably to all of my fondest memories.
I’m not here to bury feta; outside of saying that feta sucks… I really just want all of you to stop putting so much of it on my gyro.