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arni

αρνί

Lamb. Greece is famous for its succulent lamb, raised on mountain herbs. Among the most popular lamb dishes you have kleftiko and giovetsi but where it used to be the meat used it make gyros and souvlaki, more affordable pork has taken its place for the most part.

Nearly every taverna offers paidakia– quite often spelled 'lamp chops', which makes everyone giggle, but on reflection it makes sense if you're Greek and used to writing μπ to make a B sound. Other cuts include:

αρνίσιο μπούτι (arni bouti): leg of lamb

αρνίσια παϊδάκια καρέ (arnisia paidakia kare): rack of lamb

σπάλα αρνιού (spala arniou): lamb shoulder

λαιμός αρνιού (laimos arniou): neck of lamb

Easter lamb, Πασχαλινό αρνί (paschalino arni) is the traditional lunch on the biggest holiday in Greece. After the midnight mass and the long awaited announcement of 'Χριστός Ανέστη!' the holy flame is passed from the altar to candle to candle, as fireworks or even dynamite explode to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. Then everyone goes home to eat their mageiritsa, and then up (often a bit hungover) to roast the lamb on the spit, usually after nibbling on some kokoretsi with the first ouzo of the day.

Everyone in the family gets a turn spinning the spit. It can be hot and tedious work, so one man a few years back decided to automate the process by attaching the spit to the drum of the family washing machine. And it worked fine, at least until it hit the spin cycle, and bits of lamb flew off into the trees...

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by: Brain Walsh, MAK1950 (pixabay.com)