Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dolmas and old times

It's a remarkable thing to have a friend you've known since the two of you ate glue in kindergarten. Hell, even before that, Gini and I were in St. Luke's Episcopal preschool together, and have gone to the exact same schools ever since. Well, almost anyway; we went to different colleges in picturesque Denton, Texas, but we still lived in the same town.

She spent last weekend with me, and we finally did the thing we've been talking about for-effin'-ever: we made a Sunday afternoon of shooting the shit and handrolling dolmas from her late mother's recipe. Her mother was the patron saint of dolmas, and Gini and I know that when we perform this sacred ritual, Vickey is up there lookin' down and smiling.

Vickey was amazing. A big, lovely woman with a smartass streak. She was like my second ma when I was little bitty.

Gini and I grew up across the highway from one another. My dad was a banker, hers worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. As kids, I remember her parents taking us to Greek festivals, where a great crowd of churchgoers, stuffed full of souvlaki and tipsy on red wine would stamp around in a circle, shouting and singing. In the fifth grade, we both loved KISS. She was into Paul Stanley, but I was more about Peter Criss. We're veterans of both public and private schools, and because of that experience have rather loud and proud opinions of both. Both of us had regretably early sexual experiences forced upon us.

We remember that evil bitch Angela from the eighth grade, whose mother and grandmother worked at the private school, and how once you had already lobbed the barb about her overdone makeup, she would dig her nails into your soul and rip it out in front of the whole play yard. Oh, God, and the guy who would get you really stoned in his bedroom then start reading hardcore horror stories about babies with maggots in their heads (this guy's a writer and marajuana advocate now, God love him). It was so fantastic to me that I could start talking about nearly anything I'd been through or anyone I knew and she remembered it all. So cool to have a friend like that.

So we made us some dolmas. Instead of the original pound of chili ground and stick of butter (drool), we decided to go with ground lamb and a lighter touch on the fat. You steam these little bundles of delish in lemon juice and water, and they're divine. The cucumber business is a yogurt sauce with garlic and mint. For me, making these dolmas is forever conjoined with talking about my kidhood with Gini. And memories of her mother.

Sigh. Another example of how the experience of good food isn't fully appreciable without good company.

3 Comments:

Blogger Mascorrolandia said...

It goes without saying that Vickey dearly loved her Taj. And so do I!

Thank you for doing her proud, Babycakes. And for being my co-conspirator in emerging somewhat unscathed from our East Side experience, and for the smile I've had on my face since last Friday. Thank you for this.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Water into Wino said...

Patron saint of dolmas huh..my mom is the patron saint of potato chips. Living in the Greekiest part of NYC, you'd figure that I've tried it..not true though. Did you pair it with anything?

9:12 AM  
Blogger taj said...

No, I didn't; but if I had, I think I would have done a nice light Grenache-y Cote du Rhone or a dry Greek white.

1:28 PM  

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