Home Breaking News Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Tzatkiki who?

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Tzatkiki who?


WHAT IS THAT white stuff on the top of ‘that’ iconic Greek sandwich?

You know — the sandwich that is sometimes called Gyro. Sometimes pronounced Hero. Sometimes Gee-ro. Yee-ro. Jee-ro. Jie-ro. Whatever.

This was a non-tricky sensible question I asked the Navigator as we sat in the shade eating our Gyro, Gee-ro, Jee-ro, Hee-ro, Whatever sandwiches. We were at the annual Greek Food Festival in Little Rock, and this was an Arkie Road Trip we had made once before.

I wanted to go so I could hear the exotic music and watch dancers in authentic outfits, especially the authentic belly-dancers from the Casbah.

Navigator didn’t care a thing about authentic dancers; she just wanted to go so she could purchase a year’s worth of her favorite salad dressing.

We were hungry, so first thing we did was get a lavish Greek salad. Lots of greens, purple cabbage, slivers of carrots, olives, feta cheese, coated liberally with that fabulous Greek salad dressing. Also, thick pita bread on the side.

It was delishioso, but we knew we’d have to have a bit more substance than greens. We got our shopping done at the ‘International Market’ in the church hall, and then went back to the food vendors for a main course.

I wanted souvlaki (chicken kabobs), but Navigator said she’d never had a Gyro, Eee-ro, Yee-ro, Hero, etc., sandwich.

So, naturally, that’s what we got.

It’s a cold sandwich. Lots of chopped meat, some greens and tomato, feta cheese and topped with that white sauce.

The Gyro Jee-ro Hero Yee-ro sandwiches are just too big. A normal human being can’t hold one and take a bite without burying his or her nose deep in the sandwich. Or least I couldn’t.

Every time I took a bite, I had globs of that white sauce on my nose, my chin and my sunglasses.

What is this white stuff, I asked the Navigator. I figgered she knew because she has actually been to Greece.

“It’s just some white stuff and you’ve got it all over your chin and your nose and your sunglasses,” she helpfully observed.

She also said she like the seasoned sliced beef in the bottom of the sandwich.

It’s lamb, I corrected her.

No, it’s beef. I would never eat a sweet harmless precious little lamb, she replied.

It’s lamb, I helpfully corrected her (and let me assure you this was done absolutely without spite).

Unfortunately, she reacted a few seconds later when I tried to take another bite of the Gyro Jee-ro Hero Whatever. Upset over how good the lamb was, she pushed the Gyro Jee-ro Hero Whatever into my nose, and this time the contents of the sandwich actually smushed up under my sunglasses.

I snorted white sauce for 15 minutes.

“Obviously I was wrong,” I mollified her. “I do believe that these particular Gyro Jee-ro Hero sandwiches are actually beef, not Mary’s Little Lamb.”

She accepted my apology.

When I got home I did a little research on that white sauce. It’s called tzatkiki — if I didn’t know how to pronounce Gyro Gee-ro Jee-ro Hero Yee-ro, why would you think I could pronounce tzatkiki?

Anyway, it is mostly yogurt, with some cucumber, olive oil, dill, vinegar and some other stuff I can’t remember.

It’s good, but I don’t recommend snorting it. Tzatkiki washes off your sunglasses real easily.

There’s a television commercial promoting this kind of sandwich at the Arby’s restaurants, and the offscreen announcer with the deep voice can’t make up his mind how to pronounce Gyro, either. So he just calls them Mediterranean tacos.


ANIMAL CRACKERS. I enjoyed my early spring batch of bluebirds a great deal, and I was extremely pleased last week when I observed Mama and Papa Bluebird looking in the hole of the bluebird box on my patio, again.

I am not skilled at telling bluebirds apart, so I am just assuming this is the same pair that had the five beautiful eggs, and four lovely chicks just a couple of weeks ago.

This time there are three eggs in the nest.

And to think I nearly threw the bluebird box away because those dadgummed squirrels had chewed the opening wider and I was afraid the bluebirds would nix the box.

And by the way, I have no idea what ever happened to that unhatched egg in their last batch. Anyone out there have any idea what might’ve happened? It’s just gone. Like those chicks.


THINGS I LEARNED from reading e-mail: There are bigger things than money — bills for instance.


HE SAID: “Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.” Hermann Hesse, novelist and artist


SHE SAID: “I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.” — Alice Roosevelt Longfellow, writer and President’s daughter



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