An uproar grew around the uneven chain of white garden tables. Indomitable opinions chimed over piercing, delighted reunions. I could only decipher the odd verb and occasional nouns; relying instead on flailing gesticulation to fill the gaps. There was no disguising my grandmother’s tactless disapproval: my sister had still neglected to add a fourth generation to the table.
I reached for the basket of bread and inhaled deeply as steam was unleashed. The bread tore like foam and I dipped it in the saucer of olive oil in front of me. I let it rest there until the moist, tangy oil had worked its way up to the firm crust. A parade of plates began scattering over the tables. Hands crossed paths with others and dishes were exchanged with forceful hospitality.
I can’t say that I was in any way tame or restrained. I scooped up at least three or four keftedes that were just-shy of scolding. I tossed them between my fingers and cooled them with a douse of tzatziki. I grazed their hardened surfaces with flecks of mint cooked in with my equally cracked lips. I bit one end off and voided the crispy shell of the cinnamon-infused insides. Forgoing a fork I dished up several stuffed vine leaves, savouring the lemon and rice combination as it squelched down my throat.
Skewers soon appeared in the loosely categorised procession of dishes. I clawed them onto the plate as if I were ignorant to the fact that more were to follow. When the conveyer belt ceased the waist-line on my shorts etched a line my stomach. Despite feeling food-drunk my eyes darted in the direction of the waiter as he approached with a deep dish of obscured contents. I sat up in anticipation and briefly faltered as I looked the crowning dish eye to eye. Literally – eye to eye. It was entire lamb’s head with its brain exposed. My fork gleamed in the moonlight as I delved in.