Shish Kebab or “Cow on a Stick”
Being born into a proud Greek family I was weaned from my mother's milk on souvlakia (Lamb shish kebab) , feta, and kalamata olives . Even saying the words after a nice meal
of Italian wedding soup (from my Italian side) my mouth still waters. During the holiday season, I think back on the traditions of my family, some gone and some still with us and some new traditions that I am creating for my nuclear family. This year our
newest tradition is our first annual Christmas concert that my 5 year old is singing in with his class.
I love my boy. As any mother would agree about their offspring, my son is the most beautiful, cheerful, smart, lovely human being on the face of the planet. He is an active
little boy with a wide grin, green eyes and wild curly brown hair. He and his three sisters are the loves of my life as well as their daddy. My son however, might not be the first child picked to sing a soft harmony or hear the nuance in a beautiful heartfelt
song. He explained to me the other day that it is not the words to the song that you need to worry about, it is how loud you sing it. Tomorrow’s concert should prove very interesting.
Demetri came home last week with some very interesting comments about the school concert. He explained that there would be singing. I asked what songs he was singing. He
didn’t know. I asked if he needed to practice . He said no, he had it covered. He then asked me to sing the “cow on a stick” song. Hmmmm. I had no idea what he meant. I started asking questions for clues. He said, “You know mama, the “cow on a stick”
song. The one that has little cheeses in the barn.”
I was confused. I knew that they were singing Christmas songs but I drew a blank. My son looked at me as if I was stupid. “You know mommy, the baby cheeses
is in the barn with his mommy and the cow on a stick. There is a lamb on a stick too. “ Okay. Cows and lambs, a barn, and a mom. It sounds like a nativity song, but cheese?
“Tell me more about the cheese honey.”
Disgusted, he said, “Mommy, you know. We visit baby Cheeses at church.”
“ Do you mean baby Jesus honey?”
“Yes, baby Cheeses.”
Okay, he is obviously talking about a nativity song. Little Town of Bethlehem? No. Silent Night? Nope. Away in a Manger? Yes! That was the song they were
singing. Phew! I asked him if he wanted to practice. He agreed.
I started singing , “Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed, the little…”
“Moo!” Demetri yells excitedly.
“Why are you mooing honey?”
“I am the cow on the stick next to baby cheeses.”
“Uh okay honey.” Well, this is definitely a new version of a traditional Christmas song. Although it is not what I was expecting, it should be very entertaining.
Today at school I went early to pick him up. As I stood outside his gate, waiting for him to come, I heard the soft melody of little voices singing outside
the classroom. I listened to these sweet melodies wafting towards me, getting a little teary at the innocence and conviction in these darling cherubs. Then, out of nowhere comes a very loud, out of tune voice that could be heard over all the rest. I wouldn’t
call it singing, I would call it, well… screaming. The voice was familiar. It was my little guy. Then came the finale. Again, one voice heard over all the others. “MOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
My first thought was, “Oh dear, that’s not good.” My second thought was, “Little man, you’re awesome!” My little guy might not have known the words. He might
not sing on key. He might be yelling parts of the song incorrectly, but he was singing from his heart. When he came to the gate he was so proud of himself. The first thing he asked was if I had heard him. I told him that I did and he was right, he didn’t
need to know all the words, he just needed to sing loud and that is what he did.
I spoke with his teacher (who is awesome by the way). After he got in the car I asked her if she would like me to practice with him before the program tomorrow.
She told me absolutely not- he sounded perfect the way he is. What a wonderful response. I will sit in the front row, watching my son yell “Moo” and sing his heart out, even if he makes up the words and melody. He will be perfect.
In honor of my son’s program, I thought I would like to share a recipe for “Cow on a Stick” or Greek Shish Kebab. Now I am going to sharing the recipe using
beef, but you can easily substitute it for lamb, pork or chicken if you would like. This is what you will need:
2 pounds sirloin steak cut into 2 inch pieces
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Red bell peppers cut into 2 inch chunks
1 large Maui onion cut into 2 inch pieces
Marinate the steak in the lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I marinate it for about 30 minutes. If it marinates long, the acid in the lemon, starts
to break down the meat, giving it a mushy texture on the outside. After marinating, place the beef, peppers and onion on skewers, alternating each ingredient until the skewers are filled. Cook on the barbeque on high heat for 12 to 18 minutes, turning quarterly
to ensure even cooking. Once cooked to the wellness you prefer, take it off the grill and let it sit for 10 minutes. Take the meat and vegetables off the skewers and serve with warm pita bread, sliced tomatoes and tsatsiki (a cucumber yogurt sauce).