As the daughter of Greeks who came to the United States from the homeland, it wasn’t surprising that Greek was my first language and English my second.

Today, I am fortunate to use that to my benefit, and the benefits of others as a tutor of the children, and some adults, both in and out of the Greek School.

Now, in our ongoing blog, I’ll bring the beauty of the Greek language to you, the reader.

Lesson 101A - The pronunciation and definition of the Gyro

So before we speak it, let’s cover what is a gyro?

hand stack meat on spit

An authentic Greek gyro is made with meat cut off a big cylinder of well-seasoned lamb and beef. This meat is cooked on a slowly rotating vertical spit or gyro, implying the circular spinning motion of a gyroscope. The sandwich maker slices off strips of the warm meat when the sandwich is ordered. The pita bread is then heated up on a griddle or grill. Meat is placed on the pita and topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, fries and Greek spicy yogurt or mustard aioli sauce.

Authentic Greek Gyros have been known and sold on the streets, by the people of Greece for centuries. Greek historians believe that the dish originated with Alexander The Great’s time, when his soldiers used their long knives to skewer meat and kept turning the meat over fires.

If we were fortunate to have a Wayback Machine, like Sherman, we’d want to be certain to order correctly. Afterall you don’t want to offend Alexander.

Basically, it’s not a Euro (the currency of the EU), or a jai-row. It is pronounced yee-roh. The name “gyro” comes from the Greek word γύρος (‘turn’) as a result of the meat slowly turning on the spit.

Gyros were introduced to the United States in Chicago in the late 1960s. Several Greek-Americans have claimed responsibility for bringing the Gyro to the US, but it was Tom Pappas of Gyros Inc. who would go on to develop the modern commercial recipe for gyros in the United States.

Mezes doesn’t use Tom’s recipe but in we offer hand-stack, season and offer our customers a choice of lamb, beef, chicken, and even vegetarian Gyros.

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