Fat Tuesday: My Big Fat Greek Easter

fatGeez, the title couldn’t have written itself any better, eh? Talk about perfection. This past Sunday was Orthodox Easter or more lovingly known around these parts as Greek Easter. My Grandma was baptized Greek Orthodox and a lot of the traditions passed down from her family have trickled down to us. The past 10 years or so, we’ve really tried to learn and embrace those traditions before my Grandma passed away.

We might be Mormon, but that doesn’t mean the traditions of our the orthodox Easter customs don’t mean anything to us. They are traditions not just steeped in the love of Christ, but they are what bonds us as a family. Greek Easter is to me, what Pioneer Day is to those with rich pioneer heritage (which I have as well).


One tradition of Greek Easter is … THE FOOD! The spanikopita, tyropita, baklava, feniki, dolmades, etc., etc., etc. The list could be ENDLESS! There is so much food and it too is steep in tradition. A number of dishes my Grandma would make whenever a family member was sick or even for a special occasion. And, almost everything is a special occasion, right?

The food might not be the healthiest and … yes … is full of butter. Not so much sugar, just looooooots of butter (and love, can’t forget that in any Greek recipe). But, for making it at least twice a year (Easter and Yia Yia’s birthday) it’s something I can enjoy without feeling guilty about enjoying.


Plus, the food really is about the tradition and family bonds than the calories. For instance, my Yia Yia and I would spend time making the dolmades and spanikopita. She would show me the ropes on how to delicately work with the filo dough and grape leaves. Now with her passing I spent the time on the dolmades with my niece, Callie and started showing her how to make the dish. It really made me nostalgic for my Grandma and I could almost picture her mother doing the same thing with her at a young age.

I’ve found when you de-food your food you find these kind of stories and hidden gems. Food isn’t just about food, it’s about so much more. It’s about family, it’s about traditions, it’s about lasting memories and bonds that will last forever. Food is that bond that brings it altogether.


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Someone brought up an idea that I want to bounce onto you the readers. Should I name this segment Fat Tuesday (as it’s titled now) or change it to Phat Tuesday (which is the variation of the name I used on my previous blog, Phat Josh)?

They thought by calling it Phat Tuesday it portrays the same message I had with PhatJosh.com. I can see their point. So I ask you the reader … what are your thoughts? Fat Tuesday or Phat Tuesday? Leave a comment below with your opinion.



Sometimes I wonder how I was NOT over 500lbs. Seriously. I was lazily sedentary and I ate copious (new favorite word) amounts of food. I’ve been fairly open about what I once ate. Road trips usually consisted of a 32oz. Coke or Mountain Dew and a bag of burgers. Sadly, this kind of meal wasn’t for the road either.

One of my “favorite” meals while I was in college was the Arby’s 5 for $5. Yes, the whole promotion. A deal meant to feed a family was sometimes my dinner. I haven’t had Arby’s for a while now, but you can’t tell me that their roast beef sandwiches … ESPECIALLY … their Arby’s Melt isn’t the best thing since canned cheese.

You just can’t.

When I was in college after work I would sometimes head over to Arby’s drive-thru and get a whole Five for $5 meal of Arby Melts, two small curly fries (because you had to make people believe you were ordering for more than just you, right?), a 32oz. Mountain Dew and a 20oz. water (again, ordering for two). I would then sit in my car in the parking lot and proceed to eat the whole meal. No joke. Took me about 15 minutes … if that … to scarf down the five sandwiches and half of my Mountain Dew.

I would then get out of the parking lot and head home sipping on the rest of my soda and MAYBE water. But, odds are the water would just sit in my car until the morning. Sad thing is, I’d probably eat more later in the evening even after that “meal” … I was in bad shape (well, I was in shape, just that of a Butterball turkey).

Six, seven years later I look at that favorite meal as a prime example of my path towards rock bottom. I was really eating my emotions. I wasn’t living a purposeful life. I was depressed, I had no vision of the future and I was just going through the motions. Luckily, I have worked past that and gotten myself out of that dark time in my life.

But, I can’t help but kinda be in awe of the “damage” I put my body through by eating that specific meal. Here are the caloric numbers … SHOCKING … this is for the five beef n’ cheddar melts, two curly fries, two curly fries, 32oz. Mountain Dew … and water.

Serving Weight (g) 2046
Calories 3430
Calories From Fat 1310
Fat – Total (g) 145
Saturated Fat (g) 36
Trans Fat (g) 4.5
Cholesterol (mg) 295
Sodium (mg) 8410
Total Carbohydrates (g) 413
Dietary Fiber (g) 19
Sugars (g) 143
Protein (g) 127
Vitamin A (% DV) 15
Vitamin C (% DV) 25
Calcium (% DV) 70
Iron (% DV) 130

I don’t even know how to analyze any of this? Probably shocking I didn’t become diabetic from just one of these meals … 3430 calories? 143 grams of sugar? 145 grams of fat? 413 grams of carbohydrates? I’d love to hear what Dr. Oz would say about this meal.

But, hey let’s look on the bright side … 127 grams of protein! Right? Right?



One staple of Greek food (at least for me) is rice! It’s in a lot of dishes my yia yia would make. Plus, whenever we go to Greek Fest here in SLC I ALWAYS pile up the pilaf. There is something about lemon rice that is just perfect to me. Love, love, love it.

Here’s a good recipe for some good Greek Lemon Pilaf. But, like a good Greek always swap the canola for extra virgin olive oil.




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