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The Village of Xidera

Slaughter of the Lamb

The animal is brought into the butcher shop and tied to a bar while Panayotis sharpens his knives. If there is something going on in the animal's mind he sure does not show it. When the knives are sharpened the lamb is forced to lay down on the floor while the butcher holds him by the back of the neck in a way that seems to hypnotize him. Then its throat is quickly cut. The animal does not make a sound but the muscles in the legs kick a little. In a few moments he is dead and a small hole is made in the back leg which the barber blows into and the animal blows up like a big hairy balloon. Then they chop off the feet and hang him upside-down from his Achilles tendon and peel him like a big banana. When they get all the fur to the head they have to make another incision to take it completely off. After the sheep looks like a big naked upside down baby hamster he makes an incision in the stomach and everything that was inside falls on the floor in a goopey heap of organs. He separates the good stuff (intestines, spleen, liver, etc.) from the bad (don't ask) and then uses the stomach lining to wrap around the best meat to keep the juices in during the grilling or roasting.

The intestines, spleen and other organ meat are either made into kokoretsi, or fried and served to me in the cafeneons with my ouzo, (whether I ask for it or not). Supposedly one night while I was drunk I raved about them so much that Avglaia serves them to me whenever I come in. When in a remote village, never praise anything too much or you might find it on your plate forever.

Panayotis has retired now and his son Stavros has taken over as the butcher of Xidera. In fact I made a whole video of him slaughtering a sheep that makes facinating viewing for those with a strong stomach, or those trying to convince someone to become a vegetarean. One of these days I will go through all my old videos and put it up on the site. In the meantime for those who want to see what it is like to kill and skin a sheep or a goat come to Xidera on the Friday or Saturday before Easter, walk up to Avglaia's cafeneon and ask her where Stavros is and if he is not down in Vangelis cafeneon in the square he is probably killing a few animals and you can hang out all day and watch him.

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