2 avocados, diced
3/4 red onion, diced
3 bell peppers , diced
1 celery stalk, no leaves, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 carton button mushrooms, sliced
parsley (what unit does parsley come in?)
4 slices of ham, diced
1 lemon, squeezed
salt to taste
Mix together, salt to taste. Refrigerate overnight. Eat with sangak or a toasted pita, halved.
Nicholas was a family friend that we've known since the 80's, my dad struck up a conversation and became friends while swimming in Hawaii like a romantic comedy. In my head he was synonymous with the glendale house with the teracotta rooftiles, the cold stone steps, vegetable soup, and sunlight pouring through the garden windows. When I was little he was this towering dark mass of a man, I remember his chest hair reminded me of the polyester filling spilling out of the sheets. The back of his hands was like bearskin. As a teenager I watched those hands squeeze lemon into his miso soup, I chaulked it up as a Cypriot thing. Like grandma he would reiterate the same stories but with a smile, as a vegetable seller without a calculator he did all the math in his head at age 11. Coming to the US he changed his last name. Lemon is good for you.
Sometime in 2017 he died. When I lived in the US we'd revert to a recipe at least once a month, one that Nicholas told our family how to make decades ago. It intoduced us to pita bread as a regular staple and ethnic markets and Abali Doogh and massive Iranian Sangak when we were out of pita bread.
In a way I was always looking forward to the next time I would meet him, Nicholas was far more interesting than anyone else we knew. The photo of me in his lap was perenially on the kitchen counter next to the volume-order plastic school trophies and christmas photos. I wish I could've soaked up his recollections, sit through rantings about Turkey and the UAE that will fly over my head, watch him add lemon to everything, receive advice that will only become relevant decades later. I wish I could've grown up quicker.