It was a $500 visit to Athens hospital in October 2019 that confirmed to Kalliopi (Kelly) Roditis, also known as @thegyrosqueen, that it is in fact possible to overdose on gyros.
Arriving at the emergency room with intense nausea and pain, she was immediately put on a drip, and examined by the doctor, who was shocked to discover she had eaten nothing but gyro for a week.
“No more gyros for four days”, said the attending doctor, who explained to Kelly that the chances of getting food poisoning from old meat is significantly increased, if that’s all you eat. The medical prognosis: that she was in fact suffering from a ‘Gyros Overdose’.
Much to her dismay, it appears that a diet consisting only of gyro could in fact leave one with a pretty hefty medical bill, and some significant stomach aches.
But it seemed that the love affair with this Greek fast-food delicacy did not waver for the Greek-born-Australian-raised blogger, who went on to start a passion page about the food.
“I remember travelling to Greece for the first time since I’d been born there, back in 2004 when I was 11 years old”, says Kelly, when asked about her earliest memory of eating the food.
“Apart from winning the Euro cup and Eurovision, the only other memory I have of this trip is eating this incredible, juicy and messy gyro and dropping the oil from it all over my newly bought favourite jeans. I remember being upset about dirtying my new jeans, but at the same time I didn’t care because this was the most delicious food I had ever eaten.”
There’s no doubt that Kelly has maintained her love of the food since. From ordering Gyro from Sydney’s Stix & Pita to be delivered to her anniversary picnic, to eating Gyro at little Greek take-out shops around the world, it is evident that her Instagram blog captures something more than just the food; it captures her experience as a Greek migrant, and the desire to keep alive the roots she has with her culture back home.
Growing up as a first-generation Greek in Australia, Kelly embraced her heritage growing up, appreciating the language, the culture, the traditions and the classic Greek dishes that reminded her family of home.
“I have a deeply rooted love for Greece which began when I was little, learning about our amazing history and culture in school. Growing up we only spoke Greek at home (this resulted in a very funny heavy Greek accent when I was in primary school), and my mum would cook the most amazing Greek food everyday. This is where my love for Greek food began”, she says.
When asked about whether she feels Australia has embraced Hellenic culture, she could only talk to the positive impact that Greeks have had on Australia, and the way that Australian’s have adopted the food, culture and traditions of the Greek people.
“I think we are very fortunate to be living in a country that has not only accepted but also embraced the culture of the Greek diaspora”, she says.
“It was a beautiful thing growing up and being able to parade freely across the city for the 25th March, with the Australian people celebrating alongside us. This year we were fortunate to witness the Greek flag being proudly displayed on the Opera House for the 200th Anniversary of this celebration.
“In any corner you look, you’ll find a Greek imprint – whether it be a Greek Orthodox Church, a Greek restaurant, or a business owned by a Greek family. Greeks have no doubt enriched the quality of life in Australia with our various skills, assets and knowledge, and Australia has certainly welcomed us with open arms.”
From a gyros overdose, to a gyros love affair, Kelly’s story is one of the millions of Greek migrants around the world who continue to find ways to keep their Hellenic roots alive.
Through embracing the Greek heritage, culture, food and traditions, they continue to enrich the lives of people from other nations, and keep the flame of a remarkable culture burning far and bright.