Monday, March 23, 2009

Spinach Pie, Manute Bol, & Inner Strength

On Saturday afternoon en route from D.C. to St. Louis, I spotted one of the tallest men to play in the NBA, Manute Bol. Mr. Bol was amazing, took up two seats, and friendly enough to say hello as I deplaned with Dave, my boyfriend, and Dave's dad Charles. Funny enough, Mr. Bol lives fairly close to the Kansas City area, where I grew up in Blue Springs, Missouri. In fact, Dave and I had our first date in Olathe, Kansas at a Waffle House; now Mr. Bol calls Olathe home. And for those of you who were like me, and didn't know how cool Mr. Bol was/is, he is not only a great basketball player, but also an exceptionally generous activist for his homeland of Sudan.

I mention Mr. Bol because I noticed how so many people in Lambert Airport pointed and stared at his 7'7" frame, and I think it takes strength to be ogled and looked up to when you're simply trying to claim your luggage. I mentioned as much to Mr. Bol when I asked him if he got sick of people staring. He seemed to believe that most people were simply curious, generally kind. I think about his war-ravaged country and his ability to still believe this, and I feel incredibly awed by his kindness, his sense of humor and strength.

So, this post goes out to Mr. Manute Bol, one of the tallest and kindest celebrities I've ever met. In honor of Mr. Bol, I channeled my What-Would-Popeye-Eat? energies and created a spinach pie that combines savory chunks of feta with almost three pounds of spinach, all wrapped up in a buttery phyllo crust. Again, credit must be given to the lovely Ina Garten, whose recipe book, The Barefoot Contessa, I again consulted. The next recipe, I promise, will come from another cookbook.

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