What’s For Dinner?

This is a rather unusual post for me, so I’m providing fair warning that its content may not be appreciated by everyone.

The scene for this story is the fish and meat market in Plaka – a neighbourhood in Athens built in a part of the ancient city that is said to have been continuously inhabited since … well, forever.  I’m talking about hundreds of centuries in the BC here.

I consider myself a reasonably well-travelled person, and I live in a large multi-cultural city, but I’ve never seen a market quite like this one.

Greece - chicken feet

Gilles visited Athens on a short work related trip about 20 years ago, and besides the Acropolis, his strongest memory of the city was this particular market. To his delight, it was still there and everything he remembered it to be.

He was like a little kid in a candy shop – ooo’ing and ahhh’ing over the displays.

Greece - fish market_

Picture a huge cavernous barn-like structure, noisy and teeming with people.  The air was damp and cool from the long rows of ice-packed displays containing the largest variety of fishies and other “thingies” that I’ve ever seen.

The floors were wet and slippery from the melting ice, but that rank fishy odour characteristic of fish markets was surprising mild.  I gave a small prayer of thanks to the god of good ventilation.

Greece - fish mkt

While Gilles was busy negotiating some fish purchases, I tried to escape the fish market and landed in the meat market.

Greece - Gilles fish mkt

It was a new kind of horror.

Greece - meat market_

This butcher’s daughter shouldn’t have been squeamish, but it wasn’t long before I lost my appetite for anything that originally had eyes.  Be grateful that I spared you the images of cow tongues and veiny bull testicles.

Greece - pig head

Oh?  You are looking for a door?  …. not to escape, but because it’s Thursday?

Of course … sorry, for making you wait.

Greece - market
The cooler door in one of the meat stalls. Well? What were you expecting?

Tonight for dinner, it’s a vegetable stir-fry … and please don’t tell me carrots can cry.

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.



  1. In spite of it all what an experience. I raise chickens and the famous they say that the feet make the best broth and stock. I make most of my own, but occassionally I run out and have to buy it. I always think of that each time I do, those chicken feet I throw away when I butcher and the waste that my set of sensibilities seems to cause.


    • Wow – thank you for another perspective.
      I know that I’m terribly wasteful exactly because of those sensibilities you referred to. I often think of how responsible it would be to have a garden, a few chickens etc … but I also know I would be horrible at it.


  2. It’s funny how we dislike seeing all of the animals we are eating. As you know, I grew up on a farm and we tried to use every part of the animals as well. I find markets like these very interesting. I do wonder what they used the chickens feet for? Perhaps some Greek Voodoo? 🙂


    • I wholeheartedly support use of the entire animal. If an animal is going to die, use it responsibly.
      However, for the vast majority of us, we aren’t used to seeing our food look back at us. We aren’t used to having our food actually look like an animal. For those of us who eat meat (and like me, enjoy it) it’s definitely a hypocrisy.

      I’ve actually seen chicken feet in Chinese restaurants. People eat them … I really don’t know why 😳


  3. I think if more of us saw the entire creature from which we ate its meat, more of us would be vegetarians. And I don’t think that would be a bad thing!! I have some young writing students (20s and 30s) who are adamant about not eating anything with eyes. I get it, I truly do.
    Great photos, Joanne.


  4. A friend of mine generally has no problem eating fish if it has been filleted etc, but she absolutely will NOT eat from a whole fish that still has its head and eyes. Fortunately, I’m a lot less squeamish, and thought this post was very interesting! I kind of want to visit this market just to “test” the strength of my appetite 😛


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s