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.

 

143 comments

  1. The chicken feet remind me of markets in Peru. Aguadito de Pollo is soup with a chicken’s foot in it. Only one. Children take the foot out and pull on the tendon to make the claws open and close. Such a vivid memory. And it was cheaper per kg to buy one chicken with two feet and one head than to just buy the body. Loved this post. Definitely not one for the vegans!

    Like

  2. Hi Joanne, great and interesting post. There is more emphasis these days on healthier cooking and less meat and chicken for obvious reasons. I think it’s true our oceans are becoming depleted from over fishing – o goodness, to be challenged on food is about more than I can take 😀

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  3. Although it’s gross, I would probably go just for the experience! Which reminds me that I want to call around and see if I can find a beef tongue some place. I haven’t had any did awhile and have been craving it.

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    • You tossed a new one at me. I had to look up kohlrabi … and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. You know I’ll be heading to the Chinese grocery store to look for one now 🙂
      What’s not to love about a vegetable that supposedly tastes between a cabbage and a stock of broccoli. Sounds like a winner to me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanne, I grew up eating kohlrabi! Just like carrot sticks. It was an easy vegetable to grow, so lots of neighbors had some in the summer vegetable gardens. They always shared. It’s more difficult to find kohlrabi now, it being considered old-fashioned I suppose. Let me know what you think of it, if you find one.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t want to be a downer Joanne, given some of the fun remarks here, but climate change is another reason to think through the fish and meat addiction…meat farms polluting air and water and overfishing and warming oceans causing extinctions of ever increasing species. May be another reason to run for the door!

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  5. He-Man grilled Salmon late yesterday afternoon; right before it started raining thankfully. We have some leftover so, I’ll be adding that to my salad tonight for dinner.

    Since I’ve been visiting San Francisco’s Chinatown since I was 10 I’ve gotten used to seeing weird food parts hanging or being displayed in the markets, and restaurants. Chicken Feet don’t even phase me anymore. I haven’t ever eaten them though. 🙂 Thanks for sparing us some of the more exotic foods from that market.

    I liked the door decoration, and the wood.

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  6. Let’s see – the door is handsome for sure. Those three words, what’s for dinner, can send women all over the world screaming into the night. 🙂 And, you couldn’t drag me into that market to see those disgusting displays. Gag. I certainly understand different cultures and their food choices, but I just don’t want to see it. I’m going out for breakfast this morning, and I may have to pass on my beloved bacon. 🙂 But, you know it is a good post when you get everyone talking about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lol! I was definitely looking for the door, Joanne, but only because I’m trying to stick to a vegetarian diet. My youngest has given up eating meat so I decided to have a go. Your photos this week have helped me stick to my resolve. 🙂

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  8. I’m a committed Omnivore so it doesn’t faze me too much – although I would prefer that my dinner didn’t look me in the eye in quite such an accusatory manner! 🙂
    I’ve eaten chicken feet when having Dim Sum and they weren’t bad – although I’ve never cooked them myself.
    I once took a niece & nephew for a tour of the St. Lawrence Market and they had much the same reaction when they saw all the sides of beef hanging in the windows and al the seafood on the counters – I just laughed!

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    • I was used to the hanging sides of beef and pork from the big walk-in cooler and freezer in my dad’s store while I was growing up.
      I’m less thrilled to have eyes looking at me – and you’re right, it feels accusatory!

      I’m a pretty adventurous person, but chicken feet? Nope – not going to happen.

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  9. Visiting the local food market is one of my favourite to dos when travelling so I knew this post would be right up my alley. But woooo, this was a doozy. And that pig looked way too happy for his situation.
    “…please don’t tell me carrots can cry.” Oh man, I’m still cacking myself. (Er. That’s local vernacular for laughing hysterically. Just fyi.) Great post, Joanne. So funny. 😀

    Oh, and that’s a pretty fancy fridge door.

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      • Excuse me but I would remind you that my running alter ego is a vegetable. I have a high level of respect for all things herbaceous. That being said, carrots are wimpy and should just put on their Big Veggie pants and suck it up so I can.

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        • LOL!!!! … and today’s smackdown is between the beetroot in one corner, and the carrot in the other. One sweats, the other cries. It’s going to be a bloodbath!

          … oh wait, that doesn’t work. They’re vegetables …
          Oh I know – It’s going to be a stew! 😉

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  10. Horsefeathers, Joanne! “thanks to the god of good ventilation” indeed. This was definitely a colorful and interesting post. It might work well as a diet aide… 😉
    Oh wait, there was a door wasn’t there? I’ll have to go back and look again, because I was running by then and it didn’t even “hit me in the a$$” when I went out. (As they say.) Yes… nice door. A whole bull, not pieces and parts, especially parts with eyes. LOL. Well done. Hugs.

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    • I’m thinking the same thing about a diet aide … something along the line of posting these photos at strategic places in the kitchen 🙂
      You might want to decline if I invite you for dinner 😉

      Like

  11. Good thing this is my month of going vegetarian! lol. I’m sure that those items are considered delicacies in some part of the world, and it’s great that nothing is wasted, but I think I’ll pass!! Love the door though!! 😉

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  12. Love this Joanne. I do believe that if an animal is killed for food, then no part should be wasted, but my reality is that a veggie stir-fry will always win out. I guess as you say though, I haven’t ever known real hunger, and I fervently hope not to if it means killing or butchering animals. I’m ok with fish, and once skinned/gutted rabbits, but that was a long time ago and not an experience I’ve ever wanted to repeat.
    Great door btw!

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    • Thanks Su. I think almost all of us occasionally get squeamish when confronted with the realities of the origin of our food.

      I recently had a very disturbing experience with oysters. I like raw oysters. They are a treat we rarely indulge in and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed them.

      Last week Gilles came home unexpected with a bag of BC oysters and when he handed me a just-shucked oyster, I suddenly couldn’t put it my mouth. Although I’ve always known they were alive, on THIS particular day, I couldn’t get past it.
      Gilles ate oysters by himself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • hehehe! I really liked that door and I passed by it several times trying to figure out how to take a photo of it. I didn’t exactly have a clear line of sight, nor was the lighting particularly good.
      … then I had to figure out what how to use the photo 😉

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  13. Apparently, Joanne, broccoli has a nervous system and you have to thank them when you harvest them. Just saying…
    Anyway. I’m not surprised that the market was still there in a place that’s been around for thousands and thousands of years. The fishy things didn’t make me squeamish, but the meats. Hmm. I’d be outside with you looking at doors. 🙂 But honestly, how fun to be exploring other parts of the world and other cultures. Thanks for the fascinating post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Veggie stir-fry sounds good, very good. I know where meat comes from, and I applaud efficiency, but I generally don’t care to see (or eat) all of the products that an animal yields. Good post, and I do like the door.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We felt this way when we were in Portugal. Some of the displays in windows left us with very little appetite. Can’t say I blame you for seeking an exit!

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    • “Interesting” a word that just isn’t strong enough to describe these places. It wasn’t just the produce on display, it was also the showmanship of the vendors. On a couple of occasions, I just stood there (probably with my mouth hanging open) waiting their antics. Only afterwards did it occur to me that I was holding a camera that I never attempted to use it!

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  16. I first encountered the chickens’ feet in South Africa, where they use them to make stock. Really? There is flavour in those feet? I am glad you spared us the bulls’ testicles. There are some things that should never be seen, and as for the smell, I am grateful you spared us that too. I’d like to say that the door was worth the torture, but it isn’t. Except for the bull who appears to be looking for his balls.
    😀

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    • LOL! Now I have an image of a very disturbed bull looking for his family jewels 😆

      I’ve actually seen chicken feet offered in restaurants – particularly where dim sum is served. They appear to be deep fried.

      I haven’t tried them (and don’t intend to), although Gilles has (have I ever mentioned he’ll eat just about anything?). He says they’re crunchy … not exactly unexpected 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. LOL! What a great post. For me, I learned at a very young age where fish and meat came from. My grandfather grew up on a farm and many of my relatives butcher their own meat (hunters in the family). It doesn’t make me wretch although put a plate of bull testicles and see me go vegetarian. lol!

    What are you putting in your stir fry? I love peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, purple cabbage and pea pods.

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    • I like the idea of the purple cabbage, but I find it stains everything else and one of the things I really like about stir fries is the combination of bright colours.
      The mainstays of my stir fries tend to be carrots, red peppers, and snow peas. I also like to add corn on occasion, zucchini, and/or mushrooms – although I always cook the mushrooms separately and add them in at the end.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Here’s a trick to keeping purple cabbage vibrant and doesn’t stain other veggies. You blanch the cabbage for a few minutes in boiling water then submerge it in ice water. Drain and put in a bowl before tossing in some white vinegar. When you’re ready to add it to the stir fry, put it in, making sure you don’t add the excess vinegar water.

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  18. I love your sense of humor Joanne 🙂 Veggie stir fry sounds good to me also. Your post reminds me of an old joke I once heard – Did you ever smell mothballs ? How did you spread their little legs open ? LOL.

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  19. Hehehe! Here in North America, we don’t want or expect our food to have faces or easily discernible parts. If I had to personally kill what I ate, I’d probably be a vegetarian. As it is, I am happy to be an omnivore and let others do the killing and the prep for me. Love the humour in this post, Joanne!

    Liked by 1 person

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