Hands-on experience at the Greek market
For an earthy, organic Greek experience we spent some time at a LAIKI, the typical Greek outdoor market.
Held once a week on a designated day and designated street, it can span several blocks. Most neighbourhoods in Athens have one.
We followed Tomek’s auntie, a real (Polish) Greek , who brought us along to buy fresh ingredients at her market.
Once you enter the Greek market, a crowd of busy housewives and shouting farmers awaits.
This friendly merchant just stopped shouting for the picture.
Row after row of local vegetables and fruits. Organic lifestyles and smoking habits go well together in Athens.
Auntie Madga routinely started to assemble the ingredients for dinner. Spinach and rocket salad, radish and fresh herbs. And a lot of sweet and juicy Greek grapes.
Touching and checking is allowed and professionally performed by Greek shoppers. Soft tomatoes are sooo tasty here. My favourite of the aubergine family is the light purple member.
I think we bought a least two bags of Greek green and red peppers, which are the gentle relatives of hot chillies and as mild as the ‘German’ paprika I know.
Oranges and lemons are unbelievably cheap in Athens.
Take a walk through the city and you will see orange trees everywhere.
The most advanced Greek shoppers have a small shopping trolley for their groceries. We had Tomek.
Auntie Magda knew how to select ripe fruits of the diospyros tree, which you might label ‘persimmons’ and I am used to call ‘kaki’. Diospyros comes from the ancient Greek words ‘dios’ (διός) and ‘pyros’ (πυρος), meaning ‘divine fruit’ and literally ‘wheat of Zeus’.
It was all so beautiful, fun and divine and…
…in the midst of organic harvest and earthy aromas, I HAD MY BUTT GRABBED. Yep, one guy just took a good ol’ handful of my bottom and squeezed.
All I did in a state of disbelieve, was to let him know, in no uncertain terms that it is an unwelcome act, which earned me the ‘what ya talkin bout‘ look and gone he was.
Having my personal space invaded out of the blue was so overwhelmingly shocking that it left me feeling totally helpless and vulnerable and gross.
The rule to commonly accepted behaviour is to keep your extremities to yourself unless there is mutual consent to proceed otherwise. Apart from detesting his manners and just short of complaining, I am confused as to why he went for a drive-by booty grab.
For the sake of catharsis and because we weren’t introduced properly before the incident, I named the culprit ‘Hairy Horndog’ and contemplated Hairy Horndog’s inability to restrain himself:
1. Butt grabbing is an old tradition on market day. A nicely crowded occasion for all loners and lunatics.
2. Hairy Horndog mistook my butt for a honey melon.
3. He was checking quality of ware and
fare the fair.
4. I posses a god like physique with a hot, cute, round and sexy butt which spells ‘squeeze me’.
5. The protagonists from ‘Buttman and Throbbin’ are his idols.
6. He emigrated from Assgrabistan.
I think I even found the guy on the internet. (This is going to be the last stupid act of catharsis, promise.)
“Hi girls! I am such a confident and adventurous guy, I like to sniff my own shoes when working out.”
Ah, I feel better now and I am done.
Let’s get back to food pleasures and focus on the only guy that is permitted to perform ‘butt grabbing’ but doesn’t. Maybe because both hands were occupied.
The picture was taken at another Greek institution full of luscious aroma and mouthwatering scents of fresh bread and sweet honey, the bakery. This is where we finished our shopping. And truthfully, Tomek’s arms had gotten longer by the end of the day.
A must try at the bakery is Greek ‘koulouri‘ – crispy sesame or cheese topped bread twists.
We bought more than we knew auntie would process for her delicious Greek meal, anticipating some kind of Greek custom to fill up the pantry with the rest of greens. Auntie Magda had planned different.
Her wholehearted intentions to feed us properly gained us over 10kg of vegetables and fruits and eventually turned me into a Greek cook searching for Ambrosia…
FAQs: The largest market in Athens is Varvakeios Agora, near the Ancient Agora at Evripidou Street. A must see market on Sunday is the Monastiraki Flea Market at Avissinias Square.