In my previous post I mentioned that dill and I have always had an uneasy relationship; that the mere site of it brings back memories of good food gone bad. One of the worst cases of food mutilation by dill I ever encountered was in August 2004.
That particular summer we went to Greece. It was an introduce-hubbie-to-some-family/go-to-the-Olympics/do-a-bit-of-touring type of a vacation. My relatives live in the suburbs of Athens so one of the first destinations was the Acropolis. That day we first meandered through Plaka, the tourist shopping area at the foot of that ancient hill. I know it’s touristy but I like the long narrow streets of the old area; it’s touristy in a good way. As lunch time approached we decided to stop for a bite to eat. Where to go was the question.
Each of the restaurants had chalkboards outside advertising specials targeted at tourists. We finally settled on a small shop with a corner entrance because it had two things going for it – they advertised french fries cooked in vegetable oil (olive oil is traditional but my husband prefers vegetable oil for his fries) and air conditioning. The thermometer was already close to 100 F this particular August day so air conditioning was definitely a bonus. A pleasant waiter sat us, giving us english menus; perfect since my Greek is poor and my husband doesn’t speak the language at all. I was looking forward to one of the traditional dishes on the specials board. My husband was probably going to play it safe with a hamburger. Sure enough, he settled on the hamburger. I had already warned him that often times veal is used in lieu of beef for the “bifsteki” so his tastebuds wouldn’t be shocked. We ordered our food and shifted our focus to the day’s itinerary. A few minutes later our food arrived.
It’s funny how you don’t realize just how hungry you are until a plate of hot food is put in front of you. I dug into my lunch with total abandon; I was starving. Don’t ask me what I had, I just know it was very good. My husband tried some french fries – tasty, fresh; a good start. I continued devouring my meal. Next he took a bite of his burger and paused. Something wasn’t quite right; I reminded him it might be veal instead of beef. He chewed, he swallowed. He looked confused. He attempted a second bite, and a third. He dropped the burger and told me something was definitely wrong. It wasn’t about the meat itself, there was something else that didn’t make sense. If he didn’t know better he would swear it needed a shave. A SHAVE??? I immediately dropped my fork and grabbed the burger. I didn’t see hair (whew) but something didn’t look right; were my glasses dirty? I took a bite and froze. Dill. It was full of dill. I hate dill. The hair wasn’t hair and my glasses weren’t dirty, it was uncut dill fronds sticking out of the burger. The meat was merely used as a binding agent to hold the dill together. It was impressive how dill could masquerade as meat. I couldn’t chew. I couldn’t swallow. Discretely into the napkin it went (luckily there weren’t many people in the restaurant at the time). Was there enough soda in all of Greece to get the taste out of my mouth? Probably not. Would we ever return to this establishment? Definitely not. We politely paid our check and headed out, stopping at the first ice cream stand we could find.