Athens has a large market along the lines of Cleveland’s West Side Market but probably 4 or 5 times the size. The market vendors sell all types of meat, fish and seafood and across the street from the main market are stalls of produce vendors. All of the produce sold at the market is of the commercial variety as is the meat though the raising and processing of meat in Greece is much better than the commercial process in the U.S.
The meat aisles of the market were enough to make me lose my appetite for meat for most of our stay in Athens. I do not mind the smell of meat or the site of carcasses and pieces parts but I cannot handle the smell of meat rotting in the heat. The cases that house the meat were refrigerated but a lot of good that does when the doors to the cases are wide open all day. Also, most of the pieces parts we saw were hanging outside of the refrigerated cases. I had to run out of one of the meat halls about a quarter of the way through because the stench overwhelmed me.
Open meat case and a hot light bulb giving more heat to the meat, yum yum!
Entrails, lungs and livers with a hot light bulb and no meat case!
Meat, it's what's not for dinner?
And...how's about some pigs' feet hanging 2 inches (not exaggerating) off the filthy floor?
This is the butcher block after it has been cleaned for the day.
I know I'm being harsh but this is what I found. Now you see why I had no appetite for meat? I'm not usually as squeamish as I was and probably wouldn't have felt my senses so offended at the lack of cleanliness were it not for the lack of adequate refrigeration and the putrescent smell.
You can guess what these are can't you?
These gorgeous yellow birds would have made an amazing pot of stock but it was too warm to think about simmering a pot of stock. These chickens (pullets?) were imported from Italy.
The fish aisles of the market were far easier to stomach than the meat sections. Despite the heat (it was only mid-80's) the fish was all well iced and while there was a mild smell of fish as you would expect it was not a rotting smell.
This shark looked amazing and had I had access to a grill I would have taken some.
The one meal I made at home while we were in Athens and I still couldn't take the thought of meat even a few days after our market visit so we had a plate of sliced tomatoes, avocados and Greek cucumbers along with this cold pasta dish. I gently warmed some very fine Greek olive oil and added some chopped garlic and just let the garlic slowly warm in the oil then I threw in a few handfuls of pistachios that I had shelled and chopped and some cauliflower that I had blanched then iced. I tossed that all around then added some quinoa, parsley and garlic spaghetti that my sister had found at the bio (organic) store.