Reid Bramblett - Travel Writer

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Delphi Dinner (cont'd)

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After correcting my pathetic pronunciation, our waiter launched into a lengthy description of how glorious that particular dish was. But for all his praise, his explanations did get vague at points. Like when we asked how one particular lamb dish was cooked. He stuttered a bit, his eyes kind of distracted, as he hurried through a mumbled description:

"Lamb on thee fire...with, um, local spices..." he picked at some dust on his crisp white apron. "And, eh..." he searched for the proper word, clearly discarded a few in his mind, and finally came up with: "...thing-es."

"But!" He rushed on, "The next dish is simply marvelous! It is from thee plains of Thessaly, with an ex-squeesite sauce made from..." I kept nodding and mentally scratching each suspect meal off the list in my head. I soon found, however, that each dish contained at least one suspicious-sounding element, usually the part our waiter said in Greek without translating.

Once we had established the magnificent culinary perfection of the dozen or so meals printed, I inquired about the four or five dishes penned in at the bottom.


He paused significantly.

"You don't wan' those."

He shifted his feet uncomfortably while I glanced at Frances. "Okay, but what are they anyway, in case we're interested?"

He raised his eyebrow and a slight, disgusted and pained sneer shadowed his lips. The kind of look guys get when watching the mating ritual of the praying mantis on PBS and it gets to the part where the female bites the male's head off. This is different from the kind of look women get at that part, which is more a sort of triumphant and knowing smirk.

"Oh," he intoned nasally, obviously disturbed he couldn't steer us away. "No. Really sir. You ar no interested."

"Try me." I gave my most winning smile.

"They ar... local dishes, sir. Only the locals eat them." He was smiling a bit too large now, his eyes flashing as his mind cast around for a good deterrent, but, unfortunately for both of us, he had me intrigued.

"I'm just curious. How about this first one here?" I asked innocently.

He sighed. Clearly I was not going to give up. "Eet is cooked from the entrails, and the hearts, and the testicles, and the gullets and other parts of the sheeps."

Now it was our turn to get that disgusted sneer on our faces. I did not even bother to ask about the next dish. I was too busy working on trying not to think about what the "other parts" of the sheeps might be.

The waiter grinned a little victoriously at our reactions. "I told you tha you wood not like eet!" He drew himself up proudly. "You haf to be born on thees mountainside to love eet!" Then he bent down with a conspiratorial smile and added softly, "I was no born here, I hhaate eet!"

We ordered the lamb on fire with local spices and thinges. The lamb was tender, the spices were spicy, the "thinges" were crunchy. I didn't ask.

Copyright © 1995 by Reid Bramblett. All rights reserved.

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