When she finds them, she chucks them hard on top of the other wild aromatic horta (€4/kg) and turns away to deal with another customer. I keep filling my bag and then wait my turn for her to weigh it. She comes back and grabs my bag. I make sure to remind her I only want half a kilo of greens today. She throws it on the scales and tells me it's more than half a kilo. I ask her how much it costs; without taking any greens out of the bag, she says: "€2, that's how much you wanted to spend, isn't it?" I laugh, and give her €2.
Then I pick up a pack of lapatha, which are sold in bunches without the stem, with the tops and bottoms tied together with a rubber band. Dock leaves are a prized green, and are therefore sold separately from other horta species (rarely mixed in with them). The lady at the stall senses another purchase: "Take some lapatha, dear, add them to your kalitsounia." I see the sign at the front: ΛΑΠΑΘΑ €0.80. I decide to take them and give her €1. I tell her to keep the change.I ran out of dock leaves when there were about 4 tablespoons of rice stuffing left. So I used another leaf I'd harvested when I visited my uncles' farm: pak choi, from a gift of seeds I had given them.
"No," she says, "you take your change," and she comes back with €0.20, but I waive it away. As I do, she frowns, and grabs another bunch of lapatha, stuffing them into my bag before I have time to protest. I walk away from her stall thanking her.
"See you next week," I call out as I leave the stall.
The milk of dock leaves is said to have been used regularly in the past to relieve the sting from nettles. Did they know they could eat the leaves afterwards?
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