If you read my blog, you’ll be aware that my trip to Greece in 2004, to attend a friend’s wedding, has been one of my all time favourite vacations. One of the reasons for that was the food. I fell in love with Greek food, and as I am a true foodie at heart and love trying new things (except for maybe creepy crawlies), there was a whole array of local vegetarian and non-vegetarian food to try and enjoy.
I must apologize in advance that since I had not entered my “foodie photo”phase till then, and because in all the excitement of traveling, had forgotten to take the charger for my camera – Yes! I barely made it through the entire 10 days – there are no food pictures to share.
Now, out of everything that I tasted, what really stood out was Octopus. I hadn’t watched Oldboy (the Korean cult classic film) till then, so was completely clueless about the whole “eating live octopus” scene – something that runs through my mind every time I even think of an octopus now. But, when cooked right, Octopus is simply delicious and so much so did I love it that I brought home some canned octopus from the trip.
What I didn’t know, till roughly the very end of the trip was how is it that that the locals caught an Octopus. I always imagined that it was similar to fishing and catching them in nets.
Imagine my surprise when I did finally see a local catch an Octopus from the water – they can be found near the shore on rocks – and then go on to stun it in the most interesting fashion.
I agree it’s not the most humane way to go about it and while initially it seemed amusing, after a little introspection the act seemed a tad sad and cruel, but I term it interesting because for those of you who are aware of the famous Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai would easily be able to see the uncanny similarity between washing clothes and stunning an octopus.
Later, my friend Michael, whose wedding I was attending at the time, added more interesting facts about how Octopus are actually caught in the sea – “It’s interesting to see them caught too. Usually they tie a bunch of jars along a rope and then throw them in. The octopus then finds the jar to hide in. When the rope is pulled back up to the boat, getting the octopus out by just pulling it out is just about impossible, as you can imagine. The fisherman gets the octopus to crawl out either by pouring fresh water into the jar which the octopus doesn’t like or put putting salt in, which the octopus doesn’t like either.”
I did manage to make a small video – uploaded on YouTube – of the act and you can watch it and be your own judge – How to Stun an Octopus.