It’s an atavistic ritual. You take your seat, you ask to see the fish, you poke it and you nod your head. ‘That one’
Just back from a fish holiday. Not fishing for fish, but fingering fish. It’s what’s expected of you when you eat out on a Greek island. If the taverna doesn’t tempt you in off the street with a cabinet of the day’s catch on ice, the waiters will bring a raw selection to your table. Fresh. Feel.
I’m in two minds about fish – it depends how much oil and garlic they cook it in and how well they disguise the taste so that you think you’re eating meat – but I poke the carcasses for politeness’s sake. I have no idea what I’m poking to find or how I’ll know when I’ve found it. Should the fish yield a little to my pressure? Should it resist? Should it be rubbery or slimy; should the eyes be open or closed; should the fish look contented in death, or angry?