Not Just A Cupboard Spice
Trip Start Oct 25, 2007
61Trip End May 15, 2008
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While we were sitting at the table looking at the menus, I found myself having a little bit of trouble reading it. Usually they have English translations underneath the menu items but at this restaurant they did not. Steve can decipher German well enough to figure things out but since I have more difficulty and we were among German-speaking friends, I decided to ask one of them to help me translate.
As we were discussing the menu, our friend stopped in mid-sentence and plucked a leaf off of the plant in between us. She started chewing on it like a cow chomping on grass and my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Before I had a chance to say anything, she did it again. The words flew out of my mouth faster than I could catch them..."Did you just eat that plant?" The whole table burst into laughter. She could barely stop laughing long enough to tell me that it was Oregano.
Clearly I don't know enough about spices to know that restaurants put plants on their tables for people to snack on. Once everyone stopped laughing me, they encouraged me to give it a try. With reservation, I pulled a leaf off of the plant and sniffed it. It didn't smell like anything all that special. When I finally took a bite, the flavor was overwhelming. It was as if I took an entire jar of Oregano from the kitchen cupboard and poured it into my mouth. It tasted horrible!
Once we started eating, I put salt and pepper on my food and when I went to put the shakers back down, I bumped hands with my friend reaching for the Oregano plant again. I thought, "Didn't you have a big enough snack before dinner?" This time she didn't take one leaf or two, but she grabbed the entire plant until she had a good handful
I don't know if people eat Oregano leaves at restaurants back home or if it's just a German thing. I can honestly say I've never seen anyone do it until we came here. Then again, this is coming from a person who didn't know Oregano was more than a cupboard spice until now either! The only thing that I know for sure is that I HATE Oregano...regardless of whether it's in a cupboard or in a pot of dirt!