Saturday, May 13, 2006

Local Food

There's nothing like trying the food in your country of residence ... nothing quite like it

In Turkey, I attended a conference in Edirne. I went with two of my Turkish friends and we met up with my future boss and colleagues while there. They decided I should try the local delicacy ... another colleague had asked that we take some back to her because she loved it so much. Sounds good I thought to myself.

I admit it, I balked a little when they told me it was deep-fried lung, thinking 'Dear god, must I?' Off we wandered to the restaurant, with me psychologically dragging my heels.

I asked my friend if it wasn't a very big clue that you couldn't get this food anywhere else ... a big clue as in 'you shouldn't be eating this thing!'

She laughed.

The food arrived at the table, it looked tempting and smelt good. I poked at it with my fork and asked, 'This isn't liver is it?'

They talked among themselves and sure enough, 'lung and liver' are close enough and rarely used ... it was an offal mix up.

The dish was good, better than the liver I had eaten as a child back home in New Zealand.

Last night we attended a big dinner here in Belgium. The food was quite stunning, although I'm not sure I agree that duck steak should look so much like raw steak.

The entree was this delicate little round of whitish meat on a bed of exotic mushrooms, with a cream sauce surround.

The first mouthful was stunning if unrecognisable as any meat I had previously eaten.

Then I noticed the Belgians were watching me eat. It's never a good sign, not even back home.
They asked if I liked it.
I said, 'It's stunning, what is it?'
'Veal' was the laughing reply.

Halfway through, the smiles were making me suspicious again and I asked Gert to tell me more about the 'veal' I was eating.

Stunning news, it was some kind of animal gland ...
He couldn't find the translation for me which was probably good, as it was tasty.

He has a meeting this morning, he left before anyone else was awake and I wasn't alert enough to remember my question.

I'm still waiting on the translation.

A gland ... I'll let you know.


Lever said...

My father used to travel to Bruxelles a lot for his job... it was back in '75 when he had a near raw horse steak that finally turned him vegetarian :o

But that animal gland... maybe it's best if you never find out what it is/was? LOL

wandering-woman said...

I'm with lever. Leave it as a "stunning" unidentified animal gland.

The Spanish definitely keep to the "whatever you do, don't waste a single part of an animal" rule. Dangerous if you head for pinchos and decide just to point at the tasty looking dish you want, since the barman won't hear you anyway. It was a Belgian visiting me now that I think about it (who may or may not eat the gland in question) who pointed at what she took for yummy sauteed artichokes and came up with plate of quartered pig's ears. At least the snouts are recognizable.

wandering-woman said...

Of course, now that I think about it, glands are full of all sorts of interesting things, chemically speaking :-)...If you feel any particularly strong and perhaps less than usual impulses, let us know and maybe we can nail which gland it was you heartily enjoyed over cream sauce from that...

woman wandering said...

It wasn't so much that I felt strong, w-w it was more that my stomach felt violated this morning.

Might have been the little raw duck steaks though ...

harvey molloy said...

Oh I'm so glad I don't eat red meat!

woman wandering said...

Oh Harvey, I wish I had the willpower to become vegetarian!

Jessica said...

Maybe it was the 'zwezerik', or thymus, also known as sweetbread. I had it once without knowing what it was, and I actually quite liked it. In the Netherlands it is considered quite a delicacy.

woman wandering said...

Delicacy it was, Jessica but the amused Belgian faces did cause me to question it's origin.

That knowing smile is part of the body langauge that transcends linguistic barriers. :)