Sunday, January 27, 2008
I ate Bambi's father
After many year's of studying French culture, I thought I had a good perception of the kind of cuisine that French people eat. After coming to live with a host family and eating most meals with them, however, I've come to realize I can expect almost anything to pop up on my plate.
My first day here my host mother asked me politely if there were any foods I didn't eat. Thinking I wouldn't have to be too specific, I replied with my normal response: No fish, I don't eat fish, pas du poisson s.v.p.! My host family has generously respected this even though they themselves eat a lot of fish.
After a formal lunch with the family and some of their visiting relatives last weekend, I realized I was in for a rough ride in the food department. Francois' (the dad) brother and his wife were in town for the weekend because they had tickets to a play. They are from Provence and I quickly learned that the brother is a hunter. Pas trop grave so far.
When I sat down I saw a brick of pate sitting on the table. I had had pate before. The brother's son aka the cousin Nico, asked me if I wanted some. I asked what it was and when he explained to me in French I wasn't familiar with the term. Everyone tried explaining the meat to me for awhile before Nico said, exasperated, in English "Did you see the movie Bambi?" and I said "yes."
"We are eating Bambi's father." he said with a stone face, expecting a horrified reaction from me.
and a horrified reaction he received. We were eating venison. And Francois' brother had killed it himself. I didn't want to be rude so I took the plunge and ate a small portion of the mashed up deer meat. But it didn't stop there. The next course in the meal was another meat I've avoided all my life: lamb.
And it didn't stop there, and probably will not stop. I've grit my teeth and beared through a wide variety of foods I'd intended to always avoid: snails, venison, lamb, kidney and some other foods I'd never come across but enjoyed: a selection of cheeses and lychees.
They told me before I leave I have to try pig testicles and frog legs.
I'll let you know if I survive.