I was unable to participate in the recent IMBB#12 is my blog taboo? aka you are what you don’t eat hosted by Carlo at my latest supper. And yes, I fear that I was a little relieved to be unable to participate… I’m not keen on eating things that I know or suspect I don’t like. But since reading Steingarten’s “The Man Who Ate Everything”, I have turned over a new leaf and have been trying just about everything that comes my way. (I still draw the line at sea anenome and anything that really shudders on the plate.)
We discussed briefly what we might have tried doing for this really intriguing idea for an IMBB. I immediately thought of lamb. It’s something I just haven’t really learned to like. I should like it! It always smells fabulous. But the taste… so disappointing… so, well, woolly. And that wouldn’t do because T adores lamb. Why should he get to have something he loves?? So then we thought “lamb’s kidneys!” or perhaps blood sausage. (Do they make blood sausage out of lamb’s blood??) I’ve tried blood sausage – I’m not wild about it but I’m not wild about any kind of sausage that is smooth textured. But it was a moot point. It wasn’t going to happen because we weren’t participating.
As I was reading some of the other IMBB#12 posts, I suddenly remembered some of the food adventures we had when we were bicycle touring in France one autumn. When in Paray-le-Monial we had been in a restaurant that had a salad bar (!!) . There were several different dishes: charcuterie, gherkins, pates, beet salad, chopped tomatoes, potato salad… It looked unlike any potato salads I’d had before. The potatoes were cut into tiny cubes and it was dressed with a vinaigrette rather than mayonnaise. But I’m a sucker for potato salad and was thrilled to add some to my plate. I eagerly tasted it and quickly chewed and swallowed. brrrrrr. Somebody did something strange to those potatoes – sour – and a little undercooked. When asked by the others how it was, I said that it was a little odd, discreetly left the rest of the potato salad on the plate and our dinner progressed.
A few evenings later in Lyon, my brother-in-law noticed ongles on the menu. He was very excited and said he HAD to try them. Of course, we all had to try them. What were they? Calve’s toenails! Mmmm. Yumm.
The salad plate arrived and there, on top of some greens, they glistened. They looked like pickled Lee press-on nails. With trepidation, I tried a few. Surprise!!! They tasted like pickled Lee press-on nails, except maybe these were a little sourer. (Well, they tasted as I imagine Lee press-on nails tasting – let me assure you that I haven’t actually tried eating Lee press-on nails.) But the really amazing thing I discovered was that I had already tried this delicacy in Paray-le-Monial. My sour cubed potato salad hadn’t been made from poorly prepared potatoes after all. It had been calves toenails! They had tasted exactly the same as the calve’s toenails in Lyon – so they were probably correct. I am most relieved that I legitimately don’t care for calves toenails. They will remain taboo for our table anyway.