Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Menudo

I consider myself a bit of a culinary dandy. An epicurean fop if you will, but certainly not a food snob. I was brought up in a house with too many Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower, and simply no Velveeta. My youth was spent in a losing battle against liver and beets, and with the fascist motto "Fragen Sie, was es ist, nachdem Sie es essen" which loosely translates to "You may ask what it is, only after you ingest it." With this motto, my parents forged the complex palate that i possess today. Able to consume Oaxacan crickets, Stinky Cheeses, and Super Sized meals and enjoy them deeply. It was during a session of similar foodie bragging that I found myself confronted with the question "What don't you eat?". I thought at length. My immediate reaction is to proclaim my hatred for black licorice. Anis, Anisette, whatever the hell you want to call it, I hate it. I'll drink it, or ingest it, but with hate in my heart for the flavor starved medieval bumpkins who decided to gag down this garbage in the first place. A shame really, that Absinthe insists on using said flavor. But surely that is not it. I'm sure there's something else i can't stomach. Truth be told, I take great pride in forcing myself to enjoy certain foods i have previously found distasteful. I see a dislike of a food as a shortcoming of my own and not a fault of the comestible in question. I have as of recent conquered my former nemesis Cole Slaw, and Root Beer also fell to the more forgiving palate of my third decade. Yes, I am a man content to shove any old thing down his gullet.

I do however, have a gripe- with tripe. tuwalya

Its not that the flavor offends. Its not even the appalling honeycomb texture and the bristles. God knows if texture and appearance were the defining vote of consumption, then oysters and hot dogs would be exempt my gorging, and they most certainly are not. So if not the flavor or the appearance and texture, then what is it? Why Alf? Why won't you eat tripe? The world wants to know!!

Well, I don't like fighting with my food. Chewing through tripe is one the most awful, time-consuming acts of flavorless banality you could sit down and inflict on yourself.

Take Menudo:

Picture 5

The famed Mexican dish was made popular as a hangover cure in rural Mexico. My guess is that the undigestible bits of rubbery gut served as some sort of sponge for much of the leftover pulque from the previous night's fiesta. Regardless, I am convinced that the ingestion of this strange dish was more out of necessity than an actual taste for chunks of tripe. I feel perfectly comfortable in lumping all tripe dishes, worldwide into the category of inedible nonsense. I do offer one caveat. Andouille, Andouillette and Butifarra are sausages that contain tripe, and as we all know as long as its in an edible animal casing ALL food is game.

There are a few other foods I consider fighters that I am sometimes wary of eating. Razzberries, Blackberries, and certain nuts are such a hassle to eat because of their seeds or casing, that i sometimes think twice beofre noshing on them. Tripe however, I downright avoid. The day tripe is tasty, I'll chew it down like a meaty gummy worm, but no amount of lime juice and cilantro will ever be enough for me to sit at a bowl of Menudo for hours trying to hock back that rubbery mess.

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