What are the sorts of food that you won’t eat? As I write I realise that there are many people who cannot eat certain types of food because of religious, ethical or health reasons. But what about the food that you just don’t like …
I’m looking to enroll in one or two cooking classes in France. At the moment, of course it is summer and everyone is on holidays, but there are a couple of likely looking cooking schools in St Etienne, and they both offer a wide range of classes. One of the classes caught my eye. It is ‘La cuisine Lyonnaise’ where we would learn to make the following dishes
|Grenouilles à la Lyonnaise||Frogs Lyon-style|
|Gâteau de foie de volaille sauce crustacé||Chicken liver cake with a sauce of crustaceans|
|Tablier de sapeur||Lyon-style Tripe|
|Quenelle de volaille sauce échalotes||Chicken dumpling with shallot sauce (harmless!)|
|Sot-l'y-laisse à la crème||Can be either translated as "stupid person leaves it there in the cream" or ‘leafed chicken oysters in crème’. There isn’t a word that I know of but it is a special piece of meat that is on the back of poultry.|
|Cervelle de canuts||Brains of canuts where ‘canut’ is a name for the silk weavers from Lyon|
I’m not aiming to be alarmist about Lyon, which is famously the gastronomic capital of France. In fact two of my favourite restaurants in France to date are in Lyon. Les Enfants Terribles, and Le Canut et Les Gones. Both of them have things like pigs trotters, calf’s head and tripe on the menu. I havn’t been brave enough to try them yet but would willingly try the ‘Pike dumpling with crayfish sauce’, or the ‘Iberian Pork with the jus of Chorizo’, if I could stop myself from ordering the ‘Cassolette of Royans ravioli with foie gras creme’.
‘Extreme guts’ is something that I struggle with and I think a lot of people do. An exhaustive survey of five people showed that none would eat tripe, liver or brains. It made me think in general about food that I won’t eat. Here’s some examples:
|Guts||Anything internal – kidney; liver; brains; diaphragm (on the menu in Japan); tripe.|
|Dogs; cats; rats; monkeys||I include these because they were all on the menu in some countries that I’ve visited (not really monkeys because it is illegal). My excuse is that they are carnivores and therefore more disease prone. But as my sister the poo-specialist points out so are pigs.|
|Any type of blood sausage||No explanation required. You’d think. But I’ve recently made some new friends from Jamaica and they insist that the black pudding in Jamaica is the best – and these people seem sensible.|
|Ribs||Could be controversial but I just don’t think that the effort that goes into eating ribs justifies it and you get really dirty fingernails|
|Things that have made me sick in the past||I got sick on a dodgy empanada that I bought off the edge of the road in Chile and there is no going back.|
|Small birds – e.g quails||Same as for ribs. Too much effort for too little reward. Although I could be persuaded on this one.|
Also, there is a special category of foods that exist and you have to learn to love them when you are a child. It is like playing sports or learning a language – much harder to acquire once you are past the age of about seven. (Following the Jesuit line there – ‘give me a child when they are seven and I will show you the man [or woman]’). Being Australian I learnt to eat, and crave Vegemite at a young age. I normally carry it with me if I’m going somewhere for more than a month. But I’m prepared to admit that it is not on the top of everyone’s list.
In Japan they have ‘natto’. It is fermented soy beans, but in reality for me it is like eating slugs. No offense Japan!
In Chile & Argentina there is ‘Manjar’. Dulce de leche. Yuck!
The following food items, however, while unusual are NOT on this list of things that I won’t eat:
|Snakes||Not too bad if someone else does the dirty work of killing them.|
|Insects||Again- not too bad. You just have to get past the look and the thought of them.|
|Lots of raw things||I learnt to love raw meat in South America – carpaccio in particular. Also I don’t mind steak tartare. Then of course in Japan – sashimi which I adore.|
|Crocodile; ostrich; kangaroo||if I was to categorise them I’d say ‘exotic’. Of those mentioned here my favourite is ostrich – I had really really good ostrich in an Italian restaurant in Vancouver.|
But back to the topic at hand. I can’t wait for the cooking classes to resume. First up will be “La cuisine de nos Grands-Méres“. On the menu is Aspic de saumon fumé à l’aneth et œuf mimosa; Pot au feu mijoté de Mamie; Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne; Sauté de veau Marengo; Coq au vin; Lapin chasseur.
Mouth watering yet? What about food that you won’t eat? Do you eat ‘guts’?
Thanks to Phoebe at Lou Messugo for the blog linkup – click here to link back. #allaboutfrance.
I’m with you – no offal. Liver I’ll make an exception for if it’s in the form of paté. The thought of blood sausage makes me want to hurl, but I love a rare steak, and sometime crave a blue steak.
I was always adamant that brussel sprouts were gross until last weekend when I bought some organic ones from the farmers markets and fried them up with butter, proscuitto, onion and garlic. Yum!
I couldn’t bring myself to eat guinea pig in South America.
I’d happily eat crocodile, rabbit, quail (so good), pigeon (again, it’s underrated), veal (some people are funny about veal), kangaroo, sashimi, carpaccio… Insects – I’d probably try crickets but haven’t had the chance yet. Ribs are the best! And always better if someone else cooks them.
Good post Sal. Look forward to your sharing your new French recipes with us in due course 🙂
Yeah – ribs. I’m the only one that doesn’t like them. How does everyone cope with the messy fingernails? Ditto for quail. Ha! guinea pig. Havn’t tried that either. Thanks for dropping by.
Hi there, my “no eat list” is similar to yours and I did a whole post on it. Dogs and cats and horses are out of the question and tripe and blood sausage, no thanks! If it doesn’t even sound appetizing, I steer clear. I’ve tried a bunch of French delicacies living here but many were one-time things. Never again will I eat foie gras. Not my cup of tea. And strangely enough I don’t like the noisette/hazelnut taste so I’ll never eat Nutella. I’m weird. #allaboutFrance
Hi Diane, I’ll have a look for your blog. I’m a late-comer to Nutella. I like it, but don’t eat it much. Thanks for the comment.
Far from causing offence, I love this list of all that is alarming about Lyonnaise cuisine. I really like some aspects of it but actually the worst thing is its heaviness – brains are ok in winter when it’s cold, but brains plus lard in a canicule… no thanks! Good luck with your course.
LOL. Brains in winter when its cold. I’ll give it a go, because I should try it before I complain about it again. My course will be delayed because I’m away for work again for a few months, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Hi Sally. I find it fascinating to try and understand the “custom” of food. Being English I could never eat a sheep’s eye [middle eastern], the fishes eyes [far eastern] and yet they are considered the delicacies of life in those cultures. I think “what you are used to” plays an important part in our culinary likes and dislikes – when I was a child [I’m a wrinkly now!!] my father loved tripe and pigs trotters – so I ate them too. Now I would literally rather starve than be in the same establishment where tripe is cooked! Whilst I don’t have a real problem with frogs legs & quail, I give them a miss as – as you say – far too much trouble for little reward!! Enjoy your cookery course.
Hi Lisa, yes you are right about food customs and what we are used to. I think going back a couple of generations, people didn’t waste as much as well, and in a lot of instances (my father), they were poorer and had to eat everything. So they found ways of eating things like tripe, bread & dripping. There would be a lot of things on that list. Thanks for dropping by.
Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says
Great post!! It’s interesting how internal organs are making a comeback on the gastro scene, especially as they are just cheap cuts. My parents and their generation seem to quite like them after eating them as children after the war and during rationing. They even tried to introduce us kids to them… The cow’s tongue and kidneys did not go down well! I don’t mind eating liver, small birds and I have tried crocodile, fried insects, ostrich and kangaroo in the past (although probably wouldn’t rush eat them again) BUT I don’t touch deer, rabbit – anything that is kept as a domestic pet, no foie gras and absolutely no guts! Tripe – no way – you won’t find me embracing that comeback! #allaboutfrance
Hi Elizabeth, I think a lot of these ‘guts’ type dishes were eaten in the past because previous generations didn’t waste anything. One of my Dutch friends says that her mother always washed out the orange juice containers to get the last of the orange juice in an albeit watered down version. A habit that she from her mother or grandmother (can’t remember which) who lived through the war and didn’t waste a thing. I know I shouldn’t eat foie gras, and its become a bit of a guilty pleasure. Thanks for the comments.
Christy Swagerty says
Cool post! I don’t really eat guts, either, but I can’t always get translations when needed! I can eat raw fish and meat, though, all day, everyday!
Sounds like we have similar food tastes 🙂 thanks for dropping by.
Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault says
A friend and I were only discussing last night what we would and wouldn’t eat – to be honest I’d give most things a go so long as I knew they were well prepared. What I don’t like eating though is food that has been badly raised by which I mean factory farmed meat, intensively produced veg, fruit flown half was round the world … give me local, fresh food, expertly prepared and I’m game! #AllAboutFrance
Rosie – a belated reply. You are right re. food being well prepared, and also in season. The difference in taste is incredible. All the best, Sally
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
I can’t do innards/offal of any sort except liver in the form of paté (and especially yummy is foie gras!!) I think a lot of the problem with offal (apart form psychological) is the texture, they are all slimey/slippery or chalky…just gross. However I’m always up for trying new things at least once and have eaten insects, dog, snake, crocodile, camel, and delicious (NOT) fermented salty mare’s milk tea as you know!!! Funny that you don’t like ribs, I hope I’ve never done them on the barbie for you! I’m looking forward to sampling the results of your cooking course….get back over here and start it girl!
Hahaha, yes the fermented salty mare’s milk tea. When I pretended that I was asleep to avoid the invitation to try it (Mongolia). Yeah – ribs, I do eat them when I’m in company. Its not a phobia or anything. Re. getting back – am starting to feel like I should be getting back to France, but it looks like there might be a job in Dubai en-route. Will keep you posted.