EXPAT FOODIE: HOW TO GET PREGNANT

by missfootloose on September 5, 2009 · 17 comments

in Culture and Customs, expat, Expat foodie, Food, Kenya

How adventurous are you when it comes to eating exotic food in foreign countries?  I suppose it depends on what it is, and if you know what it is (some delicacies do not lend themselves well to translation).  As expats and travelers we sometimes have mind-broadening/altering opportunities to try interesting food of the sort we would not encounter in our home countries: Culturally unique victuals the locals prepare because they have magical properties, food that will heal, aid in your spiritual enlightenment, make you sexy, or help you get pregnant. That sort of thing.

Okay, let’s talk about goat meat. Not usually on the dinner table in the suburbs of the West, but not necessarily unknown. In many supermarkets you can find goat milk and of course goat cheese, or chèvre, but goat meat is more difficult to find and appears not to feature in the culinary dreams of many Americans and Western Europeans.

Being a lucky person, I’ve eaten goat meat (chevon, if you want to be sophisticated about it) in several countries, prepared in various ways – roasted whole over a pit fire, made into a curry, cooked on bamboo sticks over a charcoal burner, and in West African groundnut soup, to mention a few.  Yummy delicious unless chewy.

My most memorable goat-meat tale takes me back to Kenya, East Africa, the country where I was married in a 10-minute ceremony that deserves its own story one day.  My Peace Corps volunteer husband worked with Kikuyu farmers who often made him presents of fresh peas, passion fruit and other produce, all consumed by us with appetite and appreciation.

One night my mate came home bearing a gigantic blood sausage crafted from goat odds and ends, presented to him as a gift by a Kikuyu farmer who was concerned about my failure to produce a mtoto after an entire year of marriage.  The sausage, then, was a fertility sausage.

I examined it respectfully, listening carefully to my mate who had witnessed its preparation.  Let me not dwell on his colorful description; suffice it to say that the sausage looked like the ancestral mother of all sausages.  The thought of its possessing magical powers did not seem at all outrageous. We were in Africa, after all. Stuff happens there.

“Do I have to eat this?” I asked.

“Yes,” said my mate.  “He’ll expect a report and I am an honest man.”  Which he is.

“We can share,” I said hopefully.

He took a step backward.  “This is meant to help women conceive.  I’m not touching this thing.”

I contemplated the sausage.  “What if it works?”

“It will be a miracle.”

“It will be a disaster.”

He gave me a pleading look.  “Be a sport and have some.”

I was a sport and had some.

I hate to disappoint you, but it tasted fine, sort of what you’d expect goat sausage to taste like: strong and flavorful with a hint of potent.

And for you who are wondering: Yes, I did get pregnant.

But it wasn’t until three years later, on another continent, just as we had planned.

* * *

What strange foods have you had the courage to try?  Any special powers attached to them?  Were you ever in a situation where you could not refuse to eat something without seriously insulting your host?  Please entertain me!

OOPS!  The photo shows sheep, not goats!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Butternut Squash September 5, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I’m so glad that you got pregnant in your own time. But the sausage did help you give birth to a marvelous tale.

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Mary Witzl September 5, 2009 at 8:40 pm

That is a wonderful story.

In Japan, they have fertility shrines where childless women often go in hopes of conceiving. The deity at these shrines is usually a male member that is so lifelike you can hardly stand to look at it (unless you happen to be alone, which does not often happen in Japan).

I ate locusts once, very much by accident, in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. They were crunchy and had very little taste. I had to say no to raw horse — I just couldn’t make myself eat it.

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Turquoise Diaries September 7, 2009 at 9:26 am

This is a great story.. Brave of you to eat. The thing I like eating very much here, but could sound terrible to others is barbecued intestines !!! I should have to write about it on my blog

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truestarr September 7, 2009 at 9:56 am

I ate a lot of things in Thailand – that I specifically told people “DON’T tell me what it is.” so I can’t tell you what I ate that is weird. (though I’m pretty sure I ate snake at one point…)

Generally I guess it’s the weird sea food that gets me sort of regularly here in Greece. Eels, fish eyes, raw sea urchins… I’ll eat them but I don’t actually go out and look for them!!

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GutsyWriter September 8, 2009 at 5:12 am

Does it taste like chicken? I love goat cheese. I shall never forget my trip to Japan, 34 years ago, when I was 18. My Father did business with Toyota and we were invited to a fancy restaurant. We each had a tall porcelain jar of custard for dessert. Yum! creme brulee, I thought. When I dug down, I discovered a caterpillar at the bottom, and my father said it was a delicacy. I gave it to him to eat.

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Mara September 8, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Not necessarily strange, but while living on Sicily I once went out with some local colleagues to a Sicilian restaurant. Eight courses later I was completely full and couldn’t eat another bite. Then, one of my colleagues told me I mightn’t have had rabbit, but cat! Apparently they look so similar and even taste alike. I love cats, but whether it was or not: it tasted great!

In the Netherlands you can still quite easily get horsemeat, which is absolutely horrid to some people!

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Hit 40 September 9, 2009 at 3:08 am

I have never had very exotic food. I need to break out of my Ohio Shell.

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Shellbelle September 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

What an interesting post and I can’t wait to read about your 10-minute marriage!

I have never turned down trying anything, but I have not traveled out of the United States very often. I did have a curry made with goat in Jamaica and thought it was delicious. That could have been because of all the rum I had with it though.

I’ve tried everything at sushi bars and the only thing I disliked intensely was the sea urchin, the texture left a lot to be desired. I have a friend from Japan who related that they would get them right out of the water and crack them open to eat fresh. She loved them and said they tasted nothing like the ones we had at the sushi bar.

I know this is a long comment, but I used to work at a cafe in California and our customers swore our balsamic vinegar dressing would induce labor. I can’t tell you how many women would show up when they were due to give it a try! lol

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Elizabeth Bradley September 11, 2009 at 6:52 am

About 20 yrs ago my family and friends were going to have a big 4th of July bash and since my house was close to everyone I was conned into letting them throw it there.

My brother and a friend told me to clear out the fridge because they were doing the cooking the following day, and would need to store some perishables. So, I cleaned it out and went to work. When I returned that evening my son met me at the door. He was ashen as he led me to the kitchen, where he threw open the refrigerator door to expose little legs dangling out of some butcher paper, little legs with little hoofs.

Little did I know they were planning to roast a “kid/goat” for the party, out in the backyard. I didn’t try it, I couldn’t get the forlorn little hoofs out of my mind.

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Celeste Maia September 11, 2009 at 7:05 am

I really enjoyed your blog, and I am so glad you brought me here. Thanks for being a follower of mine. I will definitely be of yours. I was born and grew up in Mozambique. The strangest food I ate there were grasshoppers – or the shrimp of the poor – they taste OK. Now I would not do it. I love goat and have had in curries in Sri Lanka and India. And in Portugal with a herb sauce. It is delicious. Your story of the sausage is really fun.

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Miss Footloose September 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Great fun reading all your stories.

Here’s the line-up of food eaten and not eaten by you so far:

o Locusts, but not raw horse meat
o Barbecued intestines (good!)
o Eels, raw sea urchins
o Caterpillar (not eaten)in custard
o Cat (thinking it was rabbit)
o Goat curry (Jamaica)
o Snake
o Roasted kid (not eaten)
o Mystery food: Eat, don’t ask!

PS Rhonda, I love long comments!

Thank you all!

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LadyFi September 16, 2009 at 6:46 am

great story!

Well, after being forced to eat rooster brains and head, chicken claws while facing the right direction, sea cucumber, snake and dog – I became vegetarian. I then told everyone in China that I was a Buddhist and they were never insulted that I refused to eat the meat on offer…

And yes – 24 yrs later, I’m still vegetarian!

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edj July 19, 2011 at 7:32 am

In Morocco, they have a fertility pool that is full of eels. An old crone sells the water in a bottle labelled “magic.” I don’t know if it works on people, but I can tell you it’s working on the cats–there are hundreds of them slinking around!
I have lots of gross/weird food stories too! I have eaten every part of the goat, including intestines and cheeks, and I have eaten camel hump. It was boiled. Pretty much what you’d expect–pure lard. Afterwards I could not get the coating of grease off my mouth. In the same village we were fed a strange dish called lu’xoor. It consists of a stack of perfectly-made crisp-on-the-edges crepes, made with millet. They stack them on a dish and pour a camel gravy over them. You eat with your hands, digging down through the layers. Soggy, weird consistency, but tasty!

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missfootloose July 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for sharing your tales here! Fascinating. I’ve never eaten any part of a camel, but I suppose there is still time!

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