Friday, August 21, 2009

Gutter meat makes my tummy hurt

On Sunday we decided it was time to do an American style barbeque to celebrate our close friend and confidant Mr. John Baptist leaving for college in the morning. Chicken is boring, so we decided to mix it up and go for pork. At home this wouldn't be much of a story, but since we're in Africa... Wow, not going to make that mistake twice.


First of all pork is kind of hard to get your hands on in this town. As I write this I am hearing the Muslim call to prayer from somewhere (yep, must be 4:00), and Muslims don't dig swine in case you haven't heard. So to even get some pork you have to go to some certain neighborhood that only JB knows about.

Me: "Why only this neighborhood Beezy?"
JB: "This where all the Karamajongs live. The people down here are so hostile that the Muslims are afraid to come in and try and tell them what to do."
Me: "Is it safe for me?"
JB: "As long as you don't try and tell them what to do and never ever go here by yourself, yea for sure it's fine."

We got to the Karamajongs' hood and by no small coincidence it was the same place we went for locaal brrew a few months ago. JB takes a quick look around finds a guy swinging a machete wildly at a hunk of raw meat and we have our target. After some expert barGAINing, we have meat. Splat! Dude moves a fat handful of pig from the filthy tabletop to the filthy scale. But we need to package it, so he goes and gets a kaveera (black plastic bag) and fills it with pig bits. Of course I don't need to wash my hands between handling raw meat and money- and even if I did, do you see any water? I didn't bring my camera and it's really hard to do justice to just how filthy the whole experience was. We literally broke every single rule in Food Handlers 101. At one point in my life (say six months ago) I would have said this meat is guaranteed to kill you.

Next step was to transform this meat into something resembling edible. As Pat was making from scratch something that resembled barbeque sauce (tomato paste, glucose syrup, vinegar, onions & peppers, and some certain secret marple spices) JB and I proceeded to wage war on Porky's Karmajong cousin. Since the meat as purchased contained both skin and fur, it was no small task. Basically it was you hold one end I'll hold the other then I'll hack at it with a kitchen knife.

(Get in there)

The intersection of my and JB's culture reached its apex at precisely this moment:

Me: Jim Bob, wash your hands after handling raw meat. Particularly if you're going to pick up and play with every little thing on the coffee table.
JB: (puts hands to mouth, smells them) Nah, don't worry about it. It's cool.

(Just havin' a snack, while I handle this raw meat)

Or maybe it was here:

Me: JB are we going to get sick from eating meat that has sat unrefrigerated in the sun for 10 hours?
JB: It hasn't been 10 hours. What time is it, 8pm? It's probably only been out in the sun for 3 hours. Don't worry about it. It's cool.

I don't really know who won this one ultimately. We really punished that pig. Seriously. And it was delicious and went down smooth like butter. On the other hand, he hasn't exactly processed through yet. The odds that Ol' Porky has some nasty surprises waiting in the wings? Pretty high.


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