Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hoof In Mouth

We've all had those moments in conversation when it would have been better to just stick your foot in your mouth. I've been there many times. However, dinner with my family on their last night in Catania proved to be a first time occassion for sticking a hoof in my mouth... Upon receiving a recommendation from Brenda, we walked a few blocks from my parents' hotel in the center of Catania to a very non-touristy restaurant just off the main street. I had done a good job speaking Italian with the waiter as well as with translating the menu for my family, but when it came time for me to order my meal I couldn't decide what I wanted. I did know I wanted meat, so I asked the waiter what his favorite beef dish was. He first recommended something with funghi (mushrooms), which I turned down, and then he  recommended something called "stinco" and pointed to his calf. I was naiively expecting a random cut of meat from the leg of a cow, so I said, "Okay." While we waited for our main course, we enjoyed an appetizer of Sicilian meats and cheeses with fresh honey to drizzle on top, all of which was delicious. After that, the waiter brought out our dinners. I was surprised to see that I did not in fact get the cut of steak that I was prepared for. Instead, I got the calf and hoof of a pig. It took me a minute to realize what I was looking at - the tibia and fibula - before I decided to dig in and attempt to enjoy something new. Surprisingly, the meat fell right off the bone and had the consistency of chicken you'd get off of a drumstick. I think I was most surprised that a lower leg, which bears so much weight (and it must have been a big pig) could be so tender and taste so good. All that being said, I still had a hard time knowing I was sticking a foot in my mouth, but I'm glad I got to try something new.

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