Tag Archives: Eating Habits

Ready For Your (Belated) Women’s Day Special…? Chew On That, Bitches!

If you were lucky enough to be female AND in China on 08 March 2016, someone may have presented you with this to show you their appreciation:

International Women's Day China

Love those perky little mushrooms…

What’s this? I hear you ask.

It’s not chocolates.

It’s not flowers.

It’s not Gloria Steinem’s Empowering Fudge Brownie Cubes.

And – thank God! – it’s not a bag of salad either.

It’s dried BEEF STICKS. In a gift pack.

Premium jerky, if you will. Six of them, individually wrapped. Promoted as a “special treat for women” on yesterday’s joyous occasion that was International Women’s Day. The purveyor, Sentai Foods, with a reported slaughtering capacity of 30,000 cattle per annum, is evidently China’s most emancipated meat processor.

This is what is says on the packaging:

“You see, this is what REAL women like to get their teeth into. Shoo, shoooo all you little vegan princesses clutching your mewling bairns to your bony chests down The Sustainable Oat Flake Café while completing the multiple choice final exam for your MSc in AntiFrackingology on your iPhones. And, please, take your fairtrade banana bread and your rainbow frog coffee in unbleached sandpaper cups with you.”

(OK, I made that bit up, but as far as I understand, you cram a hell of a lot of info into just a few Chinese characters.)

Now, in case you want to get your teeth into some of those beefy Girl Chews, the product is available from a popular Chinese internet shopping site called JingDong (jd.com).

I must confess, after having facebook et al. vomit go-be-proud-you-were-born-with-a-gash-between-your-legs messages for 24-hours straight, finding this news item (on globalmeatnews.com, where else!?) totally made my day.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait for next Valentine’s day… ooooh, let it be hickory-smoked chicken feet on a battery-operated stick! The company might even go for a little rebranding… SentaiMental Foods, perhaps?

[Here is the link to the original article, in case anyone’s thinking I’m making this shit up…]



Nothing Separates A German From Their Sausage

Vegetarians of the world please avert your eyes. What follows is pure carnage. Of the most delicious kind. Let’s do the food porn first, and leave the educational bit (I am using that term very loosely) till later, shall we?

Currywurst is a legendary German invention... this one was devoured on a hike through Munich by the river Isar

Currywurst is a legendary German invention… these two were devoured my mum and moi on last week’s hike.

My brother and my mum beneath a sign in Munich advertising the most famous of Bavarian sausages: The Münchner Weißwurst.

My brother and my mum beneath a sign in Munich advertising probably the most famous of Bavarian sausages: The Münchner Weißwurst.

What is a Weißwurst, I hear you ask…

It's this! Actually, I don't really like them...

Here’s a pile of them. The while ones, obviously. Actually, I must confess that don’t really like them all that much… SACRILEGE!

And of course, you can get them canned

And of course, like any kitchen cupboard staple, you can get them canned. For emergencies.


A small selection of a local supermarket’s sausage offering


Those bits in there are finely sliced tongue, in case you're wondering

The chunky bits are finely sliced pieces of tongue, in case you’re wondering…

A seven-pound pack - now that would make for a nice afternoon snack

The seven-pound pack makes for a tasty afternoon snack

Now imagine this potential nightmare scenario: You’re at home, it’s late, you desperately fancy a meaty midnight morsel BUT YOU’VE RUN OUT OF SAUSAGE! If you happen to be living in a semi-rural area like my folks, 24-hour supermarkets or convenience stores are far and few between. What is a desperate sausage-dependent German to do?!?

Well, there is hope: My tiny little village of 700 inhabitants, which only has one restaurant and no shops at all, sports one of these:

YES! There is a God!

YES! There is a God!

The day is saved!!!

Just look at that shapely line-up…the day/night is saved!!!

By now, you’ll have gotten the point. Germans have a very special relationship with their sausages. Not only are burly bangers ubiquitous in local fast food outlets, butcher’s shops, supermarkets and vending machines, but they have also wormed their way into the common vernacular in the form of countless expressions. Here is a selection:

Picture the scene: There’s a terminal struggle going on. Everything’s at stake. It’s a matter of life and death. This is when, for a German, “es geht um die Wurst” (it’s about the sausage). And that tells you all you need to know about how we feel when it comes to our precious meat products.

I’m quite partial to the (British) phrase “I don’t give a rat’s arse!”. The German equivalent is “das ist mir Wurst!” (It’s sausage to me!). This appears to contradict the aforementioned “es geht um die Wurst”, but it’s really just proof that the sausage is all things to all people. (To all German people, at least.)

Some sad individuals love nothing more than to be offended by anything and everything. These bothersome thin-skinned types are liable to earn themselves the title of “beleidigte Leberwurst” (insulted/offended liver sausage). And while they stomp off in one of their huffs, they might well call the hapless culprit who (probably inadvertently) caused their latest grievance a “Hanswurst” (a buffoon).

When Germans get philosophical about the finiteness of things, they like to point out that “alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei” (Everything has an end, only the sausage has two).


[For those interested in German food-related expressions, you will enjoy this post: How To Be A Hater With German Food Phrases]



Salamanca – Food First!

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I spent last weekend in Salamanca, a town with more history than you can shake a stick at. There will be photos of stunning buildings etc. in due course, but – and this will surprise no one(!) – I’m putting the food pics up first:

Let’s start with a round of pinchos, which is essentially the same as tapas.

The one in the middle is called "jeta". It's a colloquial word for face, as in "mug". As for the dish, it's pork snout :)

The one in the middle is called “jeta”. It’s a colloquial word for face (as in “mug”). As for the dis itself, it’s pork snout, oink! 🙂

But what Salamanca is most famous for in the food stakes is this:



And here's the nice man cutting it for us :)

And here’s the nice man cutting some for us 🙂 Pricey stuff, but so worth it…


More ham

This burger was divine...

This burger was divine…

Nice wine display :)

Nice wine display 🙂

Who'd turn down such an evocative invite for afternoon coffee?

Who’d turn down such an evocative invite for afternoon coffee?

Not me!

Not me!

"Chochos Tipicos de Salamanca"  "Chocho" has two meanings: sweets/candy and... erm... fanny (beaver, if you're American).

Chochos Tipicos de Salamanca
“Chocho” has two meanings: sweets/candy and… erm… fanny (beaver, if you’re American).

Key West – A Seafood Paradise

The US is not exactly known for being home to a nation of fish lovers. However, in some coastal regions and on its islands, such as the Florida Keys, fish and seafood dishes are as wildly popular as they are delicious. I took these pictures of some of what I gobbled up in various restaurants:


Blackened black grouper with mashed potatoes, black bean sauce and spinach

Yellowtail snapper

Yellowtail snapper salad with mango salsa

Rooftop cafe

Scallops on sesame rice with edamame beans

Shrimp Green Curry

Shrimp green curry


Ceviche (a marinated fish dish popular across virtually all of Latin America)

Horseradish-encrusted hog fish

Horseradish-encrusted hogfish on a mountain of salad

A crab cake starter

A crab cake starter

Fancy any of these…? 🙂

Spain’s Fruit Is A Total Let Down

“The food tastes nothing like it does back home…” is such a cliched expat gripe that I’m almost ashamed to join in. But today, I’m going at it hell for leather. A burst water pipe put me in the right mood. I now have a spare bedroom Home Spa with a ceiling-to-wall water feature feeding a rapidly expanding infinity pool on what was once a shiny hardwood floor.

Right, let’s get to it. I’ve not moved countries for the first time in my life, so I’m used to missing many beloved food items. Decent bread, for instance, is hard to find outside of Germany/Austria/Switzerland, and if you’re used to proper English tea, you’re going to have to find yourself a teabag mule once you take flight from the rainy British Isles. That’s just how it is, and you expect that.

But there are certain things you don’t expect to be in short supply when you move to a sunny country. I’d never have thought that in Spain, I’d miss decent fruit. Yes, you read that right. In the very country, which is Europe’s biggest exporter of fresh produce, I find the fresh fruit offering terribly lacking.

Spanish Straws: Look great. Taste of nothing.

Let’s start with strawberries. We all know Spanish strawberries, right? (Well, if you happen to live in Europe, you do.) It’s those turnip textured red things which start arriving en masse in supermarkets and greengrocers around February. They sure do look like strawberries, but they taste of absolutely zilch. And what’s worse – they are CRUNCHY, for Pete’s sake! HOW WRONG IS THAT?!

Now, because my work is tightly connected with the food industry, I’m well aware that many countries grow two different “types” of fresh produce – produce for domestic consumption (which tastes great but doesn’t transport well) and produce for export. Those turnippy aberrations are excellently suited for the latter – you can toss those into the back of a lorry and truck them across the entire continent, and even after a week in transit punctuated by the odd motorway pile-up, they will emerge at the other end looking fresh and dewy and miraculously unbruised. And if you’re a supermarket that wants to display perfect looking strawberries on its shelves, this is exactly what you want. It’s all about durability and shelf life.

I naively assumed that Spain had two types of strawberries, i.e. those engineered for export, and those divine creations, which were surely spun by the angels from crimson sunset-dipped cotton candy clouds, and which fall from the heavens in the month June.

But I was wrong. I’ve quizzed friends about this, and the response has been a puzzled stare, as if I had been enquiring about the fairies living at the bottom of their garden. Unlike the good people in countries like the UK, Germany and Sweden, Spaniards only know turgid turnipberries. They have no idea of the gloriousness of putting a REAL strawberry into your mouth, and squishing it into a sweet, succulent mush, without it ever touching your teeth.

It’s always a good idea to wrap any dangerous missiles…

Next in for a lambasting are mangoes. All I can find here are those horrible red-green coloured harpy eggs from Brazil. I’m convinced that they are, in fact, a byproduct of cricket ball manufacture. Their fibrous, acrid, slightly slimy interior remains as hard and rubbery as a British Bobby’s baton right up until they start to rot in your fruit bowl.

Nowhere to be seen in Spain are those delectable golden yellow Pakistani mangoes with their rice-pudding soft, perfume-scented flesh that just melts in your mouth, which you can pick up all over London for six quid a box.

And there’s no point pleading with the greengrocers, although some will tell you, with a churlish grin on their faces, that there’s no broccoli to be had because “it’s not in season right now” (WTF?!), and they will quite happily import woody Chilean asparagus stalks so rigid that you could use them for knitting needles.

Pakistani Mangoes

Oh, how I miss you, my luscious friends…

But it is Spain’s apple situation, which is probably the biggest disappointment of them all. I sorely miss English Apples. Coxes. Orange Pippins. REAL apples, with just a few brown flecks on the outside and crispy flesh imbued with that perfect balance of tartness and sweetness on the inside. No such thing as Bramley cooking apples here either. All I’ve seen in Spain so far are generic, polished, sterile fruit that looks and tastes like syrup-injected candle wax fluffed up with polystyrene. Sure, those blemish-free mutants are found in supermarkets all over the globe, but usually, in most other places, there are at least some tasty native mongrels populating the shelves during the autumn months.

Red Delicious – a misnomer if ever there was one. Get this thing away from me!

Where art thou, my lovely Cox?

Where art thou, my lovely Cox?

I realise, of course, that people across Spain have the most sumptuous fruit sprouting in their back gardens, but, as nobody grows these varieties commercially, the good stuff just isn’t entering supermarket supply chains. Ho hum 😦

So, is there any fresh produce you really miss?

Annual Tapas Competition – Round II

Those of you who read last Sunday’s post will know all about Toledo’s annual tapas competition “La Jornada De La Tapa“, and how I’m sacrificing myself to participate 😉

I just got back from stuffing myself with these delicacies:

Roast (I think it was pork) with tzatziki in a mini bun

Roast Pork with tzatziki in a mini bun

I already sampled the above tapa last week, but forgot to take a picture out of sheer greediness. I made up for it today, phew! Unfortunately, the meat in my bun was very fatty and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as last week. A cracking tapa, though, the flavours really work!

Roast courgette filled with venison and topped with manchego cheese. Divine! ...but sadly a tad out of focus ;-)

Roast courgette filled with venison and topped with manchego cheese. Divine! …but sadly totally out of focus 😉

There was a third tapa, but it was a total disappointment on all fronts, visually as well as organoleptically. To console ourselves, we stopped by the ham shop:

My partners in crime: Begoña (beige coat) and Alfonso, tucking into his ham baguette

My partners in crime: Begoña (beige coat) and Alfonso, tucking into his ham baguette

A world of chorizo....

A world of chorizo….

If you want to take a look at last week’s tapas delights, click here.

I Know I’m In Spain When… It’s Muzzle For Dinner

Been meaning to take this snap for ages, but there’s always a queue at this butcher’s. Today I got lucky.

What do you make with those...?  Roast Sniff? Snout au vin? Snot pot?

What do you make with those…?
Roast Sniff?
Snout Au Vin?
Snot Pot?
Muzzle Moussaka?
Nostrils Napolitana?