Monday, January 19, 2004

Questions That Need Answering

1. What is bird's nest?

I mean besides the nest of a bird, smart ass. Because it's the second main ingredient, after hashima (we don't know what that is either, but one thing at a time) in this pretty little canned beverage that Foodgoat picked up at the Asian market. I have this vague recollection that birds use spit to keep their nests together, and now he refuses to drink it.

2. Why don't you use the tops of leeks?

All the recipes with leeks (the giant and fancy-pants version of green onions) say to use only the white and pale green part, which leaves a whole lotta leek left over. What, are they poisonous or something?

3. Why is it illegal to sell pork blood in Ohio?

A couple months ago, ER finally did something realistic and had Filipina nurses on an episode. They were portrayed as subversive and bitchy and accent-heavy, but hey, that's a post for another blog. And after their token appearance they promptly disappeared. But the highlight of their all-to-brief time (3 minutes, tops) on-screen was their meal of dinuguan.

Dinuguan, colloquially known as chocolate soup, or more accurately as pork blood stew, is a traditional Filipino dish. Basically, it's pork (organs or just the meat) cooked in fresh pork blood. No need to scream in terror -- it's really very good. Even Foodgoat has had it (of course, that was when my grandmother insisted he try it without telling him what it was). The blood cooks up to a nice dark brown, along with various spices. Scoop this on top of some puto (sweet rice cake), or white rice, and yum-my.

Well, ER apparently didn't see it this way, because Pratt made a face before even trying it, the fool. After that, I decided that it was time to make me some of my own dinuguan. So off to the pork stand at the West Side Market I went, and I ask for pork blood.

"We can't sell pork blood, we're not allowed."
"You're not allowed?" (Picture me, confused. I know, it's not that hard.)
"It's against the law in Ohio. Yah gotta go to a slaughterhouse. Yah can't sell pork blood outside of the slaughterhouse."
"I couldn't tell ya. I can get you all the beef blood you want, but no pork blood. Don't know why, blood's blood, I don't know what the difference is. I wish I could sell pig's blood, I could sell it by the gallon, I tell ya, by the gallon."

I'm not sure who he thinks would be buying the pork blood, since I only need two cups or so, but although there isn't a slaughterhouse nearby, he did tell me that the Asian market does have pork blood imported from California. So a few weeks later, I went to the meat counter at the Asian market and asked for pork blood.

He pointed to a gray, square blob.

"That's pork blood?" (Picture me, distressed and slightly disgusted).

Pork blood, as I know it, is a bright red liquid that comes in a tub. It's only solid if you freeze it. This looked well, not like that. Apparently, pork blood doesn't import well.

And so, thanks to obscure Ohio laws, I didn't make dinuguan after all. I could use beef blood, but the taste would be a little different, and call me stubborn, but I wanted the good ol' taste o' pig blood that I was used to. I may start a petition.

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