Saturday, August 18, 2007

La Langue Française (or the French Tongue...oh la la)

Those of you who have come here hoping to pick up tips on French kissing or to learn more about the French language, be prepared to be sorely disappointed.

I was at Carrefour the other day, picking up groceries for the week when the boy foolishly left me alone by the delicatessen counter. In the glass display a huge pan caught my eye. I leaned in for a look. It was tongue in vinaigrette. I had to have some.

I also strolled past all the glorious hams, dried saucissons and other delicacies when my eye fell upon another display. This time, it was a very pretty display of gelatin containing three cross sections of tongue. Had to get that as well. And also the one beside it, with smaller cross-sections of tongue dotted with pistachio nuts.

To her credit, the lady serving me behind the counter didn't blink an eye when a Chinese girl approached, asking for a single thin slices of both types of tongue along with a small potion of tongues vinaigrette.

Luckily they all came wrapped in little white plastic bags and the boy could not see what folly had befallen me.

Although outraged cries of "This isn't HAM!" and "You mean you didn't even buy ham or anything normal for me at all?!?" were heard loud and clear when sandwich fixings were required.

Contenting himself with a piece of cheese, the boy peered at the tongue studded with pistachios. "Isn't it so pretty?", I asked, to grunts of annoyance. "It's almost like art!" I continued, knowing full well the miserable time he had at the Pompidou Centre last week looking at modern art.

Aside from annoying the boy, I also tasted all tongue-y concoctions.

First up was the tongue in vinaigrette. This was quite tasty but not very "vinaigrett-y", may do well with more marinating. I was surprised to find that the texture was softer and had less of a "chew" than the ones I enjoy in my spaghetti with tomato sauce in Cha Chan Tengs in HK (Cue: Westerners, gag now).

Next, I tasted the long tongue cross sections in gelatin. The French enjoy jellied meats and vegetables as a dish in the summer, served with a side salad. I never really understood it as the texture of the food preserved in the gelatin always changed and tastes mushy to me. In the case of the tongue, it didn't change the texture too much and I would say it had more of a 'chew' than the vinaigretted tongue. I'm not sure whose or what animal's tongue this was. I'm still guessing pork (i.e. the magical animal who keeps on giving).

Finally it came to the prettiest one of all, the one with pistachios. This one was quite mild, with almost no chew, with a texture more like ham. The pistachios were an interesting touch and was nice with the tongue. I liked the look of this one best but overall I did prefer the vinaigrette tongues best.

I'm not sure if French pigs are just lazier and don't exercise their muscles as much but I still find that overall, the tongues didn't have the same texture or chew as the ones I've had previously. Perhaps they've been treated to make the tongue softer to suit the local palate but I still prefer the ones I get back home. MMmmm, can't wait for a big ole plate of tongue on spaghetti with tomato sauce.


umami said...

I was just as disturbed that tongue do not taste as muscular as I had expected but just as relieved because then I have an excuse not to eat them.

BTW, the other day I bought some stuffed squid with ratatouille from the hot food section of Carrefour. The ratatouille was delicious.

SteamyKitchen said...

The one with pistachios is very pretty! I wish I could try...

susan said...

What, the Boy doesn't eat tongue? I thought his only aversion was brains ("because zombies eat brains!"). He eats almost everything else!


Anonymous said...

Like a good westerner, I have a full on aversion to tongue - makes me gag. BUT, this exploration of tongue makes me realize that maybe I need to try tongue again. Maybe the French do do it better? hmmm... I'll keep you posted! J