Saturday, September 21, 2013

Look what's for dinner!

Maybe if I hadn't have just spent 7 weeks in the USA, this wouldn't have seemed so strange.

Is a man asking you if you want to buy an eel strange?

Man on moped parks outside of our house. He sees Scrubs and therefore doesn't want to enter the gate. So he starts honking and yelling, "Hello! Hello! Anyone home!?"

JB and I are busy putting all four kiddos down for naps so we are less than enthused with a visitor. JB pops his head out of the master bedroom window (windows don't have screens here), and I step out onto the balcony.

This man is a fisherman. I have seen him many times. He wants to know if we want to buy some fish. JB tells him to hang on a minute, and he begins the trek down the stairs to talk to the man in person. While JB is gone, the man pulls out a huge eel and holds it above his head. His English is very good. "You like?" he asked me. "You want to buy?"

It's a Conger Eel. The thing is ... massive. Do people really eat that?

I tell the man to wait. "You'll have to talk to my husband," I say. "He is the cook." I slide back through the balcony, finish tucking the kids in, and then plop down on the couch for my (hopeful) nap.

Ten minutes later, JB slides in through balcony door. "You going to take a nap?" I ask, as we had been hopeful all day of all getting rest in the afternoon.

"No," John says. "I have to go do some research."

"Research? On what?"

"On eels. I have no idea how to cook one."

"You bought that eel?" I ask.

"Yeah!" he says excitedly. "Isn't that awesome?"

Awesome wasn't exactly the word I would have used.

A few hours later, our newest friends: Josh and Rebekah and their three boys are sitting around with us on our porch. JB's mom is there too. We are enjoying JB's version of a French bouillabaisse. I guess you could call it an eel soup.

It was very mentally difficult for me to eat the soup. I had to try to block out the photo stuck in my head of the man holding the eel up and asking "You want to buy?" A few moments earlier that thing had been swimming in the ocean outside my home. Now, it was on the counter in my kitchen.

These cultural moments are so much a part of the person I am and am becoming, and I am trying to embrace them. Trying to remember that this is part of the reason that we chose not to live on the Base. We wanted to experience the culture.

Eel soup.

Check that off my cultural checklist.

(And it was actually pretty good!)


Rebekah Storey said...!

TAV said...

Do you remember goat head soup from Nigeria??

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Oh yeah Tara -- we talk about the goat frequently. It still rates as the only food JB just could NOT stomach.