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Omar Loves Menudo. Dan Doesn’t.

Menudo

9/23/2006

Saul likes menudo

Saul likes menudo

I love Mexican food. Good thing, because I live here.

When I first moved to Mexico, some dishes I liked right off, like mole poblano and chiles en nogada. Others took a little time to get used to–the mashed beans and lots of cilantro–but now I’m crazy about them.

And then there’s menudo. Cow stomach soup. (Alright–it’s tripe soup. It’s still awful.)

Now, I’m not squeemish about trying something new, especially in the food area. I’ve eaten my share of exotic insects, pig heads, and goat, not to mention a huge number of locally available tropical fruits and roots and leafy parts. But I won’t do menudo.

Not that I never have the chance. As a matter of fact, I find myself staring at a big bowl of steaming cow innards every Saturday morning, even before I get the sleep out of my eyes. Saturday is market day, and on the way we always stop at a little fonda, open to the street on two sides, sit on plastic chairs, and Omar orders menudo. With libro, corralito, ranilla, labio, pata, and carnaza, callo, and pedazos.

Those are not herbs and spices. They are different bovine parts, most harvested from–but not limited to–the stomach area. Libro consists of folded leaves of intestine (libro = book). Corralito is the familiar sheet of honeycomb meat. Labio is lips (and it’s real good, actually), pata is cow foot (also very tasty–I mostly have issues with just the stomach and intestinal parts). Carnaza is meaty, like a pork roast. And pedazos are pieces. “Give me pieces,” Omar says every Saturday morning, and from the huge aluminum cauldron appear beige sheets of stomach lining and cow lips and books made of meat, and pieces.

Considering the rest of the lineup, I’ve never bothered to ask what the little hunks were pieces of.

Anyway, Omar and everyone else loves Menudo. It wakes you up, it starts you off, it cures wicked cruda (hangover). But I just can’t.

I tried menudo once, at a buffet. I came to it without prejudice or reservations, and it was inedible. Hideous, even.

Like Omar says, I should try it again. Maybe I just had a bad bowl of intestines on my first try. And I’m sure he’s right. Everybody loves menudo.

But for now, every Saturday morning I order my two quesadillas, smother them with hot peppers, and bravely suffer the certainty that if I would only try them, I would learn to love pieces.

Dan and Omar

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Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.