not for the weak of heart.

March 18, 2007

i have a new love; it’s name is boudin noir. boudin noir

when sausages were invented several thousand years ago, part of their purpose was probably to make use of all the tiny scraps of meat that would end up on the butcher’s table (and, incidentally, the table of the baker, possibly the cheese-maker, et cetera). like cheez-whiz and croutons, it was a way of turning something with no apparent value into something worthy of market. of course, over time, this has evolved into quite the tradition.

this is the french version of what the scots or the irish would call “black pudding” or what (i figure) the germans would call “swartzwurst.” so, between this sausage being (at least) three different shades of black, what the hell does this mean?

thankfully, the chinese are much more forward with their name for it: blood sausage.

boudin noir is pretty much made with mixing pork (and beef?) meat with some type of flour (rice, methinks), and binding it with blood, which coagulates (to a degree; not as much as, say, egg) with heat. historically-speaking, it’s pretty easy to see why blood sausage would have come to be. it’s a very cheap source of iron and protein; without a doubt a boon in times of scarcity.

so, one would wonder why on earth people still eat boudin noir, particularly here in france. this is a rich nation; hunger is not widely known, and by my guess, the poorer segments of society (a testament, perhaps, to the undeniable racism present here) are likely not going to pick blood sausage to sustain them, it being foreign to the custom of many – and outright forbidden by the religion of others.

kim tells me that it’s “really, really french.” i figure that the french know something or other about sausage, partly due to the fact that they still hold the position of producing the world’s finest cuisine (a subjective opinion, admittedly, but definitely a widely-held one).

owing to my upbringing, i’m not exactly the first person one might think of to enjoy such a thing; indeed, not only is it meat, something which i largely grew up without, but it’s also – quite possibly – the most un-kosher thing imaginable (the laws of kashruth forbid the consumption of blood and specify that warm-blooded animals must be thoroughly salted to remove any trace of blood before being sold).

still, it’s a delicious way to end the day, with a side of simmered lentils and tomatoes, a sliced avocado, some country bread and a bottle of alsatian beer. who’d have thought that treyf could be so damn tasty?

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