The first of the missteps occurred when Jeff went to the grocery store looking for sausage for a meal of hors d'œuvre. Occasionally, we make a whole meal out of grazing on assorted cured sausages, cheeses, roasted beets, fresh pears and apples, cornichons, artichoke hearts, french bread (for Jeff), and corn cakes (for Rebecca). So, Jeff decided to get some andouille sausage. The concentric circles made it looked a little different than the cajun andouille he had seen back home, but always the adventurous fellow, he got it anyway.
He brought the sausage home and opened it, and was immediately struck with a strange smell....a vaguely barnyard smell. And as anyone who has visited a barnyard knows, the main component of this smell is manure; pig manure in this case (North Carolinians will appreciate the special nastiness associated with the smell of pig farms). Turns out French andouille (specifically the andouille de Guémené that Jeff bought) is made entirely of *gags* pig intestines and rectums; this would be called chitterlings sausage in the U.S. In any case, the smell was unsettling, and only got worse when he tried to cook it. I opted not to have any.
Jeff has tried his share of offal, from chicken gizzards and sheep's head, to sweetbreads, and cow tongue (including delicious cow-tongue tacos in Chicago), but this was a little much. In a final blow to his ego, we discovered that andouille also means 'fool' in French.
Another recent mishap concerned an impetuous decision to buy a bottle of soupe de poissons (puréed fish soup) from the Saturday market. I remember eating something like this back when I was in France as a tweenager. I remember it tasting good, kind of like a French version of New England clam chowder. So I persuaded Jeff (who, despite his aforementioned adventurousness, is always a little tentative when it comes to things of the sea because of his land-locked upbringing) to buy this:
We decided to heat it up, and to add leeks, carrots, and spinach. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it wasn't. It was VERY fishy, so fishy that Jeff "the Iron Stomach" was only able to eat a few bites. When someone says "something smells fishy," it was that kind of fishy.
It's a good thing I also made a cornbread to go with it or Jeff might have starved.
I'm still not exactly sure what went wrong with the soupe de poissons...should we have mixed it with something else? Maybe a strong soup base like cream of potato? Or something acidic like tomato? Well, the "leftovers" (can you call them "leftovers" if you didn't eat any to begin with?) are burning a hole through our fridge, so if anyone has any suggestions, speak now or we'll have to throw them out...