I am a proud carnivore. I prefer to eat meat at every single meal if possible because the meal just doesn’t seem complete without it. Traveling through Europe can pose some difficult problems at times in regards to eating the way you are used to because people always have a different take on what normal is. I don’t like baked beans for breakfast, I prefer my fish without the eye looking up at me, and I believe there are just some animals that should be for pet and recreational use only.
Coming to Italy is usually a safe bet for good meals that will be enjoyable. You will always get your choice of pasta followed by your choice of meat and you will end up satisfied because if they do one thing well in Italy, it’s eat. These people know what’s important in life and they indulge to the fullest.
Which is why I felt no trepidation when, after finishing off my plate of tortellini, I was brought a piece of meat with some veggies on the side. I had asked for the pork option (as they offered me that or fish), and while I knew the meat sitting in front of me didn’t look like the other white meat, I felt no reason to worry. It looked like beef. They probably just ran out of the pork. So I took a bite. “Funny tasting beef,” I thought. And the aftertaste stuck with you. It definitely tasted different than beef. I never have worked as a food critic so I feel unable to describe it properly, but there was some sort of natural spice that lingered in you mouth…a muskiness almost. It most certainly DID NOT taste like chicken. After a few more bites my friend sitting across from me mentioned the same thing. It was obvious that we hadn’t gotten pork, but we voiced aloud whether this was beef. Perhaps it was veal, we concluded. I don’t ever really order veal but I know it’s in the same family and all so maybe the difference of not being a fully-grown cow is what I was tasting. I then tried to remember what I had seen when I glanced over the regular menu to see if it could possibly anything else. I remembered seeing deer, so I threw that out as an option. I wasn’t too keen on eating Bambi, but I felt like it wouldn’t be the end of the world. People do eat deer in America, though it’s a more obscure choice of protein. We all agreed that eating deer wouldn’t be so bad.
I finished my plate, as did the two friends that were with me. In other countries you don’t send dishes back like we do so freely in the U.S. and if they end up sending out the wrong dish it’s more of a hassle to try and explain that to the waiter who barely speaks English as it is, then to just eat whatever they bring you, and besides, they don’t really check back to ask how your meal is anyway. On the way out though, I stopped our waitress and did my best charades impression to try and ask what our meat was. After a moment of not understanding she finally gets what I’m asking her. Ahhh… it is horse. I just smiled politely and walked away.