Food made with Heart
November 5, 2013 § 1 Comment
Last night Rachel (my wife) and I made some Jerusalem mix and rice for diner. If you don’t know what Jerusalem mix I’ll give you a brief overview right now. It is street food you can find on the streets of Jerusalem. It’s most popular as an after the bar snack on the way home. Please correct me if I am wrong, this is what I have learned from my reading thus far.
It is made up of the undesirable parts of animals such as the liver, heart, and spleen, also known as offal. The details of what meat goes in doesn’t seem to be too important. What is important however, is that it is marinated with onions, olive oil and an absolutely amazing spice mix with about 12 different spices. After marinating, you flash fry the mixture and put it a pita with a yogurt sauce, onion salad, and hot peppers.
The onion salad is dressed with salt, pepper, olive oil and sumac, a purple berry that tastes much like limes. You use enough sumac to make the onion salad look purple like the kings robes. The yogurt sauce has, drained yogurt, tonnes of garlic, sesame paste, lemon juice and salt and pepper.The hot peppers we used were the pickled banana peppers so you can really pile them on!
This whole thing is to die for! There is even a good chance that you are thinking the same thing… even though you may thought it sounded horrible because it has heart, liver and spleen in it. Whoops just ruined it again… sorry.
So, Rachel and I made the meat mixture and onion salad with some rice last night. Here’s the thing, what I just mentioned doesn’t sound that great… We were really excited that we were going to get to eat Jerusalem Mix with all the nasty bits… you know because that seems cool… Well when you are eating it little bite by little bite and have time to contemplate what each piece of meat in your mouth is. That is not nearly as appetizing as wolfing down a pita bursting with flavour topped with salty, fatty sauces, all the while you are starving because you have been dancing all night long. Context and surroundings are everything!
I mean it’s not like spleen or heart is supposed to be appetizing on it own. It’s only edible because it’s been masked by seasonings and buried under all of those wonderful condiments. But at that point it becomes so much more than edible, it becomes downright amazing! This was my light bulb moment this morning.
Rachel had picked out all of the turkey breast from the mix and ate that for dinner.
And I’m sure it was great. All that was left this morning was the nasty bits… and then it hit me. If i make an omelette out of this I can put it between some toast and put some hot peppers and mayo on it and it should be pretty good. Guess what it was awesome! And there is still some left so you can but that I’ll be having that for breakfast tomorrow as well.
As the day moved along today a few other things came to mind. A meat mixture jammed into a bread holder of sorts, then covered in sauces and vegetables sounds a lot like one of North Americas favourite street food. You can find it everyday on the week at busy intersections in major cities, and people are more than happy to fork over their hard earned money for the nasty bits. It you haven’t figured it out i’m talking about hot dogs.
Heres the funny part. I can not stand the thought of eating hotdogs that have the words ‘mechanically separated meat in the ingredients list. I mean there is probably heart, spleen and liver in there, but who knows what else.
For me, if my food was made with heart I want to be able to pick it out and point at it. Unless of course we are talking about the symbolic heart of the person who made it. In that case, I would like it to stay in their chest and out of my food, that way they will still be alive to make me some more food with heart!