on the road, day 5: genéve to grenoble, france.

Whew. Finally an internet connection AND more than 15 minutes to use it. We are in stunningly beautiful Grenoble at the moment, playing in a rather unbeautiful venue that looks like it should be hosting a high school talent show. Everyone is quite beat up as the result of a very late night in Geneva and so it will be interesting to see how the evening progresses.

We seem to playing two kinds of places on this tour: the fun shows have been homey squats with very little support personnel, just two to three people working very very hard, also featuring home-cooked meals (fresh-baked brioche this morning!); the less fun shows have been at newish, sterile concrete boxes with more sound, tech, and hospitality people than there are musicians onstage. More on this when I get to post about the first few shows.

Anyway, today, thus far it seems to be the latter. On the positive side: I got to try andouillette today. Um...brace yourself, this is challenging food. In fact, if you're feeling queasy at all, I'd quit reading and come back when you feel stronger.

The thing is, in my initial France research, I'd read one sentence about it and knew that it sounded like something I'd end up eating...but the truth is, I probably should've read a little further. Here's Wikipedia's definition (edited):

Traditional andouillette is made from the colon and the stomach of pig. In modern times, contents vary and normally contain intestines of pig, cow and/or calf. It is not to be confused with andouille sausage, which is much spicier, but more mild in animal-derived smells.
French andouillette...is an acquired taste and can be an interesting challenge even for adventurous eaters. It is sometimes eaten cold, as in picnic baskets. Served cold and sliced thinly, the smell, taste, and texture may be mistaken for an andouille, but on closer inspection the texture is considerably more rubbery and the meat has a more animal-like flavor.
Many French eateries serve andouillette as a hot dish, and foreigners have been disgusted by the aroma, to the point where they find it inedible (see external links). While some find that hot andouillette smells of feces, food safety requires that all such matter is removed from the meat before cooking. Feces-like aroma can be attributed to the common use of the pig's colon (chitterlings) in this sausage, and stems from the same compounds that give feces some of its odors.
Here's the best part: I ate it at a gas station...their plat du jour was andouillette au poivre avec ratatouille. Ah, France.
The photo above is not mine, but that's what it looked like: very very coarse-grained sausage, chopped instead of ground. The smell? Not great. When we walked in to the grill area of the restaurant you smelled it immediately...you knew it was an awfully, offally familiar smell. I was hoping that the smell I was smelling was not the eating I was going to be eating for lunch. It was.

And the taste? OK. Edible. I could maybe see ordering another one for comparison's sake, but...let's just say I probably won't be making my own andouillette at home. I'm very glad I tasted it though.
UPDATE: My apologies to everyone at the venue, it was the best show yet: 450 enthusiastic people from from teens to grandmas having a great time (and buying plenty of merch). The crew was really friendly and totally competent, and the band was on fi-yaaaaaaaaaaaa (to be pronounced in David Lee Roth's devil falsetto). A very sweet couple who had been buying CDs on and off throughout the night (and who helped me recover from a drunk person's red-wine spill into one of the CD boxes) approached us after the show and said that they owned an Italian restaurant, and would we like to come for lunch the next day. Yes, we would! Report to follow.

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