So that was what I said at dinner the other night, giving us all a good laugh. The conversation went something like this.
(All viewing the menu at Gauchos, a famous steakhouse in Yerevan)
“So, which appetizer shall we have? We can have meat, cold meat or hot meat.” Someone pointed out the menu. We all laughed. I looked at the options. Sure enough. Clear as day.
Meat. 1500 AMD
Cold Meat. 1500 AMD
Hot meat. 1500 AMD
I love the simplicity of it all. Back in the States, people would losetheirshit over this. How much meat? What kind? What does it really look like? How much sauce comes with it and what kind? What do you mean there’s no BBQ or A1? What do you mean it doesn’t come with anything?
I ordered first. “I’ll have the hot meat to start and then the three of us,” gesturing to the three girls at the table, “we’ll have the meat and steak platter for three to share.”
After she left the table I offered, “I haven’t turned down hot meat in 31 years. I’m not about to start tonight.” And then I remembered that I was going to try to think before I speak more.
Either way, it was a true statement. Of all varieties, I love hot meat, which you should know means spicy, not burn your mouth, hot. And it’s a good thing, too, because in Europe, especially Eastern, you have to love hot meat or you will die. Ok, not die but you will not like the street food, will not get to try all of the world’s delectable, meat-filled treats, and you will pay out of your ass eating at establishments that cater to picky people. Picky Americans. Bleh.
What I don’t think people who move here from the States remember sometimes is that the rest of the world does not have to adjust to us and our eating habits, which are just plain awful…WE have to adjust to the rest of the world. And in fact, it’s not so much adjusting, consider all the food is theirs in the first place. I tried to one time defend our produce or take-out or special cuisine and you know how far I got? McDonald’s. Case in point why I don’t try to defend my country that often. Sometimes (usually) I end up looking like an idiot. So. Forget about real sandwiches. Forget about to-go this and to-go that. There is no half sandwich/soup combo at Cosi. Au Bon Pain is not around every corner and there is no such thing as Panera.
Hot meat, however? It’s just around every corner.
And so I have learned to appreciate all that is foreign meat–and I don’t specify, because honestly, when eating abroad, you never can tell what the meat is, where it’s from, how long ago it was killed or who touched and how. Learning how to close your eyes and not evaluate the taste and texture too deeply has become a skill and a talent and I’m getting pretty good at it.
So, for all the meat pies, meat in pastry, burek, cevapcici, meat with cream sauce (insert obvious joke here), kebap (love.of.my.life), hot meat, cold meat, meat on a stick, vješalica, and meat in a pocket…Thank you, Europe. I heart you–you and your meat.