Saturday, 27 August 2011

Up My Nose

Like most mammals, I think I possess a rather sensitive olfactory functionality, in other words I pick up smells quite easily.

And if you watch "Animal Planet" you'll learn that mammals use this capability to hunt or to hide.

As for me my instinct is for flight rather than fight.

Hence I am one of those breed of humans, probably rare, who is not an animal lover - not cat nor dog or chicken or duck or horse or worse... cow.

I am not one to mess with other mammalian species.  I do not aggravate them or pet them, neither do I hate them - I just leave them well alone.

Chiefly because of their distinctive odours. Cows especially.

I'm not saying I do not drink their milk or eat their meat. In fact I enjoy creamy and beefy foods.

But many decades ago while living temporarily on an English farm during my practical year, I woke up every morning to the wondrous aroma of fresh countryside air - laced with more than the occasional whiffs of Mabel's or Clarabelles's or Daisibelles's farmyard offerrings (yes they had names and I cannot recall the other 20 or so).   You can say I was a tad overdosed.

Twenty years on the memories returned when we checked in our pilot son at the sekolah asrama penuh in Kuala Pilah. The narrow road leading to the school was scattered with green splatter whose odour hung stubbornly in the air that I wondered about the degree of bovineness the kids will smell of after five years there. Well I shouldn't have worried, when mingled with teen sweat they had probably cancelled one another out.

Anyway it's just odours of animal origin that I'm sensitive to. And also aerosol-based pesticides.

I'm OK with strong-smelling foods though like durian, cheeses, petai, korean kimchi, goat meat, tempeh, belacan. I do consume them as well, not with extreme gusto like hubby but I partake of them a little at a time.

Yes hubby has quite an affinity for such foods (except for tempoyak, due to a bad experience which is not fit for publishing).

And this Ramadhan he had cravings for beef tripe! Not for him to buy the pre-processed, white and cleaned ones which he says is tasteless. He has on three occasions so far brought home the original straight-from-the-cow tripe. Needless to say, that triggered long-forgotten memories of Mabel, Daisibelle and Clarabelle.

Fortunately hubby took on the task of brushing those sheets of stomach whatchamacallems with lime bleach before I turned them into masak lemak perut.

You have to boil the darned things first before cooking and throw away the water. I tell you the house smells like a barn each time and once I caught the neighbour's maid looking our way disapprovingly or could it be nostalgically, she's Javanese anyway and where she comes from cow tripe is a relish I was told.

Yikes!!! It says here you have to boil it and replace the water at least 6 times before the odour goes away. I did it only once but for an hour or more, thinking that might really kill any bacteria.

Nonetheless, on those occasions hubby wolfed down the finished product, surviving without any untoward after-effects.

Sheesh... now that I know, I'd have to process those sheets at least 6 times next time he brings home tripe.

And even how many times for that matter, I'm sure my olfactories will still not be desensitised.

But I have been conditioned not to take flight though.


Oldstock said...

I don't have any particular fondness for tripe (because I think it is tasteless), but I'll have them other cow innards anytime... especially liver and kidneys.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Zen,
I think it's a Jalan Kebun thing, must be fresh from the cow. My Pak Long does the same thing and he'll spend a whole day in the backyard scraping and boiling whatchamawecallit. Poor you. Dad doesn't eat cow innards so Mama is spared. purrrr *giggles*

Lili said...

Kak Zen,

I love perut..and liver and kidneys....and...oh, the whole cow! hehehe

Zendra-Maria said...

Oldstock, you're right. For all that "aroma" in processing, clean tripe tastes bland so it takes on the taste of the sauce or gravy it's cooked in, and it makes up bulk for dishes like kerabu and sambal goreng jawa. In hard times of old, it had probably help make human stomachs full :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Cats, LOL!!! I love the way you put it re the "Jalan Kebun thing"... waste not want not hehehe
Your Pak Long is THE original kebun man!

Zendra-Maria said...

Lili, are you sure the whole cow? ..ahem.. the torpedo as well?


Red Alfa said...

Actually sayang dear, you should not have drained the water the tripe was cooked in. And you had the water drained 6 times, didn't you? :-O

No wonder the taste of the perut you had cooked has become bland and not quite to what my old lady had it cooked to lemak perut tastiness! :-b

Next time do please cook the perut to almost boil off then add water to another boil off and another until the perut becomes tender. :)

I cleaned the perut with alkaline limewater (it's Calcium Hydroxide solution to most of us)and had all the green/brown/black stuff and parts scraped off. :-0

The continous boiling off in the cooking would kill off the germs, etc including any lingering smell. That I can GUARANTEE! But because no water is to be drained away the taste will be retained. This is not Jalan Kebun but the Jalan Imbi in the 60's secret :))

goodaspirin said...

For 1 second it feels like the little girl from the Prairie has all grown up :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Abg RA, your method seems ideal to extract the pure essence of perut *eeewwhhh*

Zendra-Maria said...

goodaspirin... for a moment I thought farmeress Parker had come a-calling :)

masterwordsmith said...

What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing!

Have a nice day!


Al-Manar said...

I laugh to myself reading the various views on scents, smells, odours and all about the poor animals which have been slaughtered for human consumption. Everyday I have to tolerate herds of the living ones slowly moving along the road in front of my house heading towards the bushy areas in the area. Well, their owners allow them the freedom to feed themselves. In the afternoon I see the owners driving them home. In the process, having fed themselves into bulging bellies, they leave their whateveryoucallit on the road and sometimes right in front of our gate (with compliments!). At times I wish I owned a gun to shoot the owners, mind you, not the poor animals for their smelly whateveryoucallit.

Now, in my part of the world, we visit our Chinese friends’ houses on the day of their new year, happily enjoying the food which we know is hallal even without being labeled so, and of course certain of not seeing any traces of the short-legged animals. And on our Hari Raya, if we choose to have satay in our house, we have to make sure to have chicken satay apart from beef, in honour of our Indian friends. We all have our tastes and faiths and we just learn to tolerate.

Does anyone like to have chicken feet soup? I don't, not even the sight of it; but many of my friends just love it!

Nin said...

My mom makes the best err... tripe salad a.k.a. kerabu perut. But only rarely. Could be the hassle of boiling and washing multiple times that's putting her off.

Zendra-Maria said...

Dear Pakcik, like you I find chicken feet quite off-putting though I hear they make a real difference to chicken soup. I believe our gastronomic prejudices stem from the childhood brainwashing that we had been subjected to, but some of us are able to transcend that and develop a taste for unusual foods such as sushi, tempeh, kimchi etc. and some people remain bound to a life of dietic-unadventure...

Zendra-Maria said...

Nin, you HAVE to learn the art of washing tripe cos you MUST cook your mum's recipe to keep it going in the family...

Zendra-Maria said...

Hello masterwordsmith... thanks for dropping by. It has been a while yeah?