Do you love sausage? Of course there are many kinds of sausages, different varieties the world over. And what does that have to do with getting pregnant, you ask? Well, read on:
Last month in France I took this photo of a market stall loaded up with saucisses. Clearly the French have a thing for them, as well as for all sorts of cured and potted meats. Seeing this display brought to mind a special kind of sausage I was given in Kenya, years ago. I remember it very well as I was not charmed by that particular gift at that particular time. Here’s my African sausage tale (an edited version of an earlier post):
Have you ever eaten goat meat? Being a lucky person, I’ve eaten goat meat (chevon, if you want to be sophisticated about it) in several countries, prepared in various ways – roasted whole over a pit fire, made into a curry, cooked on bamboo sticks over a charcoal burner, and in West African groundnut soup, to mention a few.
My most memorable goat-meat experience took place in Kenya, East Africa, the country where I was married in a bizarre 10-minute ceremony. My Peace Corps volunteer husband worked with Kikuyu farmers who often made him presents of fresh peas, passion fruit and other produce, all consumed by us with appetite and appreciation.
One night my mate came home bearing a gigantic blood sausage crafted from goat odds and ends, presented to him as a gift by a Kikuyu farmer who was concerned about my failure to produce a mtoto after an entire year of marriage. The sausage, then, was a fertility sausage.
The photo below shows the much-loved Kenyan goat sausage called mutura. It’s a modest cousin to the giant specimen I was confronted with.
Mutura. Photo credit Mark Wiens. (Click on photo for more Kenyan food)
I examined the sausage respectfully, listening carefully to my mate who had witnessed its preparation. Let me not dwell on his colorful description; suffice it to say that the sausage looked like the ancestral mother of all sausages. The thought of its possessing magical powers did not seem at all outrageous. We were in Africa, after all. Stuff happens there.
“Do I have to eat this?” I asked.
“Yes,” said my mate. “He’ll expect a report and I am an honest man.” Which he is.
“We can share,” I said hopefully.
He took a step backward. “This is meant to help women conceive. I’m not touching this thing.”
I contemplated the sausage. “What if it works?”
“It will be a miracle.”
“It will be a disaster.”
He gave me a pleading look. “Be a sport and have some.”
I was a sport and had some.
I chewed. I tasted. I swallowed.
I hate to disappoint you, but it tasted fine, sort of what you’d expect goat sausage to taste like: strong and flavorful with a hint of potent.
And for you who are wondering: Yes, I did get pregnant.
But it wasn’t until three years later, on another continent, just as we had planned.
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What strange foods have you had the courage to try? Any special powers attached to them? Were you ever in a situation where you could not refuse to eat something without seriously insulting your host? Please entertain me!