Living Abroad: How (Not) to Get Pregnant

by Miss Footloose
French market stall
French sausages

French market stall. Sausages galore.

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):

Magic Sausage

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.

Oxfam Goats Kenya

My most memorable goat-meat experience

This event 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.

Mutura sausageMutura. Photo credit Mark Wiens | Flickr CC

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.

I took a deep breath . . .

“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.

* * *

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!

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As a former French, I did eat “boudin” when I was a kid. Then one day, I saw a “how it’s made” documentary about it… and never ate it again! Just the English name, “blood sausage”, is a bit more graphic than “boudin” πŸ˜† I live in a multicultural family (French, Canadian and Chinese) and I’m used to Chinee “delicacies” that can seem weird to Westerners, including rotten eggs or gooey treats such as coconut balls. I don’t mind. Hey, after all I eat “rotten” cheese! I’m more picky about strange meat. I wouldn’t eat liver, tongue, etc. A popular… Read more »

My neighbour walked past with a dead chicken just the other day…they breed rabbits for food too…and pigs. I’m hoping the pregnancy charms all stay away from me, everyone I know seems to be pregnant at the moment, been there done that already and am not willing to start again!

Talking about pregnancy, one day while visiting friends in the Portuguese countryside, our host insisted on killing a rabbit to make a stew. I’m not a great meat eater, but certainly don’t eat rabbit, as when I was young my grandmother kept chickens and rabbits and I refused to eat them. (I eat chicken now). She was sure I must be craving a lovely homemade stew, and even though I insisted with her not to bother making us lunch, she went ahead. I had to put one or two bits of stew in my mouth not to appear rude, luckily… Read more »

Oh I love goat – it’s one of my favourite meats. Never had a goat sausage though. Sadly they don’t seem to sell them in Tesco.

When I was an au pair in France, I ate horsemeat. I knew it was horsemeat, because we’d had a conversation about how the English don’t eat horsemeat. Then the next day, for dinner, we had “steak hache”, and the children were all excited, and kept asking me “how do you like this STEAK? Do you think it’s delicious?”. I felt I had to play along, pretended to enjoy the “steak” and then feigned horror when I found out that it was horse.

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