Sunday, 14 December 2008

Bladderfish paste

We've had a tin of genuine foie gras sitting in the back of the pantry for some time now. It was a gift after some relatives visited Europe, and a good one, because I like the stuff.

I decided that it had been taking up space in the pantry for long enough tonight, which meant that it had to be eaten.

I've been putting off eating it, because even a small tin like this seemed too much for one person. J doesn't eat it, and it would be wasted on the kids. That meant waiting for another foie gras lover to come for dinner so that we could share it.

Well, so much for that idea.

The first challenge was getting into the damned tin. It had a key stuck to the bottom, but no obvious tab to unwind. I don't eat those horrible little tins of fish - tuna and salmon and that sort of thing - and any tins that I do buy require a can opener to open them up. Being presented with a key, no obvious tab and instructions in Hungarian meant that my dinner plans looked like by derailed before they'd even begun.

It only took me 10 minutes to work out that I had to rip off the paper wrapped around the tin. Actually, that wasn't really the case. I was about to attack it with a chisel and hammer, and thought that I'd get a better grip on the tin if I removed the paper wrapping.


The smell was the first thing that hit me. Over 20 years ago, we did a two week school excursion to Wittenoom, which involved living in the asbestos contaminated town for one week, and another week out in the bush living in tents, which involved visiting the asbestos mine (wearing nothing but boots, shorts and T-shirts). When out bush, we lived on what I have always thought of as "cat food" - tinned tuna and Spam, eaten on dry biscuits.

When you're out in the open air in northern WA, and the temperature is around 35 degrees, the tins of tuna that we carried in our backpacks were practically steaming when we opened them. I've never been a fan of that stuff, but the flies certainly were. As soon as the can opener made a big enough hole in the tin, a swarm of flies would descend and attempt to force their way into the tin. Eating it required one hand to shoo flies and the other to stuff it into the mouth quickly before any flies got in as well. No one chewed their food with their mouth open up there.

I took one look at that fly covered cat food, and have never been able to eat tined fish again.

I got a whiff of the same smell when I opened the foie gras. I don't know what it is about canning meat, but it really does impart the most horrible of properties to it.

I managed to get past the smell, and spread a bit on some toast.

It was good. Not great, but good.

Certainly good enough for me to polish off the entire tin in no time flat.

But is it worth going to Hungary to buy tins of foie gras for transport back to Australia? Only if you are incredibly desperate. If you ask me, it reminds me most of a tin of bladderfish paste.

You'll need to watch a lot of Red Dwarf to appreciate that last comment.

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