I saw a wonderful film a few years back called The Story of a Weeping Camel, which was all about a baby camel rejected by his mother. And this morning I was reminded of it when I visited the live animal market in Doha where I saw a baby camel that had just been orphaned. As you can see from the short clip I took, he was crying for his dead mother. His keeper was doing his best to console him giving him his finger to suck on but it didn’t help much. Even the camel in the cage next to the baby’s enclosure was feeling his pain and was also crying. Perhaps they all cry.
Yesterday, I cooked two things I had never cooked before: a whole baby lamb and stuffed tripe (post coming up). If I’d wanted whole lambs in the past, I relied on Mohamed at Al Waha to provide them. And if I’d wanted stuffed tripe, there was my wonderful mother who never minded spending the time cleaning and stuffing both stomach and intestines whenever I visited. But my mother is far away and I wanted to roast my own lamb and stuff tripe, so, I took the plunge and prepared my own.
Most people don’t like dining in an empty restaurant. I love it. I love the desolate atmosphere of an empty dining room and I love the undivided attention I get from both waiters and chefs, at least in places like Qal’at al-Rumiyeh, my favourite restaurant in the Lebanese mountains, near where my mother lives. Fortunately, the restaurant is not always empty. Only when I tend to go for midweek lunch when there isn’t a single soul there apart from the family that owns the restaurant, seated at their regular table by the door and my mother and I (I always insist we go there as soon as I arrive in Lebanon), not counting the waiters milling about with nothing to do. I don’t particularly like the place which is huge and pretty charmless, but I love the dramatic views over a deep valley and the Mediterranean in the distance and of course the excellent food.
I have appropriated this amazing picture and the one further down from a Russian blog post to which I have linked below. I would have liked to acknowledge the photographer but as I said, I don’t read Russian and can’t understand who to credit. Sorry.
Anissa: It has been a very long time since Charles Perry did a guest post here. He’s been ‘unusually busy’ (his words). Still, he has just sent me this very interesting post on eating horse meat. We didn’t have pictures which is not surprising. Charles lives in LA and I in London with no boucherie chevaline anywhere to be seen. Fortunately, I have the most wonderful friend, Victoria, who found me this Russian blog post where they show the whole process, from catching the horse, to killing it, butchering it and finally preparing the meat and sausages. The photos are pretty amazing. I assume they were done by a professional photographer or a very good amateur one. I can’t tell as I don’t understand Russian and google translate wouldn’t translate the page for me. It just went to another page. Anyhow, here is Charles’ fascinating post together with a recipe that calls for smoked horse meat sausage! I actually tasted it once, thanks to Bob Chenciner who has strong connections in Daghestan and who has written about it. He had some at home one day I was visiting and he gave me a taste. It was strong and fatty but very tasty and it may have been the karta Charles mentions below. Must check with him.