Wednesday, March 29, 2006

of bacon and beef steaks

During our Close of Service Conference, we had a goodbye party at our director's, Kris Besch's, apartment, and as a sort of parting gift, she gave us a choice between cheddar tortilla chips or bacon. I chose the bacon. Now to truly appreciate the bacon, you have to realize that the closest thing that people in Kazakhstan have to bacon is something called sahla, which is basically big chunks of smoked pork fat. It was difficult to explain that Americans have a severe aversion to fat, and that the best bacon has as little fat as possible. It was even more difficult to explain what Americans do with the fat that they apparently cut off of the bacon. I really just don't know. They have a word bekon, which is the same as sahla, from most Kazakhstani's reckoning, but I've discovered that they don't really know what bacon is. In fact, any thing having to do with meat is general and muddled. There is no such thing as a good cut of beef - there is beef. There is no such thing as a pork chop - there is pork. There is no such thing as a chicken breast, or leg, or thigh - there are butchered chunks of chicken meat and shards of bone. British and American butchers - I assume from the apprentice system popular in Britain in the 16th-20th centuries - have perfected the cut of beef, best exemplified by the colorful language that we use, simply for names of different steaks: T-bone, New York Strip, Rib-eye. In Russian, they have a borrowed word beefshteks, to represent, as far as I can tell, anything from a hamburger to a cubesteak. There are no sirloins, no rib-eyes, no filet mignon. It's sad.

5 Comments:

At 4/18/2006 06:30:00 PM, Blogger bekah said...

The saddest part about this is how wonderful and tasty meat is. Man, you have really been missing out, Dan. I think a trip to Texas Roadhouse, or even Kobe steaks is in order when you get home. Just watch out for the "returner 15". Yeah, you know what I'm talkin' about...coined the phrase myself. those 15 pounds are just hanging around waiting to latch on to your hips and tummy when you get home and induldge in all of the foods you've been pining for over in Kaz.

 
At 4/21/2006 03:05:00 AM, Blogger KazAch said...

Pounds don't latch onto my hips, girl...Anyway, I hopefully won't revert to my American tendencies of overindulgence. I really splurged last summer, and found the lost 15, but not again. Can you say, "Doggy Bag?"

 
At 5/01/2006 07:58:00 PM, Blogger bekah said...

Oh.....I guess it was my hips I was thinking of.....my bad. Yes, the doggy bag has become my friend, too. Especially since I have been exercising more, I just can't eat as much, and that's a good thing.

 
At 5/06/2006 02:20:00 AM, Blogger KazAch said...

Girl, I remember your fridge! How many doggy bags do you tuck away in there? You had enough food the last time I visited to make Bella into a Great Dane. I'm particularly worried about the Mexican experience. I'll get full on chips and then explode from beans and rice. But it will be an enjoyable death.

 
At 5/06/2006 02:21:00 AM, Blogger KazAch said...

Girl, I remember your fridge! How many doggy bags do you tuck away in there? You had enough food the last time I visited to make Bella into a Great Dane. I'm particularly worried about the Mexican experience. I'll get full on chips and then explode from beans and rice. But it will be an enjoyable death.

 

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