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Friday, 28 October 2011

Horse Sausage, Duck Feet, Hog Leg, and Paprika

Howdy There!

Today I went back to Central Market. It's a little touristy compared to my local Hunyadi ter market, but I love it because despite the tourists, there's always something to see. The market near my house is cool for down and dirty shopping, and it's actually my favorite, but there's something about the spectacle of Central Market that just can't be beat.

Central Market is on the Danube's edge, near the Szabodsag bridge. It's a huge painted-brick building with gabled roofs and enough architectural detailing to be a school or a library or some other important civic building, but then again, isn't a market an important civic building? In this age of Wal Marts and 24-hour Harris Teeters, when buildings are made of saw dust and plywood and slapped up over night, we know in the back of our minds how important grocery stores, or markets are, but it's easy not to think about how important it might be to create a market space of some permanence, stability, and beauty, in our throw-away society.

Central Market Hall Budapest

Porch of Central Market Hall

Architectural Details of Porch Ceiling at Central Market Hall

One Place in Budapest you really CAN'T Smoke---And There are So Few
It's bustling inside with tourists and regular shoppers, and when you enter, one of the first things you notice, after all the people, is Hungarian goods for sale, like Tokaji and the goose liver pate.

Inside Central Market 
Hungarian Goods
Hungarians love goose liver, and goose liver pate is everywhere. In fact, I'd like to look up some statistics because I wouldn't be surprised if they eat more than the French. Certainly when I was in France I wasn't confronted with it at every turn like I seem to be in Budapest. Restaurants here inevitably have several goose liver dishes on the menu, and some restaurants even have entire menus devoted to goose liver.

Goose Liver 
Goose Liver Pate
The other thing that you can't fail to notice is the peppers and the paprika. There are peppers and paprika everywhere.

Peppers Peppers Everywhere Peppers

Don't those people look like they are thinking, "God, what a lot of peppers!"?

On this particular visit I saw some most unusual things, which I had not noticed on my previous visits. And I noticed plenty on my first few visits. Allow me to elaborate. Once again, this post touches on nasty things like animal parts. Dead animal parts. Vegetarians and animal rights activists may want to steer clear!

Sweet and Clean

The other day Caroline emailed me to tell me that she was watching Bizarre Foods and they were at Central Market in Budapest eating horse sausage. And that it was supposed to taste sweet and clean. Hmmm. Here are my feelings. I realize we eat pigs and cows and they are animals, but there is something about eating a horse that just seems especially cruel outside of wartime starvation. The Magyars were and are great horsemen, and one has to wonder, what kind of Hungarian eats a horse, and what kind of horse do they eat? My answer would have to be a bad Hungarian and an old yucky horse. One that served his master well and should have been retired to a quiet stable somewhere, not to a Central Market stall.  :)

There is a stall that sells horse sausage, but it's not very prevalent. My guess is that it won't remain there long. I see no need to dwell too long on the thought of consuming horse flesh, especially when there is so much pork to be had.

And there is plenty of pig meat to take it's place, trust me. Just to prove I'm not pulling your leg. . .


Plenty of Sausages to Go Around 
Plenty of Smoked Meat Too
Duck Feet

One thing I was searching for was a liba, or a goose. I had this idea that I would prepare goose for Thanksgiving, in the European style, since they don't eat a lot of turkey, and often eat goose on holidays (even though they don't celebrate American Thanksgiving). The smell that wafted over me as I looked upon the foul case of fowl convinced me I might want to strengthen my olfactory nerves before attempting to deal with a raw liba. Here is the liba and kasca.

Liba es Kasca
Here is something I saw in the duck and goose stall. It's feet. What, pray tell, does a person do with these rubbery webbed things? After they remove the mud, or is it algae?

Webbed
The link between reptile and bird is pretty apparent in this shot, huh? This reminds me of those chickens I have to periodically behead when I want to make soup. I have actually gotten more used to whacking off their heads than I have to pulling the feet out of the butt. There is just something about those three inch-long toenails I just can't abide. Some of these look like they would make good back scratchers!

Nuggets

All joking aside, the next stall I came to, which I had not heretofore noticed, was what I have aptly named the Nugget Stall. I kid you not when I say this stall sold every possible form and variety of breaded, frozen nuggets, from chicken fingers, to chicken nuggets, to vegetable sticks; from onion rings, to cheese sticks, to fish sticks, crab balls, "lobster claws" (as they call them at China 35), and everything in between. This is probably where McDonald's buys theirs.

Nuggets!

More Nuggets

Still More Nuggets
Can you see the ones that are in little fish shapes? I just stood and stared. And then I took a lot of pictures.

Hog Leg AKA Haunch

This next stall really grabbed me. Jimmy and I jokingly call our cat Amy "Haunch" sometimes when we tease her. We tell her she's got a big fat hog leg, and she's so chubby we could cook her hind leg up and eat it. Well, this creature's FOOT is bigger than my entire cat.

First, my cat. Here's old Haunch herself laying in front of the space heater in the sunshine.

Old Haunch Herself
Here is her namesake.


And They Call That a Foot?

The damage that could be inflicted by that toenail? cloven hoof? alone is frightening to contemplate. I'll stick with old Haunch. All she can do is scratch my knuckle.

That's it for this last trip to Central Market, but I plan to do a lot of Christmas shopping there, so stay-tuned. Maybe next time I'll take my camera downstairs where they keep the 5 foot long catfish they scoop out of the Danube!

Szia!

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