Monday, 27 January 2020

Spiced Camel for Epicureans

Pastourma....
Spicy slices of cured camel.  Does that tickle your taste buds?
There is a shop in central Athens  whose pastourma is of the highest quality.  It is not always made from camel but more often  beef or water buffalo.  The camel variety is sold for 97 euros a kilo.  We were given, or gifted as they say nowadays, a few slices, not even 100 grams.  This finest meat is cut so thin you can see daylight through it's lacy slicing.  Each slice is separated and protected with it's own slice of waxed paper.  

This was kept by our ardent traditional person to serve only to those who would appreciate it with a shot (or 2) of the best local  fire water or some of his precious ouzo from a bottle found only in  select duty free, so he says. 

Every Christmas it is now his tradition to make a pie from the cheaper beef pastourma, a pie made with phyllo pastry, slices of pastourma, slices of a mild greek cheese called kaseri and fresh tomato.   

We have a few pieces now in the fridge waiting for a meeting of  epicureans, those who desire the sensual enjoyment that comes from fine food and wine.  Fine food they may find in our house, however I'm not at all sure about fine wine.  Fine wine does not usually come from a plastic bottle.

Our Epicureans also relish soudzouki, a dried spicy sausage cut into slices and fried, or kopanisti, a soft, very salty and stinky cheese brought to us by a friend from the island of Andros.  I see on the web this cheese is described as greek roquefort.  I would dispute that.  I eat and enjoy roquefort, this stuff is downright offensive.  But then I avoid ouzo and raki too.  Strong spirits need strong tastes to wash them down.

Give them a bowl of salty, tangy olives and some cured fish and they will reminisce for hours about the mezes they have eaten and the wine they have drunk.   An epicurean is happy when there is  balance between  alcohol, basic traditonal food and company that debates, discusses and philosphises.  Alcohol loosens their tongues, food fills their bellies and their company fills their day.

One friend will call another, one will proudly bring a bowl of pigs foot or pickled sardines or just some fresh boiled greens picked that day from the fields, something for all the company to enjoy.  There will be the wine from their neighbours vines or tsipouro (a very strong alcohol distiled from the remnants of the wine press) from some small village in the mountains.  The company gathers and these sessions will continue till dawn or at least till the last has staggered out the door because he must work in a few hours time.

This is the greek male way, and ever more shall be so.



*epicurean 
1. a student of the greek philosopher Epicouros. 

Wikipedia
For Epicurus the purpose of philosophy was to help people attain a happy, tranquil life characterised by peace, freedom from fear and absence of pain.  He advocated that people were best able to pursue philosophy by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends.

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19 comments:

  1. Strong meat indeed, as some may say.
    I think I'll leave it to those who appreciate it best!

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    1. A little goes a long way. Lots of spices so you don't realise what you're eating.

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  2. I think I would try the beef or even water buffalo, camel, not too sure about that!!!

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    1. Camel wouldn't be your first choice unless you lived in the land of camels. I wonder if it is on show in the butcher's shop along with beef and chicken. Not something you read about in recipe books

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  3. How I would love to join you for a sample of such wonderful hospitality, but I can't help thinking it must have been a huge culture shock for you when you first arrived in Greece.

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    1. It was a culture shop. I was describing to my daughter the other day what the old family house was like when I arrived. Primitive!!
      Might just try and write about that!

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  4. Replies
    1. I-love-it!!!!!!

      That there are places, which still allow men, to have their own kind of celebration.

      Places where no one is allowed to say... "All those older white men are horrible and trouble and etc."

      You know them...? All those *Woke* women, who spout this garbage. -evil grin-

      Glad they have not spread it, to your Island.

      ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’–

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  5. But would gladly leave it to the men!!!!!!!
    -grinnn-

    ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’–

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  6. I will normally give things a go
    I’m not into strong tasting food so I guess a small taste and then happily letting others enjoy it

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    1. Good girl!! I usually try odd food stuff ... Depends often on the smell, and whether it has eyes staring at me!!

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  7. Sounds a bit like here, but with different products. Personally I'm always ready to sample new and exotic foods, but often I find them disappointing. Too much hype.

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    1. This is tasty but you don't need to eat much. It's best being thinly sliced. A small piece and a sip of something alcoholic is quite nice

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  8. What a wonderful way to enjoy what there is.

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    1. They enjoy themselves that's for sure...as men do everywhere

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  9. Funny you mention Camel, it's not sold here in NZ but I did see a documentary on youtube last week about a news correspondent who travels around the world filming other cultures and one ethnic group in the Sudan did farm Camels and sometimes eat them, it's just what they do I guess.

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    1. When you've got a farm of camels I bet you'd eat them. Probably needs a lot of cooking!!
      This meat has so many spices you can't tell what it really tastes like

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