Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ohh that Smell...

I thought the 1977 song from Lynyrd Skynyrd would be the best title for this blog. Recently I went on a ski trip to Les Houches, France with my wife and some friends from the states. While I was there I tried to experience some French cuisine, but it mostly consisted of pizza, French fries (or fries as they are called there) and hamburgers.  On our last night, I decided to try some real French food.  The restaurant we went to didn't have a menu in English nor did the staff speak English (well, they spoke little English), but I thought we could manage.  In most cases, some of the things on the menu look very similar to English words.  Looking at the menu I decided to try "Andouillette a la moutarde". Not knowing what it was, I thought it was going to be some type of andouille sausage with mustard sauce.

It's amazing what a few extra letters can do to food.
Having lived in Louisiana, I knew exactly what andouille was.  I had it in gumbo, dirty rice and at some crawfish boils.  Louisiana is a state with French heritage, so I assumed that andouillette and andouille was the same.  I mean, it had a few extra letters on it but so did moutarde.  My first clue that this was a mistake was when the waitress came over to take our order.  I placed my order and she asked me "Do you know what that is?"  I said "Yes, its like a sausage with some mustard sauce on it, right?"  She smiled and said yes and left with our order.

This isn't the actual dish, but it looked very similar to this.
 When the food came out, everything looked good.  I cut into my meal and instantly realized I made a mistake.  Without taking a bite, I knew I was not going to be able to eat my meal.  To describe the smell, I'm going to use a phrase once used by my wife's cousin to describe the way Florida State was playing in a game they were loosing.  This thing smelt like "a bag of mashed up assholes".  I know that description is a bit graphic, but that is really the only way to describe the smell.  I turned my plate in an attempt to escape the smell and eat something else, when one of our dinner mates said "Can you turn that around?  That stuff stinks!"  I text one of my colleagues from work who is from France and she said "That stuff is made of death and intestines".

So what is this dish I ordered?

"Andouillette (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃dujɛt]) is a coarse-grained sausage made with pork (or occasionally veal), intestines or chitterlingspepperwine,onions, and seasonings. Tripe, which is the stomach lining of a cow, is sometimes an ingredient in the filler of an andouillette, but it is not the casing or the key to its manufacture. True andouillette will be an oblong tube. If made with the small intestine, it is a plump sausage generally about 25 mm in diameter but often it is much larger, possibly 7–10 cm in diameter, and stronger in scent when the colon is used. True andouillette is rarely seen outside France and has a strong, distinctive odor related to its intestinal origins and components. Although sometimes repellant to the uninitiated, this aspect of andouillette is prized by its devotees." - Wikipedia

To say it has a strong, distinctive odor is an understatement.  If you think I am exaggerating about this, I have found other blogs (The Grubworm and Things That Stink) that will back my description of  this item. One of the blogs was called "Andouillette or... The Dish of Death".  So when ordering food in another country, know that a few extra letters can change an entire meal.


  1. You could have used google to translate the menu....

    1. We didn't have cell phone service there. Just think of our cell phone service as only being good in (1) state. If you go into another country, you are roaming.