A year and a half ago, during a period of unemployment, I started this blog pretty much just to have something to do. What a hodge-podge it was—satire, recipes, philosophy—basically whatever struck my fancy. Then I went back to work and the blog, no longer having a gap to fill, went silent.
When we decided to move here to Cuenca I thought it would be fun to chronicle the what’s and why’s of our adventure, so eddsaid was resuscitated. Never could I have anticipated that five months later over 1000 people a week in 25 countries (4 in India?) would have any interest in the lives of a couple bumbling their way through a new life in Ecuador. Never.
From the title these musings are not the true subject of this entry, but I mention them as a lead-in to thanking so many of you for the online posts, emails, and even Skype messages supporting Cynthia and I during these recent difficult days. Please know that I have forwarded every kind word to my wife, and she is honestly overwhelmed by the love expressed by folks we in many cases have never met. Damn it, I’m getting teary-eyed writing this.
So let’s talk about those ribs I was looking forward to cooking the other day. I’m a Southern boy and barbeque, especially pork ribs, is important to me. Quite frankly, the ribs I’ve found here suck so bad I won’t even buy them. They’re these little bitty things that look like they were butchered from a cuy (for newer readers that’s guinea pig, a local delicacy).
If I could speak better Spanish I’d ask the butcher, “Where’s the rest of this hog? You hiding it in the back?” But “Where’s the of this you in the?,” my current competency level, doesn’t really get the message across very eloquently, so I have futilely scanned the meat department at the SuperMaxi for months.
Then I found a deli last week that had some awesome looking ribs and I bought a half rack on the spot. They were frozen but I didn’t care. I put them in the newly-relocated refrigerator to thaw and whipped up my favorite homemade barbeque sauce.
Overnight the ribs thawed and the sauce ingredients blended. It was time. I haven’t bought a grill yet, but oven ribs are acceptable in a pinch. So I pulled them out and was immediately puzzled by the limpness of what I was holding. I unwrapped the paper and found a slab of meat in the exact shape of a rack of ribs that had no ribs whatsoever.
Immediately my mind flashed (the synapses still fire rapidly enough to occasionally generate a flash) to the McRib sandwich from, yes, McDonald’s. Don’t say you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve had at least one. We all have. That’s why they keep bringing them back for “a limited time only.”
I’d always quietly wondered about McRib sandwiches because in spite of the name you're aware they have no ribs. Or even any McRibs. Since I speak English and McDonald’s is an American company my silence wasn’t due to language barriers like with the ribs here but simply that I didn’t know who to ask. What I’ve wanted to know is, “How did you do that?” We’ve made enormous strides with selective breeding and bioengineering , but it’s really hard to picture a pig trying to stand around, much less hold its organs in place, with no ribs. So I always assumed there was a machine that took a piece of pork and fashioned it into the shape of---------.
And yet-------. And yet, here I was in Cuenca holding in my own hand what appeared to be a slab of McRib non-ribs. I’m thinking, maybe this is where McDonald’s gets that meat. I mean, the “ribs” in the grocery store are pathetic. My rack of ??? has no bones. I could be on to something; some mad Nazi scientists escaped to Ecuador and------------.
Meanwhile back to reality. I’m standing in the kitchen grasping a limp chunk of pork. Only one course of action. Full speed ahead!!
So how did they/it turn out? I’m always gonna tell you the truth, and the truth is---OK at best. You know I love living here but in general the meat leaves a little (all right, sometimes a LOT) to be desired. I guess it’s the price we pay for not ingesting jacked-up, corn-fed, hormone-laden, over-medicated cows and pigs.
But---- my barbeque sauce rocked!