Minnesota Transplant tried something new today: Pho.
What is pho? A Midwesterner of Scandinavian and German descent might describe it as beef noodle soup. Only the beef includes parts like tripe (that’s stomach to those of you who aren’t conversant in Middle English) and tendons, the noodles are made of rice and instead of carrots and celery for vegetables, pho offers basil and bean sprouts.
Pho is a Vietnamese dish, and I enjoyed a bowl for supper at Pho Ha in Glendale Heights.
I like to fancy myself as an adventurous eater — I eat sushi! — but who’s kidding who here? After watching tonight’s episode of “Survivor” featuring the food-eating challenge that included half-formed duck embryos and pig’s brain, eating quinoa and knowing what a caper is does not make me adventurous.
My pho was flavorful — I was reminded how much better real broth tastes versus the reconstituted stuff — but I ate around the tripe and tendons. Too chewy for my taste (it reminded me of a bowl of menudo I tried while in south Texas earlier this winter — I couldn’t stomach the stomach then either). Our waiter informed us we could request those items be omitted in the future.
I’m sort of disgusted. With myself. I realized I’m like so many other contemporary Americans who are most comfortable being far removed from the source of their food. Seeing body parts in one’s soup, rather than having them generically ground into a preformed patty, covered with cheese and served between slices of highly processed wheat, jolts one back to the reality of the dish.
So while I didn’t particularly like my pho, it did remind me that I was consuming the body of another once living and breathing being, and I ought to be thankful for its sacrifice to nourish me.
Let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.