Thursday, May 14, 2009

When I Try to Act Cultural: A Story About Soup and Stupidity

So as my friends out there will attest, I am a pretty cosmopolitan guy; I speak Spanish fairly well, I know all kinds of facts about dozens of cultures and peoples, and I have many friends from all parts of the world.

However, this does not change the fact that I am a sheltered white boy from the 'burbs of Northern Virginia.

Not too long ago, I was driving around with a friend, looking for somewhere to eat. She wanted TGI Friday's. I wanted ethnic food. So after wasting a gallon and a half of gas, we ended up at some hole-in-the-wall Peruvian place in a crappy shopping center.

Upon walking in, my friend and I got a few stares from the waitstaff and the customers, all of whom were Latino. Yup, we were the idiot gringos who were going to embarass ourselves by trying to speak Spanish and acting like we knew a thing or two about the food we were going to be served.

Here's where the story gets good:

So the menu is mostly in Spanish, and I wasn't really hungry, so I just ordered a random soup. Five minutes later, our waitress came and put the stinkiest, strangest looking soup in front of me. It smelled like poo.

But I could not refuse it! I am Steven, the worldly, cultural kid who knows how to say hello in ten different languages! My hubris got the best of me, and I dipped my spoon into the soup and pulled up the rubberiest piece of chicken I had ever seen.

I had a few bites of the chicken, and boy was it bad. I didn't even want to know what the big rock-like thing in the middle of my soup was. We left the place and I thought to myself, "Boy, that was the worst chicken I had ever had in my life. Could it have been pork, perhaps?"

Well thanks to the miracle of the Internet I looked up the soup the next day and lo and behold, it was neither chicken or pork.

It was made from cow's stomach, and that big rock thing was a hoof.

World: 1 Steven: 0

The moral of this story: You can't change who you are, and I'm just a white boy from the 'burbs.

Alternate moral: Four years of Spanish do not qualify you as an expert on Latin food.

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