Sushi has caught on as a new fad lately - but even then, may times the shrimp in the roll has already been battered and fried, and you can choose rolls that are packed with fruit and veggies and pretend that you are really eating real sushi, when you aren't.
That's just how we Canadians are. We work and play safe. We eat 'safe', too.
So when my sister announced that we had been invited to her neighbor's for a Croatian treat she had whipped up for our last evening, I little thought it would be raw.
Or more specifically, raw beef. I like my raw beef to be lowing in a pasture, grazing on the hoof.
We were all seated when the dish was placed proudly in front of us. My sister smiled encouragement at me.
"You'll love it. It's called 'beef carpaccio'", she whispered.
"Beef -?" I whispered back.
"It's raw beef, sliced super-thin, drizzled with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and herbs," she hissed through her teeth. "It's delicious!"
Yeah, right. Now I was stuck grinning idiotically at my hostess, thinking there's nothing for it, old girl. Just try some and hope you don't gag and puke at the table.
I grabbed the utensils and dug in, thinking to take a moderate sample before going 'whole hog'. Or 'whole beef', for that matter.
But in my haste I grabbed a pile of slices that were hopelessly entwined with each other, and ended up taking a good third of the plate with my first scrape.
Great, I thought in a panic. Now I'm in for it.
Smiling, with my stomach in my throat, I hoped that everyone would just ignore me as I took my first bite.
Ha. Dream on.
Instead, knowing that this was my first go, being a 'raw beef virgin', so to speak, everyone turned to watch my fork move to my mouth like it was the first lunar landing in slow-mo.
I conquered - and reached for seconds. And thirds.
It was absolutely delicious...
I don't know why we don't eat raw beef here.
Maybe Croatian cattle are just happier than their Canadian brothers - look at where they live - and produce a better raw product.
All I know is that meat was pure paradise, a party for your mouth.
(Anyone know where I can find some raw beef?)