Florence “Fear Factor” Foodie Finds

Ciao Readers! (So how’s that title for alliteration!)

What, more about food, you might ask?  Well, would you rather hear more about food, or another trip to the post office?  I thought so…

Now that we’ve been here going on 2 months (time flies), we are “in the know” about some of the great foodie spots (in addition to all the gelaterias, of course).  However, we are not quite ready to embark into some of the more “interesting” cuisines.  Detailed are a few of the adventures we have yet to undertake (warning – readers with highly sensitive food sensibilities [i.e. an aversion to eyeballs] should probably avoid clicking on the photo gallery).  Here is a “taste” of some interesting foodstuffs:

Tripe stands – This is definitely one place where my cultural comfort zone has gotten the best of me (even though there are many tripe-based foods in New Mexico).  There are these little food carts throughout town (pictured below) – and the most delicious meat smell emanates from them (and they are always super crowded).  The first few times we walked by one I was planning on trying whatever it was they were serving – until we discovered they serve tripe (and only tripe – specifically stewed with herbs and tomatoes and served with/on bread) (some raw tripe also pictured below).  I just have a bad picture in my head (and gut) at the thought of eating intestines (I can remember Anthony Bourdain describing the flavor of improperly washed ones…or was that Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre Foods”?).  But they smell so good….  I am thinking that in a few months I will put aside my fear and taste away…but then again, maybe not.

Rabbit – “Coniglio” is pretty much a staple here on menus, as well as at the Rosticerria downstairs and in the grocery stores (pictured below, with face – ack!).  While it may not be that fear factor-y to you, since I had a pet rabbit as a kid (“Bucky”), the thought of eating one is totally verboten to me.  However, I can’t say with 100%  certainty that I haven’t already accidentally eaten some – gasp!  The first time I ate at a buffet I specifically pointed and asked “coniglio?” to make sure there wasn’t any rabbit.  However, admittedly, I did not do this the last time we had the aperitivo buffet at Serafini and I did eat many meat stuffs that I assumed were chicken.  ‘Nough said.

There are other foods some might consider “bizarre” but seem fairly normal (and delicious) to me.  For example, the “crostini toscani” is toasted bread with a chicken-liver-based pâté spread – to Steve this is off-limits, but having grown up in New York where “chopped liver” was a deli staple, this is totally within my comfort zone (and yummy as well!).  From traveling to Japan and having lived in Puerto Rico, octopus is another food that I find fairly commonplace (and again, delicious!), but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (frozen grocery store octopi pictured below).   There are many other interesting things here that I am not quite up for, and which may or may not raise your own personal fear factor – like the cockscombs for sale at the COOP (I’ve gone back twice to get a photo for you and both times they’ve been sold out!), or just the fact they sell chickens with faces still attached (photo below).   I suppose what is and is not within anyone’s comfort zone is extremely dependent on upbringing, culture, travel experiences, and adventurousness.  We’ll see how far outside my zone I allow this adventure to take me!

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