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Offal corner

In Musings and Amusings on November 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

One of the drudgeries of expat wifedom is shopping. I can hear you sighing with sympathy. But really, it’s not like popping to Sainsburys:  You can’t go to one shop for one kind of thing (like a supermarket for your weekly groceries), you have to work out which shop sells which thing and even that’s not foolproof ; if a shop has something one week it’s likely to be gone the next and they won’t restock it for weeks, if at all.  You can end up visiting 4 shops in one day looking for something that you previously considered ubiquitous, like shoe polish. Obviously that’s a waste of time, so following the old adage, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, I’m working on systems for shopping efficiency: Today was my meat shopping day, assisted by my trusty driver Raj.

I not really convinced by the meat I’ve seen in Gurgaon. I’ve tried home delivery but I’ve written off one supplier because the meat was distinctly suspect last time and I haven’t been able to get through to the other supplier on the telephone. For my birthday party we bought meat from INA market in Delhi which I though was a success so I went back there today. The plan was to buy enough meat for about a month. The shopping list was; chicken mince, diced chicken, lamb mince, diced lamb, pork mince and beef mince.

INA’s a great market, it’s a bit mad with chickens waiting serenely for slaughter (amazingly) and butchers cutting meat up with their feet, but what market isn’t, and importantly it’s clean. It’s a bit like Brixton market except INA is about as upmarket as you are going to get in India and I don’t think anyone would call Brixton “upmarket”.

So back to the shopping  – chicken – sorted. Lamb is mutton but mutton is goat (apparently mutton means goat as well as sheep (?)). Anyway all fine there. You can’t get minced pork at INA only diced (so where did I get the last lot of pork mince from – who knows!). Anyway that was fine too. You can’t buy pork and beef from the same market (or maybe you just can’t buy beef) so we had to go somewhere else for that, although beef is actually buffalo. Again all fine.

Before we left to get the buffalo we bought a couple of goat heads for my housekeeper (yes the heads of 2 goats). Oh my, oh my … journey to offal corner … what a challenge.  The goat’s heads themselves were a bit grim; blackened and wizened; but nothing I couldn’t handle. While I was waiting for the butcher to chop them up I realised that all the shops around me where also selling offal and displaying it like Selfridges. A bunch of oesophaguses in one shop and testicles in the next – not sights I’m used to – oh well. Of course nothing’s done quickly in India so I was still there 10 minutes later, trying hard not to look at it all because I was beginning to spin. Raj whisked me back to the car just in time, via the off licence, which is always a boon.

So 8kg heavier and about £20 lighter we were done. It took over 2 hours (not including about 45 mins to get there and back). However the meat’s ‘done’ for this month and I managed to pick up a tin of shoe polish as well. All in all that was a success.

I have to admit that the person dividing all that meat into 2 person portions, popping in into Tupperware and freezing it is not me – it’s my housekeeper Swapna. She’ll cook most of it too. So I may have to admit that it’s not such a hard life after all. But I do miss Sainsburys!


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