Clearly it was a mistake. Not even the "Get Q to Eat Steak by 2010" project, which delivered on its mission ahead of schedule, could have predicted such voracious carnivory as this.
We had a day off school yesterday and as I have a major assignment due next week, I turned down all interesting offers in order to stay in Parma and be a good student. I decided to take some of my readings to a lovely cafe I've ridden past several times and wanted very much to try.
I have days when the Italian language is my best friend and days when it buggers off to hang out with someone else. Today was the latter. After a rather stressful visit to the post office I was struggling to form the most basic of sentences and the locals could have been speaking in tongues for all I understood. There was no menu to peruse so I pointed to the table next to me where two women were eating something from a bowl that looked delicious. The proprietor kept repeating a question and looking at me earnestly to which I could only respond with shrugs and smiles and "si, si, grazie".
Alas, next to those women, with his back obstructing a view of his meal, was a man eating raw horse. That's what the waiter brought me. A red glistening hamburger shaped sphere of raw minced horse meat, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and served with diced fennel, peas, tomatoes and lettuce. That's when I recognised the word "Cavallo" that the proprietor kept repeating when he took my order. He was probably saying "Are you sure you want to eat raw horse served with vegetables?". What I heard was "wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah vegetables?"
"Si, si, grazie"
Even if I had the language skills to send it back, I couldn't bear it. It was too embarrassing. So there was nothing to do but tuck in.
And it was delicious. Really delicious. It had the smooth consistency of a fresh cheese with a mild flavour, tasting more of lemon and olive oil than red meat. The fennel gave it some crunch, the peas some sweetness and the tomatoes a tangy kick. I finished the entire plate and I will go back for more. Next time the mortification factor will be much lower so hopefully I'll remember to take a photo.