Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I just love my cow skin well cooked

Ok, I do dig my own grave alot of times. Like when I ask my readers to suggest blog projects, as I did in the post below. This time a loyal reader, and lovely blogger, Nana Yaw, suggested I'd blog about Ghanaian food. For a whole week! Awurade, boa me.
Let's see what I can do. I can't let Nana Yaw down.

Ghanaian food no. 1.
Wele. That is, in English words, cow hide (skin).
Mmm. Yummy. Or?
I have never seen the joy of eating cow hide. But Ghanaians, they just love this curled, chewy thing. I had to do some research beyond my own head for this, and found much information on GhanaWeb. A whole article actually.  

"Some “Wele” are hard and others soft, however it is a common delicacy in almost every meal-particularly cooked rice, “wakye”, ground-nut and palm nut soup." 

Soft? Hard? Chewy is more like it.

“Lots of Ghanaians consume “Wele” because they see it as fun when chewing it"
Oh, how fun to chew on a piece of skin that you can never bite through. Mmm. Ok, so I'm not wele's best friend.

Here is worst case scenario for me, and wele. I am in Ghana, someone has gone to buy rice, or waakye for me from a street vender. Waakye is rice and beans cooked together, will go further into it's phenomenon on a later stage. Back to the meal awaiting. I have asked the buyer to get some MEAT with the food, not fish. When you buy rice or waakye or something from the street in Ghana, there is always several protein sources to choose from. You get your rice, your sauce, and then pick: an egg, fried fish, fried meat, salad, pasta, beans, gari (one day...), and..... WELE. I would ask for fried meat. I get my food in a bag, opens, put in a plate, digs out the meat and... OH NOOOO! The highlight of the meal is the meat. Imagine my disappointment when I find WELE. A curled up, chewy, light brown, hairy?, piece of cow skin. You can't chew it a) because it's chewy b) because the thought of what it is is ewwwie..

I say: "But... I asked for meat."
Ghanaian friend/husband etc: "It is meat. It is wele!" Followed by a big grin, and watery teeth, looking at the wele in my plate.
An alternative answer could be: They didn't have meat.

And you think WELE is a good subsitute? You might as well give me a plate full of lizard tails. (Maybe that's good?)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging Ghanaians for enjoying their wele, hell no, I am in awe of their ability to enjoy the WHOLE part of every animal, how they find fish bones as good as the fish itself, chicken bones, WELE etc. It's just me. And the texture of the food, more than the taste. I eat animal skin. Our Norwegian traditional Christmas dinner is all about getting the skin of the pork crispy. But that's the keyword. Crispy. Not chewy.

That's it. All I can say about wele. Appearently, according to GhanaWeb, it's cancerous cos of the way it's being processed. Finally I have a better excuse not to like this lovely delicacy.

Picture and info borrowed from GhanaWeb.


Laura said...

Chew the bones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aww, Whoopie :)

Anonymous said...

What a post, next time write what you know better instead of imagining or making stuff up