One of the advantages of living with a Frenchman and working with French people is that I have the opportunity to experience French culture in depth.
I have embraced wine-drinking, smelly-cheese-eating and foie-gras-eating as if I was born for it (and perhaps I was), but there are certain things here I will not eat and flatly refuse to even consider eating.
Tripe, brain, tongue, trotters, pig ears - anything like that is totally out of the question. I feel ill at the thought. Foie gras, as I mentioned before, is ok, although it took me a little while to get used to the idea. I do sometimes eat chicken or duck liver in salads, but that's it.
Mushrooms cannot come near me. I have always hated mushrooms - the mere smell of them makes me nauseous. Nary a mushroom shall pass my lips. Ever.
I also refuse to eat rabbit. Rabbits are pests where I come from. They are not native animals, and they destroy the environment. I don't care how well you say you've prepared it, I will not eat rabbit.
Last on the list is horse. Yes. Horse.
The mere thought of eating horse makes my stomach churn. At our local market, there is a butcher that exclusively sells horse. I avert my eyes as I walk past.
I was brought up to eat most things on my plate, and being in another country means trying things that I've never tried before, but I do have my limits. My in-laws have gotten the picture that if they serve such things to me, I will grimace in the most unladylike manner and my plate will remain untouched.
My colleagues, however, refuse to let the matter drop, and continue to make suggestions for lunch, such as an entrée of rabbit terrine, followed by barbecued horse meat with a side serving of sautéed mushrooms.
I think they persist because I react. But it's so hard not to ;)
Especially when they bug me with such behaviour as emptying out my candy jar and putting my teeny platypus and wombat plushies inside and calling it Australian pâté.