Generally speaking, the meat in Georgia makes me wish I could claim the sanctuary of being a vegetarian. I’m squeamish about meat and admit it. I am not big on chewing on bones (no ribs, thank you, or legs or thighs either). I do not like skin, fat, or cartilage. I am a boneless skinless chicken breast kind of girl who just might not survive in Georgia.
Georgians eat everything, down to the marrow. One lunch, I watched in sick fascination as a little boy proudly devoured his meat, eating anything and everything, stacking each perfectly cleaned little bone on the table. A model citizen. I, on the other hand, was trying to hide all the skin, cartilage and bones under my spoon and did not make eye contact with grandma Neli when she picked up my bowl.
Meat is not served everyday thus making it that much more of an occasion when it is. And I, as a guest, am on the receiving end of Georgian hospitality which dictates that I be given a generous amount of anything being served. Woe is me. I am always conscious of this and gamely try to make my way through my plate. But it’s always a bad show on my part. I cannot choke down the skin or the cartilage. My gorge rises at the sight of what look like large arteries or almost identifiable pieces of animal anatomy. I dislike having to handle all these little slippery pieces of meat, getting my fingers slimy and/or sticky in the process. Ugh.
At present, I think my host family thinks I do not like meat. I do like meat! I do! I tried to tell them that I eat meat, just not very much, but I think the message did not make it. I am, of course, reliant on my limited Georgian and the assistance of the oldest daughter. I am pretty sure she told them I don’t like meat because all their faces fell. I tried to say I only like to eat a small amount again, but I think it’s all over. They will probably be forever convinced that I don’t like meat. Which means maybe it will not be served as often. The confusing part is this: I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.