Discovering New Foods

So today I tried something I have always been disgusted by, black pudding. I had tried the French version of it, boudin noir, a few years ago and hated it. I always thought that it was disgusting. Just the idea of eating a sausage made of blood was very repugnant to me. I think that this is a left over of my long lost Muslim faith. I used to be a good Muslim boy when I was younger and black pudding is basically a double whammy of evil food. It is blood and pork. In islam both of these foods are forbidden. So I think that my repugnance might have been a subconscious left over. I have no problem eating bloody meat, nor do I have a problem eating pork. So my repugnance for black pudding didn’t make any sense.

As I said I had tried the French version and didn’t like it. Although at the time I was a smoker and my taste buds were all over the place. Now that I can appreciate food better I thought I should try it. We were having a brunch with a bunch of friends and there was some black pudding. So I thought that I should face my disgust and try it. And you know what? I really liked it. It’s not like what I remember it to be. Although my friends told me that they hated the French version and still liked the British one. There must be something different in the process because they taste very different.

The thing with this one is that the taste is very subtle. It’s not too overpowering and yet quite distinctive. With a bit of bacon, sausage, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, and tomatoes, it was absolutely delicious. I am glad I tried it as I have now exorcised the last remnants of superstition I had left in my mind. I think that I am now, fifteen years after I stopped believing in god and religion, over the indoctrination I had suffered at school.

The thing is my parents were never super religious. They never made me do anything I didn’t want to. They both drank and ate pork. But at school we had to take religious education. Also, the whole atmosphere in Algeria in the 1980s was quite oppressively religious. Political islam was slowly making its way there. Things like drinking alcohol and eating pork were seen as almost treasonous. I had to deal with a sort of double life between the home were those things were allowed and the outside where those things were seen as evil and disgusting.

So from around the age of 8, I knew these things from before but was too young to really understand, I was very religious. I used to pray five times a day, fast during ramadan, and not eat pork or do anything ‘unislamic’. But around the age of fifteen I discovered the writers of the enlightenment and those of French existentialism. I also discovered Marx around that time. And that was a revelation. I always had a few problems with organised religion, but couldn’t verbalise them properly. I knew I didn’t like that religion was used as a political and military tool, but didn’t understand that it was as much the fault of religion, as it is of those who use it in what I saw to be an evil and abusive manner.

Religion is to blame for many of the wrongs of this world. It is because of its false distinctions that people can claim that they are better than others. I know I’m saying things that are a bit obvious and in many ways childish, but it is important to remind you that I was fifteen at the time. This whole thing was new to me. I still had to confront what I believed to be absolute truth with my new knowledge. Thanks to that new knowledge I was finally able to understand that religion is historically constructed.

Anyway, my faith was shattered at that time. And I have been recovering since, well I make it sound like it was really hard, but it wasn’t. It just takes time to rid one’s self of all the little irrational superstitions that are carried over. My disgust with black pudding was clearly one such left over superstition. I am now rid of it. I hope there aren’t any left in there that I haven’t yet identified. I mean I don’t think that my tendency to stone adulterous women is such a left over, is it?


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