Andouillette

Last night, Colin and I were looking for a place to eat dinner at the ungodly-early-to-Parisians hour of 7:00 pm, and our options were limited. It was also snowing, which apparently hasn’t happened in Paris in years. So, doing what every other cold, jet-lagged American tourist would do, we stopped at the first restaurant that appeared to be open.

Happily, I saw that they had a “regional specialties” section of the menu, and I decided to try something called andouillette. This is the point at which, if you know what I’m talking about, you are laughing, knowing exactly how this story is going to end. If you haven’t yet been acquainted with andouillette, bear with me.

The menu described andouillette as sausage in mustard sauce. The night before, Colin had ordered sausages with mustard, and they had been delicious. I also recognized the word andouillette – or rather, its root, andouille – and assumed that it would be similar to Creole andouille sausage. Pro tip: NEVER ASSUME. I ordered the andouillette.

When my plate arrived, I could smell the problem immediately. I almost didn’t need to cut into the sausage to know what I’d be eating. I’d smelled this smell once before, way back in 2008 in Botswana; it was the eye-watering odor of sweaty gym socks or three days hiking in the wilderness with no deodorant, emanating from a food that looks – and tastes – like rubber bands. Andouillette, it turns out, is intestine.

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Shocked, Colin and I turned to Google Translate. Could this “adventure” have been avoided with a proper grasp of the French language? Google offered no translation for andouillette, so we looked up andouille instead, knowing that -ette is often a diminutive suffix. Google did offer me a translation for andouille, but it was not reassuring. To take them at their word, andouillette can best be translated as

Little Dummy.

Or at least that’s what I felt like after ordering it.

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