Did you know that a cow has four stomachs?
Did you know that all four of those stomachs are a popular commodity in Florence?
Well, I have been working up the courage to try this popular street food for over a month. I would walk by and watch the eagerly awaiting locals in front of a popular Florentine vendor. They would finally get their fresh Lampredotto or Trippa panini and sit on the nearby cathedral steps, devouring them feverishly.
One day, I was walking by, just as I had tons of times before. But this time, I stopped. I was gonna do it! I walked up to the front, nervously, and ordered una trippa panino. The older Italian man behind the counter, with kind eyes and a happily wrinkled face, regrettably told me that they were out but gladly offered me Lampredotto! The difference? Trippa is made from the first three stomachs and Lampredotto is made from the fourth. I mentally prepared myself, settled my [own] stomach, and ordered! I waited for about five minutes and watched from the sidelines as the cook pulled the long, sauce-covered, white meat from the huge pot. He slapped it onto a toasted panino bun with some extra sauce from the pan, a little red and green salsa. He then grabbed the top bun, dipped it in the vat of simmering liquid and threw it on top. With a smile, he handed me my very first order of cow innards.
I grabbed it and joined the slew of locals on the steps. I got comfortable, said a little prayer, and peeled back the white paper to expose what would soon be my first bite. I was timid but had high expectations. All of the locals went crazy for this stuff, right?? I went it for the kill.
Hmmm… well, it’s not exactly what I expected. It’s not disgusting though. The smell was new to me. It smelled of raw meat and earth. I tried again…
You’re not eating cow stomach, you’re not eating cow stomach, you’re not eating cow stomach.
I felt like my brain was interfering with my ability to enjoy this local delicacy. I got half way through and finally threw in the towel. I gave it a solid effort. My stomach was fighting me the whole way, growling and grumbling. I felt bad and little guilty throwing away the other half, knowing Italians would gladly finish it.
I walked back to my apartment with a pep in my step, proud of my accomplishment. But excited to go back home and make yet another pan of chicken pasta.
I’ll admit it, I initially had cold feet. But I was glad I tried something new and immersed myself into the local culture.
I also have cold feet, literally, in the sense that our heat in Florence was JUST turned on two days ago. Yes, it’s regulated. We only get heat in our apartment for eight hours a day, at times the government chooses. So when it’s 32 degrees outside and we’re all shivering, huddled up in blankets, all I have to do is remind myself that I am living in ITALY!
Next on the Delectable Dare List: A donkey panino… wish me luck.