One of the biggest shocks that I as a westerner has faced in my first days in the UAE has not been the culture, or multi-natioaln attitudes, or even the temperature as mentioned in a previous post ‘Selah’, no, none of these compares. The biggest shock was when I ordered a pepperoni pizza.
I opened the box and I did NOT find the salty, delicious, thinly sliced meat product of which I have grown so fond of these past 27 years. What I found was an abomination. A plague of men (and women). What I found should be banned by any God. On the pizza, melted into the cheesy folds, were cut up beef hot dogs. GROSS!!!
Ok, hot dogs aren’t necessarily vomit inducing, they’re quite delicious… in certain contexts. On a toasted bun with spicy brown mustard. Diced up in some finely crafted mac n’ cheese. Even enfolded in a hearty bowl of pasta. But in this scenario… gross.
In many Arab countries, due to the predominance of certain religions, Pork products are extremely hard to come by. While not strictly speaking illegal, you will not find anything that has even touched pork – sorry SPAM lovers. Outrageous – for me. Where will I get my weekly allotment of sausage and bacon? Ham, loin, shoulder, all gone? Baby Back Ribs Come Back!
But I digress. This is not a rant of incredulity but one of discovery and joy. For I have found a swine solution to my pork predicament. There exists a magical room in a enchanted food store called Waitrose located here in Abu Dhabi. In this room I found life-sustaining nutrients that will make this whole transition a bit smoother. So even though this store is mere minutes from my homestead… I stocked up.
5 packs of bacon, 2 kilos of salami, 3 kilos of ham, 6 cheddar sausages, a 10-pack of hot dogs, and 8 slices of Prosciutto are currently and pleasantly resting in my freezer. Ahhhhh. The world is at balance… for I once again have a Pork Belly.