As she had numerous times before, my host sister shyly knocked on my door and placed a plate of food in my hand with a muffled “for you” before running off. Every now and then, my host mom would send a plate of food over to my room, even though I normally cooked for myself. It happened most often when they butchered an animal and had a lot of meat around.
The day before, they had given me a piece of meat with some pap. As I ate, I realize that I was looking at an empty eye socket, and had in fact been eating the cheek. I shrugged it off because it tasted pretty good, and happened to be really tender.
I had no idea what part of the goat I had been given that day, and I looked at my plate a bit trying to figure it out. After a minute or two, I finally realized that the dark, rubbery meat had an odd hole in it. I nibbled at it, not impressed with the taste or texture, as it began to dawn on me.
I had goat nose on my plate. As in, one nostril of a goat nose.
Sitting on my plate. For me to eat.
And I had to eat it. At least some of it, so I could tell my host family how grateful for the meal I was, and that I had eaten it and appreciated it.
I had to dig hard to find the gratefulness for the goat nose.
And yet, in the middle of a village where most kids went to bed hungry at night, and many people died from preventable, communicable diseases…I was given a treasured bit of meat. And even though I did NOT like the goat nose, I was grateful.
But in all honesty? If you find it on a menu somewhere, I don’t recommend ordering the goat nose.