Ethical Eating

I'm Eating What?! Schav

​As promised in the last blog, we tackled schav, a sorrel soup popular with Eastern ​Europeans, in the interest of science. Plus we had heard the stuff is enjoyed by Jewish folks and, it being Hanukkah and all, we thought it was an appropriate choice. We weren't sure what this stuff was when we bought it. All we knew is that (a) it looked strange, (b) it had unrecognizable ingredients, and (c) we had never heard of it -- all the aforementioned are typically our top qualifying criteria, FYI. 

The jar we picked up contained egg yolks, sorrel leaves (which Wikipedia deceptively claims taste similar to sour wild strawberries or kiwi), salt, and water. Nothing we'd ordinarily crave. But for $2.49, it was worth a go -- or at least that's what we thought until we found out eating too much sorrel could be fatal. [Hope New Times has its insurance policies paid up.]

Since the contents looked as if they had separated, we assumed shaking the jar into oblivion was step one of the experimental taste process. This, it turns out, is the correct procedure, according to various online instructionals. Unfortunately, we mistakenly assumed step two would be to heat the stuff. Wrong-ola. The correct way to partake, we discovered, was to chill it first and add a dollop of sour cream, so that bad move cost us a few hours in refrigeration time and a trip to the grocery store. Oh well.

Later, when we were convinced of its chilliness and had a carton of Breakstone's in our paws, it was time to give it a go. We shook the contents yet again -- boy, this shaking thing is fun! -- and poured some into a glass bowl. Of course, it was tempting to unload the green, swampy-looking liquid into an opaque vessel, but we wanted to witness any transformations, again for the sake of scientific research. 

Without getting too graphic, let's just say the schav looked like something my college roommate's stomach unleashed after a night of St. Patrick's Day partying. Thankfully, it didn't smell as bad, but the pea-green liquid with floating chlorophyll-laden leafy bits wasn't exactly edible art. Per instructions we found online, we added a blob of sour cream and watched it sink heavily to the bottom. No dissipation, surprisingly. Taking matters into our own hands, we stirred it actively until finally the sour cream began to blend. Now the soup was a lighter shade, and it had green and white chunks. Lovely.

No one was in the mood for cold soup on a November eve, but we sucked it down anyhow. It wasn't entirely unpleasant but certainly not addiction-inducing either. The flavor is difficult to describe, but it's sort of tart and sour and pretty similar to what you'd expect soggy leaves to taste like. We're still not sold on the flavor of sorrel either, but it has been more than 24 hours since our initial ingestion and we're still alive, so no harm, no foul.

Now as to who should eat this... Hmmm... We can't really think of anyone except perhaps a hard-to-please kid who can be convinced that by swallowing a bowl, he or she could permanently turn the color of the Incredible Hulk, Shrek, or the Grinch. Now there's a dream come true.

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Riki Altman