Scott mentioned that this link may have already made the rounds, but I just saw it and would love to share it with you in case you missed it. The New Yorker has posted an audio slideshow of “Tea And Wallaby: Photojournalists talk about memorable on-the-job meals”.
A light and fun set of pictures and interviews with photographers about some of their strange (and/or enjoyable) meals while out photographing. From Jacob Aue Sobel’s seal in Greenland (which he ate for months) to Rena Effendi’s whole-sheep stew in Kyrgyzstan, there are many dishes that would require me to expand my personal gastronomic tastes and tolerances. Part of the cost of getting to see the world, I guess.
I hope Scott weighs in with a memorable meal of his own, as I share one of mine. The picture below, which actually is part of my latest Kosovo story, was actually taken in a living-the-moment-myself situation. A friend, who was traveling with me in Kosovo at the time, and I were visiting a Serbian enclave near the capitol Prishtina, called Gračanica. As luck would have it, when I went in to the local Serbian Orthodox monastery I found a lavish wedding ceremony, and made a number of nice pictures (one of these is also in the story). After this, we went wandering the small town for some lunch before heading back to Prishtina. We found a small restaurant (the Serbian kind that doesn’t have a menu) and ordered some Pleskavica and Jelen Pivo, soon noticing that the only other guests of the eatery were a band of young Serb men who were toasting themselves with copious amounts of beer. Before too long, more beers arrived at our table courtesy of these nice guys, followed by a pair of them to offer a ‘cheers!’ and linking of the arms for a swig. Next thing we knew, we were at their table swapping stories and histories in an awful mix of French, Russian, Serbian and English, all while downing rapidly-refilled cups of Balkan beer. My friend and I were quickly becoming drunk (at about 2pm) and sought to extricate ourselves… the party itself was in honor of one friends’ enlistment in the Serbian army (which has all sorts of implications when it is a young Kosovar Serb signing the papers).
As to be expected, though, these guys were having way too much fun with us and were having the waiter replace our empty .5L bottles as soon as we had finished a glass, making it impossible to say ‘oh well, my beer is done, we’ve got to go’. The most contentious moment, actually, came a moment or two after this picture, as the army-enlistee, who spoke the best English, told me to ‘stop fucking taking pictures, man’. Oops, at least I got the picture.
As we, and especially our new Serb friends, got more drunk over the next 20minutes (I think??) my friend and I decided we had to get out as soon as possible … and not via the kind offer to drive us back to Prishtina via the guy in the lower right of the picture. Taking a word of advice that I read, I think in the book Magnum: Fifty Years at the Front Line of History by Russell Miller (where a photographer in China got out of police custody by telling them that they would be responsible for the cost of the ticket if he missed his flight), I told my hosts that we had a nonrefundable ticket for the bus and absolutely had to leave to catch the bus. This confused them long enough for us to make our escape through a pleasant, if not slightly uncomfortable, hail of ‘Hvala! Zhivili!’ (Thanks! Cheers!) and Ciaos.
Definitely my most memorable meal, and drink, in the Balkans.