Vegetarians, steer clear. This post is about meat – red, spiced, unadulterated meat.
It was a typical subway rush hour, with typical rush-hour accessories: folded newspapers, iPads, travel mugs, messenger bags. And then there was something completely out of the ordinary.
A few straphangers away, a man in a trench coat leaned on the train door and unabashedly pulled from his backpack something that resembled a balloon animal, minus the head. It was half a foot of hardened, dark red sujuk. And he started to gnaw on it voraciously.
Sujuk, or sucuk, a dried, spiced sausage in Turkish and other Middle Eastern cuisines, is typically fried and served for breakfast with eggs or diced on top of toast – hardly a late afternoon subway snack.
And I was mistaken in presuming to be the only one who took notice: a couple minutes later, a woman within arm’s reach of the sujuk, shuffled her way back toward the opposite door, as if recalling the dramatic irony of A Lamb to the Slaughter and deciding that a hunk of meat, whatever the animal of origin, was a formidable weapon.
I asked him how it was he came to be munching on this snack as opposed to the usual mainstay bag of potato chips. Evidently, his aunt was just visiting from Turkey and had smuggled her homemade sujuk through security.
A quick digression: have you ever been stopped by airport security for edible items? Ironic, but not three weeks prior to this encounter, all bottles of my daughter’s ready-formula and jars of baby food for a continental U.S. plane ride had to be disrobed of labels and opened. Meantime, Turkish Teze, draped in tasseled scarves, clenching rolls of edible animal contraband under her arm, innocently eluded all international airport check-point personnel. I’m guessing she slipped them a slice in exchange for safe passage.
Here’s my favorite way to enjoy sujuk – sliced length-wise, pan fried, snug inside an Italian roll.
So, in case anyone is reading this, how do you like your sujuk? I’d love to hear!