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Waiter, there’s a tail in my soup

“Um, PastaQueen. What did you order?” my friend C. asked as she flipped through the menu trying to make a decision before the waitress came back for a third time.

“The Ouch-cinch-wands soup,” I told her as I tried to pronounce the words “Ochsenschwanz Suppe” off the menu at the German restaurant we were eating at before attending a concert across the street. She flipped through the menu and read the description. “Uh, did you see what’s in that?” she said as though she were warning me that the waiter had spit in my soup. “There’s …ox tail.”

“I know! That must be why they put the port wine in it too!” I replied.

“Ox tail?” our friend K. said from across the table. “Wow, do you think it’ll be served with a big, stalk of hair sticking up, like a fan?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never had ox tail before. That’s why I’m trying it.” After seeing the looks of horror on my friends’ faces, I realized that after tasting so many new fruits and vegetables in my Lick the Produce Section entries this past year, I’ve started trying new foods without even thinking about it. In fact, I’m more willing to order a food at a restaurant if I’ve never had it before. Snakes and snails and ox tails, watch out, my digestive tract is coming for you!

A few minutes later the waitress set a cup of soup in front of me with a package of crackers. Oxen’s tails actually have meat in them. The soup was very thick, more like a stew, and if you hadn’t told me there was an ox tail in it I would have just assumed it was regular beef. And no, there was no hair in it.

“How was the ox tail?” C asked.

“It was ox-some.”

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34 Comments

Olivia • September 21, 2007 at 8:43 am

I think it’s great to be adventurous with food. I once had turtle soup, and while it tasted fine, I still had a weird guilty hang-up about eating a turtle.

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Olivia • September 21, 2007 at 8:44 am

I’d like to add that my Nigerian husband often makes an okra stew with goat meat. It’s quite savory and is one of my favorite meals now.

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Cal • September 21, 2007 at 8:55 am

It seems strange to someone who grew up in the UK that oxtail soup would be considered adventurous. Tinned oxtail soup is part of the furniture here – or at least was in the 70s and 80s – about as common as tomato. It was a standard supper when I was growing up – my mother used to give us the choice between Cream of Tomato or Oxtail.

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G.G. • September 21, 2007 at 9:00 am

So, this is a tale about a tail?

Good for you, re: the adventurous eating!

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Jessica • September 21, 2007 at 9:05 am

Good for you for trying new things – I only wish my kids were half as adventursome. I always tell them that it’s a sign of intelligence to be willing to try new things. Keep it up!

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v'ron • September 21, 2007 at 9:13 am

I didn’t grow up in the UK at all, but I remember my mom making oxtail soup. I loooooove oxtail soup. (BTW, the point is that there’s so much bone and marrow that it makes the soup extra thick and beefy rich. If you like beef soup Oxtail soup is like beef soup jacked up.)

I’m all about trying new stuff. My problem is that I’m like Anthony Bourdain in this respect: is there anything that man WON’T eat?

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UrbnChk • September 21, 2007 at 9:34 am

Way to go Pasta Queen! I was in Chile and tried barnacles. While my experience wasn’t as tasty as yours, it was just as much fun and quite an adventure.

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Mia • September 21, 2007 at 9:37 am

Ha,ha! You’re so brave! I’m “chicken” about trying new stuff. :))

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AKS • September 21, 2007 at 9:55 am

I love oxtail! It’s a tough cut of meat, but once you braise it appropriately, it becomes so tender and moist. I love it in soups and stews. Many cultures use oxtail in their cuisine, although Americans dont seem to use it that much.

Anyhoo, congrats on discovering oxtail. What next, I wonder? Sweetbread? Tripe? Foie gras? Frog legs? Yum!

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JEM • September 21, 2007 at 10:53 am

Ha! Way to be adventurous. I love trying new foods but am not too keen on new animal products…my dad is always trying to get me to try cow tongue, chopped liver, and frog legs….ummm no. But you can pass the purple cauliflower my way any day.

I have heard oxtail soup is good but for some reason I know I could never get past the name.

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Princess Dieter • September 21, 2007 at 12:28 pm

If you ever wander into a Cuban restaurant, try “rabo encendido.” It’s a spicily sauced ox-tail, and it’s HUGELY popular in Miami. The name roughly translates to “tail on fire” or “burning tail.” But it’s not hot-hot, just a discreet bite.

The Princess

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pussreboots • September 21, 2007 at 12:48 pm

I love oxtail soup. I haven’t made it in years. Thanks for the reminder!

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K • September 21, 2007 at 1:45 pm

Yeah, oxtail soup sounds thoroughly unexotic to me, although I’ve never eaten it myself. My husband does from time to time.

I have eaten some funny things in Germany, including burnt-breadcrumb sauce and handkäse mit musik, which has nothing to do with music – it’s cheese flavoured with raw chopped onions. Do not eat if planning to kiss anyone.

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Theresa • September 21, 2007 at 1:50 pm

I have never even heard of oxtail. I wouldn’t even know where to purchase it. I give you kudos for trying new things. The craziest I have ever gotten is to eat Buffalo and Alligator.

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KP • September 21, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Oxtail soup is very common in Hawaii, where I’m from, so I suppose I wouldn’t blink twice if I heard someone ordering it. My mother loves the salty goodness, even though her doctor may have a different opinion. ;)

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Jenny • September 21, 2007 at 4:20 pm

Cheeky Girl. I didn’t see that one coming. I moved to the East Coast in my early 20’s and had never had Snapper soup… I assumed it was fish until my lunchmate informed me, as I lifted the first spoonful to my mouth, that is was turtle.

What did I do? SPPFFFFTTTTTT. Of course.

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MB • September 21, 2007 at 4:35 pm

I’m not a very adventerous eater which may explain why I’m so frustrated with my lack of choices for healthy foods. Like JEM, I don’t have a problem with the fruits and veggies but the obscure meats scare me a bit. Maybe I just need to suck it up and try me some ox tail.

If PQ likes it, it must be good, right?

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Kyle • September 21, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Ox-some

PQ, I want to be you. Seriously. Your sense of humor is the best :)

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Diana the Scale Junkie • September 21, 2007 at 6:14 pm

While I love to try new fruits and veggies, I think in this instance I’ll be satisfied to simply live vicariously through you.

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NicoleW • September 21, 2007 at 6:17 pm

I am the least adventurous eater in the world — I felt like I was on the bug-eating episode of “Survivor” when I finally tried raw-fish sushi last year. I remember being completely grossed out by Knorr’s Oxtail soup in the store when I was a kid. I guess I’m boring, but now that I eat so much less than I used to, I want to be certain that I’m gonna like what I do eat.

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anji • September 21, 2007 at 11:02 pm

I tried two new dishes this week…. both native dishes — one was moose stew & bannock and… the other was moose with oats… I think I might have also tried deer sausage. Mmmm… my contribution to the pot-luck was a pre-cooked chicken from the local grocery store that I picked up at 8am. Heh.

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sweetisu • September 22, 2007 at 3:13 am

Just came via Jenn’s site. You and I were in the same post :D

HOLY SMOKES I can’t get over your “before” and “after” pictures in the Progress section!!! WELL DONE!!!!!

Ox-some actually is more accurately. ;) Good for you for trying new stuff. Now, if I listed all the animal meats that I’ve tried and dared you, would you try them given the chance? Heh.

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Soi • September 22, 2007 at 7:01 am

there’s korean ginger oxtail soup- just boil oxtail and ginger in water for DAYS. it’s very good- you get a white broth and some very tender meat to which you just add salt!

the french also make this oxtail thing that was good when i had it in Paris.

congrats on trying new things! i’m going the opposite way- i refuse to eat stuff i used to eat…:-P

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the veggie paparazzo • September 22, 2007 at 2:37 pm

*Groan* on the pun.

But good for you for trying new foods so easily now!

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Angel • September 22, 2007 at 10:15 pm

::Giggle::

I do draw the line at some things (no brains, tongue, dog/cat/horse), but we tend to be pretty adventuresome as a family with our foods.

LOVE escargot, have not yet tried snake (almost tried rattler but my mom said NO). Gator is delicious, froglegs only if done right. I’ve had turtle (very bony), rabbit, octopus, and bison.

I have to say, after reading this, I’d probably try oxtail soup.

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Michelle • September 22, 2007 at 11:17 pm

The moment I read “Ochsenschwanz Suppe,” I knew where you’d been. Then again, I have the benefit of personal local knowledge. Strangely enough, though I’ve never been there before, I ended up at the Biergarten on Friday night with a group of friends. Didn’t go to whatever the concert was across the street, but we enjoyed the food, the alcohol, and (somewhat) the music.

I know we live in the same town, but it’s still big. Odd that I’ve accidentally ended up in the same places as you two weekends in a row…

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Juanita • September 23, 2007 at 12:22 am

I admire you for trying new foods. While I’m familiar with the Oxtailsoup from growing up in Germany, I’m a chicken when it comes to trying new things.

BTW, they ought to fix the spelling for Kassler Rippchen (not Ripchen) on the menu.

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Kyle • September 23, 2007 at 4:09 am

Ummm, I already commented, is there a rule about commenting twice?

I just have a question totally unrelated to this post. That’s all.

I want the fancy scale you have listed. When it says, not appropriate for “athletic” people does that mean like don’t go jogging 4 times a week and then try to weigh yourself on this scale, or is it more like Lance Armstrong may or may not get an accurate reading because his body fat is about .04%?

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George Chernikov • September 23, 2007 at 10:51 am

Wow, you sure are daring! I, for one, am not at all sure whether I would risk having a bit of an ox in my soup. Mind you, I’m not opposed to trying out new meals, but the tail of an ox might just be stretching it a bit for me, insofar as I’m concerned.

Ah well, glad you found it “ox-some!” :-)

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egoldstein • September 23, 2007 at 1:59 pm

I remember reading somewhere that paleolithic man ate around 100 different foods during the course of a full year (and full turning of seasons), whereas modern Americans seem to get most of their calories from 25 or fewer foods. It’s probably one of the many reasons we are missing vital nutriets or trace elements. Kudos to you for being adventurous.

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Carm • September 23, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Good for you for the adventurous eating. My mother always made oxtail soup for us when we were growing up. I miss it. If you ever prepare it yourself watch out for extra fat because I remember that sometimes there was a fair amount of fat surrounding the meat. I’m sure they just cut that off in restaurants.

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Angela • September 23, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Oh! You are very brave! I have been dying to try Bison. I heard it was very tasty and very good for me….and now that they have it at my local grocery store….perhaps I will give it a go.

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kentuckienne • September 26, 2007 at 9:54 am

Should you make it down our way, we can take you to the Oaxacan restaurant that serves crickets :) Loki ordered them, mostly to freak out his mom. Or we can take you to the restaurant that serves tiny oxtail tacos — yummy!

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Pauline • January 22, 2010 at 3:36 am

Having grown up in both Germany and the Netherlands, oxtail soup (Ochsenschwanzsuppe in German, Ossestaartsoep in Dutch) was highly common in my youth. I still like it from time to time, when I’m cold or something like that. The strong taste of beef seems to give me strength, similar to the effect of chicken soup. Glad you liked it!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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