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Dish you love, but don't really know what's in it

cresyd Aug 23, 2013 04:14 AM

A lot of times with prepared foods even though we don't necessarily know every ingredient in a dish - we have a fair idea of what's in there without an ingredient list. But are there foods out there, from a store, deli, restaurant that you love but other than maybe one or two ingredients have no clue what it's made of?

There's a small store near near an old apartment of mine in Jerusalem that sold a dish that's name is roughly "eggplant chopped liver style". It's a smooth spread, pretty dark in color. Other than eggplant, I know there's black pepper - but beyond that I really have no clue. At this point I've gone so long without asking that I kind of enjoy the complete ignorance.

Are there other mystery dishes that people love but are really in the dark about a lot of the ingredients? Or do other people take more care to find out what's in their food than me.....

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  1. j
    jpc8015 RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 04:50 AM

    Hot dogs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jpc8015
      mwhitmore RE: jpc8015 Aug 24, 2013 05:45 AM


      1. re: jpc8015
        jrvedivici RE: jpc8015 Aug 28, 2013 12:44 PM

        I thought everyone knew they were lips and a$$holes. (I enjoy them too!!)

      2. melpy RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 04:52 AM

        Sausages and salumi products.

        1 Reply
        1. re: melpy
          ttoommyy RE: melpy Aug 28, 2013 12:40 PM

          Many salumi are very specific as to what they are. Coppa is pork neck or shoulder; guanciale is pork jowl; pancetta is pork belly; prosciutto is the pig's ham (hind leg or thigh); bresaola is top round, to name a few.

        2. Kholvaitar RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 06:22 AM

          A sublime moment when tasting a dish for the first time but don't really know what's in it--

          You think to yourself, "IF this is ______, it's FABULOUS!!"

          To be in awe and wonderment with every bite...

          (I'd really be fat.)

          1. RealMenJulienne RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 06:39 AM

            A spinach dish I've had at some Middle Eastern restaurants, mostly Syrian ones. It's chopped spinach sauteed in olive oil with red pepper, pine nuts and lemon juice. Also, there seems to be a hint of cilantro in it. Simple, but somehow I can never make mine taste like the restaurant version.

            1. WhatsEatingYou RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 06:57 AM

              Loved the Corn Pudding at a local BBQplace, was a buttery tasting cornbread that was somewhat pudding like and contained whole kernels. I later saw a recipe for it that involved a mix and lots of margarine bleecchhhh!

              4 Replies
              1. re: WhatsEatingYou
                cresyd RE: WhatsEatingYou Aug 23, 2013 07:10 AM

                This is the thing with my "eggplant chopped liver style" - I have no idea what's in it. In this way I can pretend it's just an eggplant spread and relatively healthy and not full of anything "yucky".

                1. re: cresyd
                  Tripeler RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 05:40 PM

                  A pub nearby serves a dish very much like that -- a coarse eggplant paste. They guy who does the food is from Israel, so likely it is a common dish. Quite unusual in Tokyo, though.

                  1. re: Tripeler
                    cresyd RE: Tripeler Aug 23, 2013 10:10 PM

                    It's common here, but usually complete smooth. It's been 5 years, and at this point I'm clearly choosing ignorance.

                    1. re: cresyd
                      Tripeler RE: cresyd Aug 24, 2013 06:10 AM

                      Come to think of it, what the Israeli guy Dede makes is fairly smooth, but totally unlike any other eggplant paste I have had before. I'll have to order it again the next time I am there, then ask him more about the origins of the dish. In any case, I really love the occasional Israeli dishes he puts out.

              2. Ttrockwood RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 03:33 PM

                The street food carts in new york city often have something called "white sauce". Each cart has a slightly different version, all i know is its yogurt based, sometimes with tahini, mystery herbs and delicious magical secret ingredients. Good stuff.

                1. v
                  Violatp RE: cresyd Aug 23, 2013 03:36 PM

                  Gyros. I mean, meat, sure. Some kind of binder. Seasonings.

                  Except that that also sounds like meatloaf and gyros tastes nothing like meat loaf!

                  1. b
                    bugablue13 RE: cresyd Aug 28, 2013 10:24 AM

                    Scrapple! Okay, I know what's in it, I just choose to not recognize it.

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