Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are you gonna eat that?

Every time I'm in a seafood restaurant and pass a lobster tank I ask myself the same question - who in his right mind looked at that thing and said "Yum, I bet that tastes mighty fine!"? (It's the one thing I don't miss when Crimebake is over...all those damn lobsters.)
Growing up Italian, I also knew that somewhere people were enjoying goat's head soup, but happily not in my home.

Hands down the strangest foods I've ever encountered in my travels were those served up by the street vendors in Beijing.

Their wares started life as things I usually ran away from - scorpions and cicadas, just to name a few. (They also sold fried tarantulas and chocolate-covered locusts if memory serves.) I had the full support of my husband who shivered when we passed the testicle vendor.

In Nairobi at a restaurant called Carnivore I was offered meals made from animals I'd just spent the day taking pictures of so that didn't seem to make sense. (Apparently it's a big tourist thing and my travel mates wanted to go...I'm not much of a carnivore myself. I need to have a few drinks before I can look at an uncooked turkey.)
Last week in Nepal, I passed on the yak steak. I realize they're almost cows but after all of my close encounters with them I couldn't bring myself to dig in. I'd keep hearing those yak bells with every bite.

I did sample the nak cheese (female yaks are called naks) and it was pretty good, but that was as adventurous as I got.

This is not a picture of me, but it could be. I didn't realize just how brave you had to be to milk a yak.

I guess foie gras and caviar are pretty weird, but I don't indulge in them much anymore. Sweetbreads? Ick. Who came up with that name?
Any adventurous eaters here? (I'm betting Rhys is an adventurous eater!) What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?


  1. Hallie is the adventurous one, Ro. Hopefully she'll weigh in about her Chinese adventures. As you might guess from my Roman pizza experience, I'm a mainstream eater. Nothing raw (except veggies of course) or weird shall cross my lips. I'm afraid growing up in the 50's has caught up with me...

  2. I'm game to try just about anything. I do draw the line at insects. In China we passed on the barbecued scorpions. And most innards aren't my thing. I love eel. Squid, yum. In Australia delicious Morton Bay Bugs - a sort of crab/lobster/shellfish thing. Ro, if lobsters creep you out, MB Bugs would send you over the edge.

    I was so proud of one of my daughters when she was about 6 and we went to the ice cream store and she announced she wanted a scoop of pistachio ice cram. Why that flavor I asked. Because it's green an I've never tasted it before. That's my girl!

  3. Oh yes, LOVE Morton Bay Bugs (or Balmain Bugs in Sydney) But I've also drawn the line at insects, but I have eaten from stalls in Asian countries, kangaroo and crocodile in Australia and I have tried Prairie Oysters (and we know what they are, don't we?)

    Seeing that lobster reminded me of the time I watched a lobster in a tank desperately trying to get out. The others all accepted their fate passively, but this one tried every way he could, getting one claw under the dividing partition, swimming to the surface... I couldn't bear to watch. I asked John where the nearest ocean was (we were in Upstate New York) and was quite prepared to drive to the nearest beach and release my poor lobster there. BUT we had a flight to catch. I felt terrible as I went away and left him to his fate. We should not enter into relationships with our food...

  4. Sushi, yes. but not eel. Caviar, foie gras, yay, but I do not think about it. (I'd rather have sashimi than sausage.)

    It's hard enough to think about (delicious) rack of lamb. I'm with Rhys (as always) one cannot think about relationships with food-to-be.

    I could never never eat an insect. Sorry. Jonathan and I will never win the Amazing Race.

    RO, don't you think you and Bruce should do that?

    (Oh, nak. Good Scrabble word.)

  5. It's a toss-up between haggis and congee. In both cases I had to swallow, smile, and pretend I liked what I was eating.

  6. I had to look up congee. I've been given rice pudding for breakfast but don't know if it was congee.
    Nak...yes! good scrabble word. Here's another - zopkio. It's a yak/cow hybrid.

  7. Darlene... I like both haggis (ate it in Scotland) and congee (in China - all the things you mix into it are delicious), though I wouldn't want a steady diet of either.

  8. Thank goodness I keep kosher, it lets me pass on many of those questionable delicacies...

    What has always made me curious, though, are eggs. Who on earth saw one coming out of the backside of a chicken and said "Mm, that would be good to eat" ???


  9. Just ready my latest book "Are You Gonna Eat That?!"...

    Bon appetit!