So, if any of you have been checking my site lately, you’ll notice that I’ve been mysteriously absent in posting. This is because I have been undertaking a “secret eating” mission (more to come later…). Suffice it to say for now, I embarked on a eating journey that took me half-way around the globe on a digestive olympiad that certainly has made my stomach a champion machine.
So, in this past week, I have eaten the following animals and their parts (not all inclusive, and in no particular order): salmon, veal, beef, sea bass, shrimp, sea scallops, prawns, mussels, clams, chicken, duck, quail, cow brains, lamb’s tongue, beef tongue, pork, venison, tuna, caviar, buffalo, rabbit, blood pudding, tripe, kid sweetbreads, veal sweetbreads, bone marrow, squid, octopus and cod.
If you think I’m trying to gross you out – I’m not. But perhaps I assume too much about my readers… were you grossed out by the thought of eating any of the items I listed?
This got me thinking: Americans are awfully closed minded about food (don’t take this as insult if you are either an American or/(and) were disgusted by my list of foods), and I think embarrassingly so. When my servers took my orders, they would often marvel quizzically at my bravado – an American eating sweetbreads? tongue? offal of any sort? My first reaction was, “of course we do, silly.” But, then I realized, no, we don’t… on a whole, Americans are the gastronomical cowards of the world. Health safety concerns aside (ie. horomonally intoxicated chickens and mad cows), really, what is there to be afraid of?
A lot of people chum up their fears to “texture” – it’s a ubiquitous excuse… I think. Sure, there are foods that I don’t really don’t like the texture of, but none that I would discount automatically – certainly not without first trying it!
Except for my food allergies (which, thankfully, are very limited), there’s nothing that I wouldn’t put in my stomach. I’ve eaten everything I can think of: jellyfish, elk, gazelle, “rocky mountain oysters” (ie. cow/goat testicles, horse, turtles, goat, eel, worms, insects, and even the deadly blowfish. I’ve had raw ground beef (steak tartare) with raw eggs. I love offal and am a huge fan of liver, kidney, heart, tripe and sweetbreads. There’s nothing better than hot gelatinous chunks of beef tendon in a warm noodle soup. Perhaps the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced eating was conch – while it was still alive. And these are just the animals… have you ever heard of durian? I love it.
So, is there anything the Ulterior Epicure hasn’t tried? Well, a lot. For one thing, I’ve always wanted to try snake, but never have had the opportunity. I’ve heard squirrel is chewy but palatable, and rat can be rather tasty when prepared the right way. Although many gasp (and may from now on boycot my blog), I honestly say that I would try dog.
I guess it would be too much to ask most Americans to eat at the adventurous levels that I do. But, what about trying some new things. I applaud Heidi at Letter of Marque for her posting on trying new foods.
I’d love to hear about the exciting discoveries that people are making regarding food! Here’s to hoping y’all challenge yourselves and have some good eats!