I Hope We’re Not What We Eat


Having dinner in a field in November may not sound like an enticing prospect, but this weekend we were in a Mongolian yurt, courtesy of friends Guy and Lou, which proved warm, cosy and perfect for lamb couscous and convivial conversation. As you get older, you can choose to become more or less adventurous, and I’ve noticed that these days my No’s have all turned to Yes’s. But why wasn’t I like that at school, or all the years when I held down a demanding job? Why do many of us retreat into habit and safety?

Take food. I noticed the change this weekend as I was eating (responsibly sourced) cod tongues. As a kid I wouldn’t eat sprouts, beef or anything slippery. Now, so long as its dead or at least stunned, I’ll put it in my mouth. Here are past pleasurable platefuls…

Deep-fried grasshoppers (Thailand)
Shellfish in garlic ham fat (Spain)
Fried worms and grubs (Cambodia)
Lambs’ stomach on sticks (Spain)
Charred whole onions (Spain)
Sea urchins (Greece)
Bus station exploding cheese sausage (Austria)
Fish stew – must be opened with hammer (Turkey)

Mind you, I wouldn’t touch a McDonald’s. You don’t know what’s in them.

6 comments on “I Hope We’re Not What We Eat”

  1. Gretta says:

    The Maori word for sea urchin is kina, and they’re a delicacy here.

    I want to make a rude comment about the sausage photo…

    But I won’t.

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    You are making excellent progress in widening your international diet. Still, if I may, I’d like to add a few more dishes to your bucket list – sort of like an airline oupsala-bag, but galivanized: giant fruit bat served on a white platter with garnish, ample wings spread out, toothy head turned to the side, torso slit open with reddish meat displayed (serious tip: make sure the musk glands have been removed from under both wings)and black dog chopped fine, mixed with spices and hot-hot bird peppers, stuffed into a length of hollowed out bamboo, sealed and roasted over an open fire until the cork in end of the bamboo tube pops (serious tip: do not eat while standing near the cage of little black dogs the cook keeps (Indonesia); elephant-ear cookies fried in the rendered fat of the fat-tailed sheep, sprinkled with lumpy sugar (serious tip: use baking soda afterwards to remove the sheep fat coating on teeth and try not to belch for 24 hours)and a gift of well-aged canned brie eaten in the dark, left open in the refrigerator overnight and found to be heaving with maggots in the morning (serious tip: don’t) Afghanistan; and one more deep fried turkey tails with spiced chopped hot peppers and rock salt (serious tip: sit up for at least a day to avoid internal pinching and keep yourself booked ahead on the facilities. Those were the days.

  3. BangBang!! says:

    I had a Gregg’s sausage roll yesterday – does that count?

  4. Helen Martin says:

    I am assuming you have had haggis (one of my favourites, but then I have a lot of peasant blood). A friend of mine was introduced to it, was thrilled and took some home to have sliced and fried for breakfast, possibly with a side of oolichan oil from our First Nations. [The little fish come in great shoals, are scooped out of the water and put into a walled area which is then fitted with a lid which is pressed down with large rocks until the oil runs out of the fish. The fish are a little ripe by the time this is done, but the oil is really quite good & probably high in vitamin D.

  5. Alan G says:

    Some revolting food on this but… Helen… fried haggis?

    (bolts for bathroom)

  6. Helen Martin says:

    Alan -the leftover haggis, sliced and fried. Quite good.

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