Utterly Beastly ...  



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Coastweek - - I'M SURE you have had that bar room or postprandial conversation along the lines of: 'The Most Drunk Iíve Ever Been' and 'The Worst Journey Iíve Ever Had'.

This week Iíd like to add: 'The Worst Thing Iíve Ever Eaten'.

Many peculiar foods seem to me to simply be excuses for eating something else, writes NOSHER.

Who for example decided that snails were actually edible ?

You could achieve the same effect far cheaper by pouring garlic butter over fresh 'snot' and pretty much the same could be said for oysters:

Take one tablespoon of 'bogies', a pinch of sand, a thimble of seawater, Tabasco, lemon juice and voila: cheap oysters.

And if snails and oysters are edible why not eat hedgehogs and geckoes ?

It is essentially pointless eating marrow.

The only way to make a marrow interesting is to scoop out the insides and put something tasty back.

Ditto pumpkin; pumpkin pie is an elaborate excuse to eat cinnamon.

And cheese.

If someone gave you a piece of meat that smelt like dolce latte or gorgonzola you would hurl it away as far and as fast as possible, but these cheeses spread on a cracker are considered just fine.

Equally the durian fruit from Malaysia smells like death but (apparently) tastes divine.

But probably the worst type of sweet things are those horrid desserts made of vermicelli and condensed milk.

They look like the type of thing you find on a carpet after a wild party and taste only slightly better.

Of course many peculiar foods are borne of poverty.

In Ecuador and Peru they eat guinea pigs or cuy as it is known locally.

In Guyana "Pepperpot" is the much fabled dish that never ends and comprises such delights as: cowheel, pig face, trotters and tripe rendered edible by days of boiling with a strong tasty sauce called casareep: a blend of cassava and molasses.

I think the people of the Caribbean actually go out of their way to eat perverse things.

I swear I have eaten chickenís feet and curried goatís tripe in Trinidad.

Both absolutely disgusting.

In Dominica the "joke" played to the point of tedium on unsuspecting tourists, is to offer "mountain chicken", which lo and behold is actually frogs legs and indistinguishable from chicken.

As are crocodile and alligator.

In the Seychelles the most horrible thing Iíve eaten in many a day was curried fruit bat: very crunchy and quite batty.

In Italy (Lake Orta actually) I ate fillet of horse, which was worth it if only to be able to say:

"My God, Iím so hungry I could eat a horse !"

Of course when one is little, mothers tend to derive great pleasure by trying to convince you that liver, heart, kidneys and sweetbreads (my dictionary describes sweetbreads as the pancreas or thymus gland of an animal) are all "good for you".

This is of course a great big fib as in "Come on darling just have a little pancreas. Itíll make you big and strong".

Naturally this engenders a mortal loathing of offal for the rest of your days.

Here in Kenya I am rather ashamed to confess that probably the most unpalatable food for me is the ubiquitous ugali: great as a building material, but with slightly less flavour than wet newspaper.

However 'the Worst Thing I Have Ever Eaten In Mombasa' was a sort of local 'haggis' made I think of thrashed offal and fried fat (Railway Club, Shimanzi - 1997).

Utterly beastly.






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