IT OR LOVE IT:
TASTES, TASTY BEASTS ?
- - 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
Ditto pumpkin; pumpkin
pie is an elaborate excuse to eat cinnamon.
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
They look like the type
of thing you find on a carpet after a wild party and taste only
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.
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
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
"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).