Thought for the day: How is it that a toddler can be so picky and slow when it comes to eating a nutritious dinner, and yet so fast at shoving every disgusting thing he finds on the ground into his mouth?
Even though I'm making some changes here, I'll do my very best to keep it as disgusting as it was before...
Have you ever noticed that the words turtle, terrapin, and tortoise seem to be used almost interchangeably? So I couldn't help but wonder ... what's the difference between them? Well, I can tell you right now, according to the definition of terrapin I found, there's absolutely no need for that particular word in my vocabulary. No sirree, and here's why. Turtle is a generic term, so you can properly use it to refer to any of those adorable shelled reptiles, whether they live on the land or in the water. A tortoise is a turtle, and though the term can be used to denote any turtle, it refers especially to a land turtle. But terrapin is defined as any of North America's edible water turtles. Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as an edible turtle. So, I will not be using that word again anytime soon.
And yeah, I know some of you may disagree. Some of you may consider turtles a wonderful delicacy. After all, even though I think calves are absolutely adorable and have the most beautiful eyes, when driving past a field of them, I may or may not have said a time or two, "Oh, look at all the veals!"
I know. Crass.
But if you think about it, we humans eat some pretty strange things. Like raw oysters. I mean, yeah, I happen to love them, but just think about the first guy... and you know it was a guy... who opened one of them and decided it looked good enough to eat?
|You must admit. It doesn't look very appetizing.|
- In Sardinia, people eat something called casu marzu, which is cheese riddled with insect larvae. Appropriately enough, it is also called maggot cheese. Yum, huh?
- In Indonesia, fried monkey toes are considered a delicacy.
- In Hungary, a favorite dish is comprised of fresh pig blood and scrambled eggs.
- Talking about blood, in Sweden, blood dumplings are made with flour and reindeer blood, and the Polish have czarnina, a soup whose not-so-secret ingredient is duck blood.
- Ever hear of head cheese? It looks like an innocuous mish-mash of jellied lunch meat, and can be found in many delis. This is what it looks like when you buy it.
And if you've got the stomach to watch, THIS is what it takes to make it:
- Americans traditionally eat some pretty weird stuff, too. How about scrapple, which is allegedly made from every part of the pig but its oink? I also read that some people in the South eat squirrel brains, although I can't say I've ever seen any of my neighbors so indulge, and I don't plan to serve them at our next dinner party, either.
- In Eastern Europe, there's a dish called p'tcha which is a translucent jello made from calves' feet.
- Oh, and while we're talking about feet, let's not forget pickled pig and cow feet. (There are two jars of pig feet lurking in my pantry right now. For Smarticus, that is. You don't think I'd eat them, do ya?)
- In France, they eat calf's head; in Slovenia, they eat stewed dormice; in Italy, they eat cibreo, which is cock's combs; and in Thailand, they eat rats.
- You've heard of Chinese birds nest soup? It is literally made from swifts' nests, and lest you think those nests are made of twigs and grass, they aren't. They're mostly made of saliva.
- In the Philippines, balut answers the age-old chicken-or-the-egg question. This dish is made of fertilized eggs, which are cooked just before they hatch, so when you eat it, you get both the chicken (or duck) AND the egg.
- One of Korea's favorite dishes is sannakji. Octopus. No big deal, you say? You've eaten octopus many times, you say? How many times have you eaten it while it was still squirming on your plate? That's right. This dish is reeeeeeally fresh. While it's still alive, the octopus is cut into pieces and sprinkled with sesame oil, and the tentacles are STILL MOVING when diners pop it into their mouths. It poses quite a challenge, too, because those little suction cups on the tentacles stick to whatever surface they touch. So the diner has to pry his dinner from his chopsticks, and once it's in his mouth, the tentacles latch onto his teeth, his tongue, and the roof of his mouth. Oh, and for the really brave of heart, the whole darned thing can be popped into one's mouth, while still alive:
- And then, there's the national dish of Scotland. Haggis. This is a sausage-like dish which contains what they call the pluck of a sheep: its heart, liver, and lungs. (Takes a bit of pluck to eat it, too!) When all the ingredients are combined, they're traditionally sewn into the sheep's stomach for cooking, with the windpipe hanging over the side of the pot. Modern recipes, however, may call for tongue instead of lung, and sausage casing instead of sheep's stomach.
- This love-it or hate-it food comes to us from the UK:
In closing on this whole weird foods of the world idea, I'll let these following pictures speak for themselves:
|bugs on a stick|
So, what's all this mean? It means there's simply no accounting for taste. People like what they like, and hate what they hate. Just because I tried chocolate-covered ants when I was a kid (they're crunchy) doesn't mean I'd ever choose them over a Hershey bar. Just because I ate snake once (it really DOES taste like chicken) doesn't mean I ever want to eat it again. And just because most of the world loves chocolate doesn't make you wrong if you hate it.
And here we go: Rejection from any given agent or publisher doesn't mean your writing stinks. All it means is you haven't submitted it to the person with the perfect palate for it yet. The work of any creative person is every bit as susceptible to personal taste as a still-moving chunk of octopus or jar of pickled pigs feet. I'll betcha even Michelangelo had his detractors. (the artist, not the ninja turtle)
So, what's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.