Yesterday I had a very lively conversation on Facebook with a friend and one of his friends about food. Side note: Facebook has entirely diluted the meaning of the word “friend”.
The whole thing started over the issue of barbeque shrimp. A different friend had posted a recipe for this dish from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse which was just thoroughly wrong. No No No, I said, this is not how you do it!
Barbeque shrimp is a classic New Orleans dish which has nothing to do with grilling or barbeque sauce (the horror!) The shrimp (whole, including the heads) are sautéed in about a gallon of butter with lots of spices. They are served in a bowl with French bread to sop up the liquid, which is chiefly butter but one presumes there is shrimp juice in there by this time. Side note: “Sop” is kind of like “soak”.
My friend Ted’s friend Alan (see what I mean about “friends”?) said he had a lot of trouble eating food with eyes. And then we were off and running about things we wouldn’t eat.
I grew up in the American South, so I’ve eaten possum, squirrel, and rabbit. Once. Each. And that was because we had a rule in our house that you would try anything put before you at least once. You can’t say you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it. Really? As if the idea of eating something repulsive isn’t as powerful as the taste?
Especially if you were at your grandparents’ house, you would eat whatever you were given, because not doing so would be rude. (I’m personally okay with rude, but at the time, I didn’t have a choice.)
As a child, I was a very picky eater, and I still am. It’s just that my choices have greatly expanded. Looking back, I’m not sure the “you will at least taste this” was a bad idea. I might be 63 years old and still eating baby food peaches as a primary food.
But I was defeated by two particular food items. One of which was frog legs. I probably would have eaten them under the “you have to at least try this” rule, if I hadn’t seen my mother frying them. They were jumping. When we got to the table, I said, I’m not eating this, and I will sit here at the table until I turn into skeletal remains and the child welfare people come and put you in prison for life. The only reason that worked was that my mother was repulsed too. From that point, my father stopped hunting frogs. Shortly after that, he stopped hunting everything, because I accidentally came across him cleaning (that means, skinning and gutting) a squirrel and became hysterical. He said he never wanted me to see that again. (Of course, there were a lot of other things he didn’t want me to see either, like baby pigs being born, which was very cool, and the bull mating with a cow, which confused me because people had to help him do it. At the time I was a major sneak, and absolutely gravitated to whatever I was not supposed to do. But I wasn’t a good sneak. I always got caught.)
My other nemesis was English peas. I just could Not. Eat. Them. Still can’t.
So in the Facebook discussion, it evolved (devolved?) into a discussion about things you absolutely would not eat unless someone held a gun to your head. (Or unless you were really, really hungry and about to die.) Things with the eyes still attached. Insects–like cicadas and scorpions. Rats. Nutria. And the winner: pork brains. On that note, I think I’ll have to go eat a nice squash blossom.
I like frog legs….even if they taste like chicken! But I don’t care for peas either.
Regular old ordinary run-of-the-mill English peas are just OK, and that only if they are not cooked to mush. Baby peas are quite good. Sugar snap peas and snow peas are yummy – of course, you eat them pod and all which alters the taste and texture a good bit. Edamame is delectable as well.
How funny, I’ve never heard of English peas! They must be what we just call peas here in England, hehe. Overall I’m not a picky eater, but there are two things that I can’t stand at all, one is cilantro and the other is Manor House cake; I guess you probably don’t know what that is, it’s a fairly plain yellow cake, but instead of regular flour it is made with semolina (or maybe it’s part semolina/part wheat flour, I’m not sure), the taste is ok, I just find the texture of it so awful, it kind of makes me gag. Other than that though I would struggle to eat insects and I would really struggle to eat eyes – I can cope with the eyes on shrimp because you don’t actually eat them, but in some countries it’s like a delicacy to eat sheep’s eyes I believe, I really couldn’t do that.
What, Vanessa? No English peas in England? We are referring to the small, round, green peas. And you’re right, I’d never heard of Manor House cake. Alan (the friend of the friend) said he didn’t want anything on the plate that appeared to be looking back at him 🙂 I had to look up that sheep eyeball thing, and no, I couldn’t do that either. Of course, I eat raw oysters which really grosses out many people. In fact, many people won’t eat them cooked either; it’s the idea that you’re eating all its little oyster guts.
Yes, I think that’s what we just call peas, or sometimes Garden Peas. They are pretty much a staple over here, I’m not particularly keen myself either actually, they’re ok, but they’d never be my first choice. We have them at home fairly often simply because my kids eat them without complaining (which I can’t say for a lot of veggies!), and they’re easy because they’re frozen and don’t need any prep.
It’s not the little oyster guts, it’s the slimy look and feel.
It occurred to me later that the “at least try it” directive had expired by the time I came along. And I’m probably a pickier eater than you are.
One of my friends from work had solved this issue with their kids, who would eat pretty much anything that was set in front of them. Any new food item appeared at every meal until it was eaten. So if you had, say, broccoli, at dinner and the kids refused, it was served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc, slowly becoming a larger portion of the meal, up to and including nothing else served, until it was sampled. His kids just ate it, having been through this process.
It takes commitment on the part of the parents, but once the pattern is established, it’s not so hard to maintain. You and I would doubtless be less fussy about foods if we’d lived in a similar environment. Note that my friend and his wife didn’t insist that their kids eat whatever now, at this meal, so help me God. They just made sure that it showed up, as a bigger portion of each succeeding meal, until it was eat or starve. Knowing that will happen, you might as well just eat it now.
I absolutely refuse to eat sauteed yak penis (with a wine reduction). No thanks..
Can not eat liver. It looks good and smells good but it makes me throw up. Last time I ordered it (by mistake in morrisons cafeteria line) at FSUs Suwannee Hall I wiped out the communal table.
English peas were originally called such because they came from England. Now I suspect the moniker loosely fits anything delmonte and green giant wish to put it on. I am very fond of just about any kind of peas and lately have really gotten into edamame. They really compliment a seared rainbow trout in cream reduction sauce I am fond of.
pt, I just now saw your comment. Sorry. I will eat chicken livers (and then feel guilty) but not any other kind of liver. I like edamame too. I first had it a sushi restaurant on College Ave. called Jasmine, do you know it? It’s on the South side of the street between Adams and Monroe downtown. Maybe we can have lunch there when football season starts and you’re back in the neighborhood, or you can go on your own if you’re pressed for time.
My ex loved chicken livers. Have you had a colonoscopy recently? (lol)
Jasmine is in a great nostalgic location, however sushi is not high on my list and Sushi patrons tend to look down on red necked Bubas like me.
I have a new addition to the Evans family now in Tallahassee and my windows of socializing just got smaller. Just have to see how things work out this fall. Thanks for the invite though:)
pt…congratulations on the new family member! Boy or girl? I do have to comment about sushi and Bubbas. Jasmine doesn’t just serve sushi. As for Bubbas, you have to remember where you are. When the Legislature is in session, Jasmine is jam-packed with guys from (pick some rural redneck county) who wouldn’t be caught dead eating this kind of food at home (as if they would have the choice). Of course, they are all wearing suits, so I guess that counts. You’re a sophisticated guy, much more so than the above-named pick-a-county people.
“Hey FN……..watch this!!!!!!”