Interesting Eats

INTERESTING EATS

Interesting foods I have had around the world would seem like a short list.  I love food, but am only adventurous when it comes to good food, nothing like bugs, brains or other disgusting things, but to each their own as to what is good and what is not.

If its a sin to eat animals, then I am going to hell for sure.  I am not proud of that, but I certainly am not ashamed that I have sampled many meats from many animals most have not.  Alligator, Antelope, Boar, Bison, Buffalo, Calf, Chicken, Cow, Duck, Elk, Hen, Lamb, Ostrich, Pig, Rabbit, Squab, Turkey, Venison, and I am sure I forgot a few, but mostly anything except roadkill, rodents and anything I consider too precious to eat, and yes, that would include bear, giraffe, tiger, lion, cougar, and the species are too long to list, but as you can see, I am mostly mainstream.  A lot of my friends are hunters.  And, while I would never personally want to hunt and kill a deer, I do realize that in this part of the area I live in, they are over populated and driving home late at night I have to avoid hitting as many as 5 of them.  I much rather see them hunted, not just as a licensed sport, but also that only one can feed a family for a year.  I think this is a far better alternative than killing one by accident with your car which could easily bring death to you, your loved ones, children, another oncoming car or family, not to mention the trauma to the animal, or even the thousands of dollars it could cost to replace the car if everyone survives.  For this reason, I do believe that hunting is a good thing even though I personally do not do it and would rather not participate.  But I do feel its a legitimate source of food, much more over the factory farmed chickens and beef we so “humanely” buy in supermarkets without actually hunting and “killing” our dinner.

Seafood is a much broader subject.  Many vegans also dismiss eating anything living as “meat” even if its fish, but the truth is, if we eat bugs or plants or vegetables, those too are living things.  And if we stopped consuming farmed animals and ate only fruits, vegetables, pasta and beans, vegans must remember we are also consuming an animal’s food source and let’s face it, if we consume their food source, not only do they starve, but those animals living die of old age in a painful way and many people are out of work and also going to starve.  I hope I don’t have to illustrate this and everyone can easily understand that we just can’t stop eating any one thing and not have it have a direct effect on another ecosystem, including humans.

So, when I talk about interesting eats, I am talking about things that are not so common where we live in North America.  Eating fish eggs might sound strange, but its caviar, even when its roe.  Rabbit in Sicily isn’t some fluffy cute animal we find here, it is a hare, and it actually resembles something more like a very small kangaroo with short hair, its a long mangy animal, not so attractive, and yes, the meat is white and lean and can easily be overcooked and dry, just like chicken since they are similar in size/cuts of meat.

The most horrible thing I ever had was either the alligator in a NYC Chelsea restaurant in the early 1990s which was deep fried, tough to chew and tasteless like a hard chicken nugget, or the ostrich burger which was mostly lean and even soy, ketchup or steak sauce could kill the nasty taste.  As an Italian, I’ve had tripe (the lining of a cow’s stomach) and of course liver, but no animal organs really impress me, not mentally, not culinarily.  It’s just not my thing.  So let those guy on the cable television programs eat bugs, bull testicles, brains, genitals, or whatever else they wish.  I am not judging, I am not putting anyone down, but for me, food is supposed to be appetizing and taste good.  If it does not sound appealing, or look appealing and that is 90% of your experience, then stray away from it.  However, if you are looking for new foods and experiences, DO in fact try something new, even if as a small bite before a main course, you do have to broaden your horizons, and that is the only way you can mature culinarily.  So, experiment, if you don’t like something at least you can say you tried it and absolutely don’t like it (as I shamefully say about tripe since its Italian & Spanish comfort food).  I am cautiously adventurous and there is nothing wrong with that.

See something in the meat aisle like bone marrow? Try it (I find it too oily and greasy), in the seafood aisle, see something like razor or steamer clams, try it, they are delicious!  Even in the produce aisle, try different types of fruits like pomegranate, mango, papaya, acai from Brazil, even if in juice forms.  Experience different flavors.  Sure, we all know kiwi by now, but consider even blood oranges from Sicily over the Florida or California orange and you will taste a tangy twist.  Always try to buy fresh and juice yourself, avoid pasteurized/processed juices.  The taste is like day and night… completely different and nothing beats fresh – EVER, unless its wine that has not fermented and aged!

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