February 7, 2005
Next IMBB - Feb 19th

The next Is My Blog Burning? event is February 19th and the theme is a lttle different than in the past. This time out, for "Is my Blog Taboo? and "You are What You Don't Eat." hosted at My Latest Supper.

The idea is to either introduce something you eat regularly to a local culturally different friend who might find your dish distasteful, and record their reaction. Alternately, try something you find disgusting or taboo and analyze your reactions and thoughts about the food.

We've done a little of this in the past in what I had hoped to make a regular feature - I Wouldn't Eat It. Back in February, 2004 I sampled Marmite (or as I called it at the time - "salty yeast crap"), and after taking several months to recover, I tried a lovely can of Pennywort drink which, as god is my witness, tasted "humid" to me.

Now, I have a problem with this IMBB, much as I did keeping the "I Wouldn't Eat it" feature going - I'm just not that squeamish when it comes to food and my friends are wise to me. No chance I'm getting one of them to try something new I haven't already forced on them.

I don't eat meat, but I have in the past, and at one time or another, I've had brains, kidneys, liver, and since I liked hot dogs, probably lungs, face, and other tasty treats. The brains were kind of nasty because of their texture, but the rest were fine.

I once suggested to Meg that she try and write up that reputedly nasty Scottish concoction haggis for an "I Wouldn't Eat it" feature, only to find that she loves the stuff and has no problem with it whatsoever. In fact she seeks it out. That was a disappointment. (Did you have your Burns' night ration this year, Meg?)

So what the heck am I going to try? I'd rather not go back to meat just for a spectacularly nasty something. I'm pretty sure I can't get casu marzu in this country (though, man, that would be spectacularly nasty).

More thought is required. You can be sure we won't let our entry deteriorate into some "Fear Factor"-esque exercise in grossness for grossness's sake. Maybe I need to watch some more original Iron Chef episodes.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at February 7, 2005 2:14 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

I know it sounds disgusting but before judging you should try casu marzu. I was tricked into eating it and... it's nice! Slightly spicy, very aromatic and a bit... crunchy ;-)).

Posted by Alberto on February 7, 2005 at 4:01 PM

Oh man, Alberto I can't believe you tried that stuff. I admit I'm curious, and it certainly would fit as one of my few food prejudices. I'd be willing to try it for the sake of science (and because I'm reasonably certain I wouldn't die from it), but the chance of casu marzu making it into the US past the FDA is approximately zero.

Posted by barrett on February 7, 2005 at 4:09 PM

Yup. I'm with you on this one. I'm stumped so far. It's not the taboo so much as just not liking the taste of something that keeps me from eating it. I'm also super-adventurous and so are most of the folks I know. Getting someone I know who eat something because it's taboo doesn't seem likely. Especially not on account of it being an online virtual event! That's just not compelling enough...

Posted by Cooking with Amy on February 7, 2005 at 5:10 PM

Where I live there are a few things that most Westerners avoid, including, but not limited to, the following:
--raw pork in blood sauce
--congealed blood
--various fried insects

The first is a Northern dish. I tried it. Wrap in cabbage. Spicy enough so you don't focus on the fact that you'll probably get trichinosis. The second is common in curries (especially from the Northeast). I think I ate this. I don't remember the taste. I won't go into the whole story, but no, I was not drunk. Thirdly, I can't bring myself to patronize the bug carts. Finally, durian is the grossest thing that I can think of that's not from the animal kingdom. OK, once I thought it was OK, but after trying it the first time, it's a wonder I went back to it at all. It's also something you might be able to procure in the US. If you can't find durian, jackfruit is "poor man's durian".

Posted by Khun bpla on February 7, 2005 at 6:43 PM

A safe bet might be to find a good Vietnamese boba house, and experiment there: most people find the idea of strange gelatinous slugs in their beverages a little disconcerting , and the various flavors (avacado? durian?!) are even scarier, so you can make believe that you are stretching your limits, but then in the end the drinks are all basically just fruit smoothies, and so it's all good.

Failing that, go to Devon St., buy a bag of Hot Mix from an Indian grocery, and make a Hot Mix and Jelly sandwich. (That was definitely the most ... intriguing ... invention of a friend of mine in college who went through a period where all sorts of food were combined with jelly, and at least on the surface it seems to violate all sorts of culinary taboos.)

Posted by Sweth on February 7, 2005 at 9:40 PM

I have a friend who used to eat peanut butter garlic and banana sandwiches...

The gelatinous slugs were a great punk band in the 70's. Or they should have been if they weren't.

Posted by barrett on February 7, 2005 at 11:15 PM

What a coincidence! Last night as we were flicking channels we chanced upon the River Cottage episode where Hugh Fearnley ate his wife's placenta. That led to an IMMEDIATE click on the remote to another channel. I might have been curious for five seconds, but as soon as the Critic twigged what it was about it was gone from the screen. Happily, the placenta that supported my son Kieran was properly disposed of by the American hospital so Barrett can't suggest I try THAT!

Barrett, I think it is your duty to prosperity to try the peanut-butter, garlic and banana sandwich. Back in university when we laughed at our friend for eating them he replied loftily that we couldn't know unless we tried it. Now's your chance to vindicate us!

Posted by Meg in Paris on February 8, 2005 at 5:56 AM

Yeah the placenta is right out. I draw the line at cannibalism. I mean, no, it's not a leg, but if it's not human, what is it?

I don't even think the pb&G is all that disgusting. I'll try it, but I'm not sure it'll be all that big a deal. Ditto with the jelly and hot mix sandwich.

I'm thinking I have something but it may not be available this time of year. You''ll have to wait until the 19th to find out what.

Posted by barrett on February 8, 2005 at 8:44 AM

According to http://away.com/features/gross_1.adp, if you aren't willing to do away with the ban on meat, you can't really be eating anything gross...

Posted by Sweth on February 8, 2005 at 9:24 AM

I haven't ruled out non-crustacean fishlife. I was thinking insects at one point, but I remember that during the cicada invasion, while people were having fun cooking up insects that one professor of entomology warned those with shellfish allergies to avoid eating cicadas, crickets, etc... because they could trigger anaphylaxis.

I'll do a lot of things for our readers, but anaphylaxing is NOT one of those things.

Posted by barrett on February 8, 2005 at 10:45 AM

I've been wrestling with this theme, too. I just don't have many food aversions, and will even occasionally eat meat.

Ironically, just 12 hours before I read the IMBB? announcement, I gently declined an offered bite of one of my genuine taboo foods: veal. If I had known then what I know now, would I have eaten it? I just don't know. I do know I'm not willing to buy it, however arbitrary that may be.

Posted by Elsa on February 8, 2005 at 5:01 PM

It's a relief to find out I'm not the only one struggling with the theme. Think... think... think...

Posted by Karen on February 11, 2005 at 10:45 AM

Can you get fugu where you live? Do stay clear of tetrodotoxin.

Posted by Khun bpla on February 21, 2005 at 9:31 PM

I am fascinated with this post.

At the checkout lane today (where they usually temp you with mints and gum), I couldn't resist this impulse buy:

Brand's Bird's Nest Beverage with Collagen (Sugar Free). I plan to bring it back the US to try with friends (if any are interested). The swallows use saliva to make the nest and the collagen evidently is made of "marine fish extract". This popular brand can be served "normal, chilled, or warm temperature". It appears (from googling around) that this is an Asian home remedy for the flu or something like that. It looks totally disgusting.

Posted by Khun bpla on March 7, 2005 at 1:19 AM

Te Birds nest thing is a health drink, very good and people pay top money for it !

Posted by Jean on July 20, 2006 at 10:35 AM
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