June 19, 2019

More Yummies . . . by Joseph G. Evrard, Staff Kentuckian

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From time to time here at Guy Stuff Central, we like to pause to examine the state of world gastronomy. Cooking is not only a necessary and vital thing; it is also a source of recreation and pleasure for untold millions of people around the world. Food hobbyists are legendary in their quest for the new, the unique and the spectacular menu item. Cooking clubs abound and the Internet is full of cooking and recipe chatter.

Keeping up with the world of cooking and food is an overwhelming task, but fear not.  Your good friend Buck is here to bring you up to speed on what’s new and unique in the world of food. Let’s take a trip around the world and see what’s going on.

In Newfoundland the latest and greatest is Seal Flipper Pie. This concoction is made by browning flour-coated flippers in hot oil and then baking with onions and spices. There is some controversy about the political correctness of this dish, as environmentalists and animal rights activists are trying to close down the seal hunting industry, but if everybody listened to those folks the whole world would exist on spring water and rice cakes.

Camel’s Feet is, believe it or not, a French dish. A recipe in the Larousse Gastronomique tells you how to prepare the dish with vinaigrette dressing. (It’s just before the recipe for camel’s hump.)

In Indonesia you can buy smoked bats in the open-air markets. The three-inch-long flying rodent-like things are said to taste like beef jerky. I think someone would have to be jerky to want to try them.

Norway is the place to go for sheep’s head. This is prepared by smoking it for several days then cutting it in half. Each diner is served a head half and is expected to eat it all including the eyes and tongue.

In Korea the current rage is live baby octopus, which are eaten whole.  You dip them in a bowl of alcohol, which puts them to sleep then pop it down the hatch. Adventurous diners are encouraged to skip the alcohol bath, which makes the party more exciting because the little devils fight back as you’re swallowing them. How ungrateful can you get?

The Japanese give us Mountain Potatoes (fanfare please). The Mountain Potato is a root, which is grated and eaten raw with raw tuna and raw quail eggs (there sure is a lot of raw going on around here). The charm of this dish is said to be the transparent slime given off by the Mountain Potato as it is grated.  Fortunately the slime is tasteless.

If you’re looking for a real treat go to  Brunei for  some Ambuyat. This is made from the heartwood of the Sago palm tree. The wood is chopped to the consistency of sawdust then boiled in water for several hours. It’s ready to eat when it resembles rubber cement in texture and color.
People who have tasted it say it’s very much like eating glue.  You have to swallow quickly because you can’t breathe while it’s in your mouth. Add to this the fact that it’s tasteless and you have all the elements of a perfectly charming dinner party.

No discussion of offbeat foods would be complete without mentioning bugs. Often thought of as the quintessential “yuck” food, bugs are surprisingly popular around the world.
Without going into a lot of detail, a short list of bug yummies includes; Scorpions from Vietnam, Baby Bees from Japan, Tarantulas from Cambodia, Hornet Grubs and Fried Spiders from Thailand and Silk Worm Grubs from Korea.

With just a little playing around in the kitchen you can produce Banana Worm Bread, Rootworm Beetle Dip and Grasshopper Chocolate chip cookies. The last is supposed to be good with a tall cold glass of Yak milk.

We mustn’t ignore poultry lovers in our food tour, so here’s a delicacy or two for the lovers of feathered food.
Owl Soup comes to us from China. It’s important to include the head of the owl in the cooking pot or the finished dish just won’t taste right.

Also from China comes Duck Feet. These are reported to be much more tasty than chicken feet and go well with rice and soy sauce. From the Philippines we have Balut, which is essentially a well-rotted duck or chicken egg. They are prepared by burying fertilized eggs in the ground for several weeks. There, the eggs develop partially formed embryos before they start to rot. Eaten soft-boiled, these goodies are known as “eggs with legs” or “the treat with feet.”

Well, I hope our little culinary journey has served to whet your appetite and encouraged you to venture into the kitchen with new vigor and anticipation.

I have been deeply affected by the research required to write this piece, which is why I’m on my way out the door for a carry-out pizza!

See ya around,

Buck

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