Strange things I have eaten

When I cast my mind back I can remember eating a few strange things.

A whole large bottle of Virol, eaten furtively in the cloakroom at boarding school was divine at the time, but put me off Virol for the rest of my life.

How the cook at boarding school managed to get that pimply, gritty skin on the jelly, and make the banana custard so watery, so lumpy, so brown and full of stringy things and so utterly gag-worthy is a tribute to their culinary ingenuity, and remembering them still makes my stomach heave.

Once I ate a raw flying ant. But only once.

As the guest of honour at a family feast in rural Italy, I was offered the choice part of the chicken. No, it was not the Parson’s nose. It was the entire head, comb, eyes, beak and tongue. An honour which I declined and was then offered the feet to suck, which I also declined, and thus forever labelled myself as a “fussy foreigner”.

Eating an exquisite cold coffee mousse at an upmarket Malindi restaurant, I found a sugar-lump sized cube of something chewy and rubbery in it. When I asked the chef what it was, he replied that it was a piece of pork fat. I asked why he had put a piece of pork fat in a sweet coffee dessert, and he replied that that was what the recipe said. I can’t help feeling something must have been lost in translation.

But for sheer weirdness, I very much doubt that I will ever eat anything quite so peculiar as an unripe persimmon.


8 thoughts on “Strange things I have eaten

  1. I get confused….we used to have ‘proper’ persimmons when i was younger…that had to be bletted like medlars (wonderful)…and then the Israelis invented sharon fruit which are terminally nasty whatever their state and I can still remember how my teeth felt on biting into one unwarily.

    I’d love to see that original recipe as used in Malindi! I’m not telling Mr. Fly as Malindi ranks with the Maldives with him as hell on earth…and he would gloat…

    Lunch with Madeleine often involved roast chicken…and yes, the comb,tongue and kidneys were always offered…but luckily not the head or feet!

    School dinners were lovely at primary and junior school….but moving up gave rise to throwing up….hideous concoctions. I asked permission to go to the tea rooms in the village and lived on omelettes for lunch for seven years.

    Here people are finicky eaters…no challenges!

    • Oh, Fly, I LOVED Malindi back in the early 60s, before it was overrun with the sun, sea and sex brigade. We used to stay in really primitive little huts, eat freshly-caught lobsters (or lombsters as our houseboy called them), and just sit listening to the whisper of the surf. Once it became an “in” place it was ruined; couldn’t walk on the beach without being tugged by small children inviting me to go to the “men village” in the evening for jig-jig, and all the menus were suddenly written in German and featured kartoffeln. Then we moved on to Watamu; but that’s probably been spoiled now, too. 😦 Seasons greetings, happiness and good health to you and Mr. Fly. x

  2. Sheep’s eye ball…that’s mine. But I am assured these days that my Northern taste for white tripe and trotters is “gross!”

    I did eat an earthworm pizza somewhere once…they were showing how proteins are easily available for free. It was neither horrible nor delightful. Just a pizza.

    Sucking on a hen’s foot? Doesn’t sound much of a treat to me!

    • My grandmother used to cook white tripe – it looked like a face flannel that had been left in the bath for too long – in a creamy onion sauce, and it was delicious. I used to love Italian zampone – stuffed pigs’ trotters, too. But that was long before I became a vegetarian. Earthworm pizza – I doubt that even in my most adventurous gastronomic adventures I’d have been tempted by that, protein-rich that it may be. 🙂

  3. Kimchee in Korea, lots and lots and lots of it, the hotter the better as what appeared in my bowl was so horrid – and I really didn”t want to know what it was either – that the kimchee was needed to mask the taste. To make things worse the chop sticks were made of metal and tainted the food.

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