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But will you eat it?

“*Dahl and…ketchup?”

Now, in my opinion *ketchup can go with anything. YES! Anything edible, that is. But my friend just wasn’t feeling my vibes. His *pan screw right round the room and came back to settle right on my dahl and ketchup again.

“Nah! Somethin’ wrong with you,” he concluded.

I didn’t see what the problem was. Food is food. Who cares how you mix it really once the end result is not totally vomitrocious, and I’m sorry but dahl and ketchup is more than acceptable in that case. So, set to prove my dish unworthy of total weirdness, I did a little research.

There are a lot of things we eat here that foreigners would think are not worth consumption. *Crix and milk for instance. I know a lot of people who find that combination does ‘*cut’! But one of my foreign friends told me she could never eat that. “That’s dog food,” she laughed. But that’s on the lighter spectrum. Blood pudding or sausage is on the extreme. I believe it is one of the strangest foods we have here. Pig blood, breadcrumbs and rice, all rolled together. Yum! I wouldn’t eat that even if it was smothered in ketchup.

Tobago’s last *Blue Food festival as well as the one in October 2010 featured dasheen as their special ingredient and you saw almost every kind of food made with it from dasheen pizza to dasheen pone and dasheen ice cream!

Still I don’t think we could ever beat back the strange kinds of food that come out of other countries. In Hungary they have a blood dish as well. Blood Eggs they call it. Let your imagination wander on this one, and if you come up with eggs scrambled in pig’s blood, you’re the winner! It’s a tradition of course meant for the first pig of the season. Isn’t that pig the lucky one!

However, Rat, a dish from Northern Thailand, leaves nothing to the imagination. You ask for Rat, they give you rat. Plain and simple. They nice it up of course, stew it whole and serve it in a thick chilli stew with rice. But is still just a dead rat you eatin’! Ah, tastes like chicken!

Now we’ve heard of smoked herring and smoked ham but in Indonesia you can get smoked bats right off the market. Just imagine vendors yelling from their stalls “get your smoked bats, five rupiahs a pound!”

The French can give those zombies some competition as they seem to be just as crazy about brains as they are. Animal brains that is (we hope!). Whether fried or stewed, inside the head smoked and baked or outside the head sautéed in tomato sauce, they love brains!

The Spanish get their weird trills from criadillas. No, they are not related to quesadillas but rather consist of an extremely odd section of the bull or the pig. Suck it in fellahs and be glad you get to keep your testicles because your little male animal friends get theirs sliced up and barbequed. Spain’s Italian neighbours seem to like to pick on the male side of the animal kingdom as well with their classic Tuscan dish, cibreo or stewed cock’s combs (the red ridge looking part at the top of the cocks head).

Asia is king when it comes to weird food mainly because they view everything that moves as potential to be consumed, no matter how big or small, cute or ugly, and no part must be wasted. If you can eat chicken foot soup, monkey toes will suffice as well. Once it can take heat, it’s going into the wok! In Changsha in China, you can even choose to have your meals cooked with breast milk instead of normal milk to bring out your nurturing side. Now, that is weird.

Okay, let’s move away from the obvious extreme though. A lot of everyday foods have some weird ingredients as well. Like every time I feel a marsh mellow I think about the animal gelatine (fat) that helps give it, it’s bouncy goodness…yum, yum!

In Poland you can find jell-O made out of the fats and oils that seep from seasoned boiled cow’s feet called nozki. Remember that word, NOZKI, if ever you go to Poland and someone offers you jell-O! They have a type of packaged meatloaf in the US made out of grinded hog’s head called Scrapple and be careful, the canned corn beef we so love may just be pork brains, depending on the country it was manufactured in.

Even Cheese and Yogurt, which are basically bacteria fermented milk in different ways, though loved the world over are high on the everyday accepted weird food list. Strangely enough, it’s the only two things Asians stay away from. ??

So next time, you turn your nose up at someone’s ‘odd’ food selections, check yourself, because you might just be consuming bacteria fermented milk or pork brains, depending on where your corned beef was shipped in from. Now, will you eat it?!

Written by – Travesaou

Words you may not have known:

(pan): Face (body part)

(dahl): yellow split peas

(ketchup): in Trinidad and Tobago our tomato ketchup is the sweetest in the world mainly because it’s made almost entirely of pumpkin, not tomato, despite what the packaging says.

(Crix): a small, flat salt biscuit made in Trinidad and Tobago

(cut): to fully satisfy hunger

Blue Food Festival: see http://hototonallthatjazz.blogspot.com/2010/10/she-broke-cap-off-bottle-and-put-mouth.html