I have always enjoyed trying out new things. Trying on ideas and testing them out to see if they fit. I have been known to try just about anything once, maybe twice if alcohol is involved, everything that is except food. When I was young my diet was made up of choices from a very limited and self imposed menu. Then once married, my lovely wife began sneaking all kinds of unlikely items into my lunch, or hide things in my dinner. To prove my undying love and loyalty I would suffer anything, even bean sprouts in my ham sandwich. Over time I overcame my reluctance to explore new food and slowly started to seek out new and unusual culinary adventures. With a few exception of course, I still will not touch broccoli.
So what’s up with broccoli? For that matter bustle sprouts, beets and turnips? I have to figure that sometime in the ancient past a man stumbled across some wild broccoli and said to himself, “My but doesn’t that look yummy” and tossed it into his mouth. You would have thought that after a bit of spitting and stomping it would have stopped there, but no, some people actually pay to eat this stuff.
This brings me to one of my co-workers. Larry is a serious coinsure of wild game, not so much a hunter as a trapper. Hunting involves stalking game; trapping seems more like collecting road kill. When I pass by our break room during lunch and catch a whiff of Larry’s lunch I can tell just by the odor that it didn’t come from the grocery store. “So Larry, what’s for lunch?” I would ask. “Beaver tail, would you like some”? “No thanks Larry, I had beaver tail for breakfast” Then Larry would go on a long story about how difficult it is to cook beaver tail and how if not done right the fat will make it swell into a disgusting mass. Ok, how much more disgusting can it get? Beaver tail, Squirrel stew, lemming casserole, what’s next? Hey, how about some nice shrew spleens? I just made way too much skunk testicle sausage do you want some?
To me this is the meat version of broccoli. Nature produces all kinds of wonderful tasting creatures including Elk, Antelope, Deer, Cows, Pigs, Chickens and many more. What makes a person actively pursue, and eat animals that most people consider to be vermin? Ok, vermin may be a strong word, how about varmints? In a survival situation I would eat slugs to survive, however, when a person is relatively prosperous why would he eat something that is normally used to challenge contestants on a game show? Your challenge today is how many squirrel lower intestines you can eat in a minute, ready.. set.. go!
I understand that different cultures have different tastes. I look forward to testing out all kinds of interesting cuisine from all over the world, someday. But I will continue to wonder where people came up with the idea to put something in their mouths that has never been tried before. I like to think that it started as some kind of cave-teen hazing ritual.
“Ok Grog, your turn to try Mastodon snot”
“No me first, me, pick me!”
“Shut up Larry”