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Archive for October, 2011

Exotic Eats Challenge!

Every now and then I like to step outside my comfort zone.  I like to flirt on the borders of what some deem abnormal and dance on the edge of bizarre.  My latest adventure was part of an Exotic Eats Challenge that I have with a magazine client.  He and I challenge each other to various exotic things to eat.  The first challenge was the Giant Toasted Leaf Cutter Ants.  My client responded by bringing to the table meal worms and crickets.  I in turn took it up a notch with Mopani Worms.

So today was Mopani worm eating day.  Take a look at the picture, these worms are MASSIVE!  Alive they are almost as long as your hand, cooked and dried they are as long as you thumb.  They’ve got little spikes covering their backs which you pick off before you eat them.  They’re native to Africa and are a delicacy to Botswananians.  So when I saw these at Edible.com they went into my shopping cart basket so fast!

So my client and I met for lunch and I brought out the worms.  He can’t believe how gnarly they are.  Reluctantly he picks up a worm and finally pops it in his mouth.  You can see his face turning a slight shade of red as he’s chewing the worm.  After a slurp of ice tea he manages to say they’re disgusting!   But as he chewed further he ends up saying not too bad.

My turn now… I pick up my worm and put it on my tongue.  Ice tea ready I start chewing it.  It’s got a texture of crunch spongy tofu.  The taste isn’t really horrible but it also isn’t pleasant.  It’s hard to describe the taste but a close comparison is a combination of tree bark and dirt.  I think I really expected the taste to be unbearable, but in reality it wasn’t so bad despite my facial expressions.  Now I won’t be snacking on these bad boys any time soon, but it’s just another exotic meal that I can put a check mark next to.

Eye Ball – Check

Giant Leaf Cutter Ant – Check

Meal Worm – Check

Cricket – Check

Mopani Worm – Check!

What’s next?  Not sure… I’m thinking the Giant Horned Beatle or Scorpions! Stay tuned for the next Exotic Eats Challenge!

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My family is Italian and part of being an Italian is that you are usually a pretty darned good cook.  Granted it’s not always the healthiest of meals, but by god they taste good.  My mom can cook just about anything.  They only exception is garlic bread.  It usually comes out looking like a smoking hockey puck. But other than that, she’s a master in the kitchen.  My mom loves to cook so she routinely has guests over that she can cook for.  I get a call usually every two weeks with her raving about the gourmet meal that she made one of her friends and how delicious it was.  These meals range from filet mignon to lobster spaghetti and everything in between.  From the descriptions they sound amazing!  So when my parents invited Jeff and me over for dinner, we were expecting a gourmet meal with all the trimmings just like she makes her friends…  Instead what we got was a pot of gruel.

 

Now she was attempting to make BBQ pulled beef.  What it ended up looking like was a mushy pot of steaming Alpo dog food.  The meat had no consistency at all.  It literally mushed in your mouth like split pea soup.  In desperation she immediately started cooking a chicken and turned it into BBQ pulled chicken.  Nice recovery, but it didn’t stop the taunts and teases from me, Jeff and my father.

 

“Boy I hear all the time about the Bacon wrapped scallops with pepper cream sauce that you serve to M and K, and we get served wet dog food.  I see where I stand in the family.”  I lovingly commented to my mom.

 

She just starts laughing and finally comments “Hey now!”

 

Jeff chimes in “Boy think you can scoop me out another dollop of Fancy Feast?”  (Fancy Feast is gourmet wet cat food)

 

My mom shouts back, “NO!!!”

 

Finally my mom says that to make amends she’s invited us over for a “Gourmet” meal on Sunday along with my brother and his wife.

 

Jeff immediately comments back “So you’ll be cooking us beans and weanies!”

 

My mom just about peed her pants.

 

The BBQ chicken did turn out great.  She even made homemade coleslaw.  It really was an excellent recovery, but we were rolling on the floor laughing will all the dog food, grey meat comments.  Thanks Mom!

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