Eyeballs Anyone?

I have dared on many occasions to eat outside my comfort zone. Such occasions included but have not been limited to: Chinese shark fin soup, Thai stir-fried squirrel and deep-fried crickets with a dash of salt and vinegar. But there are times when the look/idea/thought of putting something bizarre into my mouth actually puts me off my food all together. The wrinkling of the nose, screwing shut of the eyelids and pouting of the lips is the tell-tale warning sign that I shant be eating what has been placed before me.

It was only a few weeks ago that I listened to a rather amusing but ultimately a nose-wrinkling-eyelid shutting- lip pouting story about lutefisk. Little did I know that this same Scandinavian delicacy of air-dried and then lye soaked white fish would arrive at work to be cooked for a segment a couple of weeks later. If you’ve never seen lutefisk before then imagine fish that looks like Jelly (that’s Jello for all you Americans). Alongside, this highly potent gelatinous excuse for a cod fillet) was to be served, baked giant water bugs, fried scorpians, civet coffee- anybody retching yet? No? Then I’ll continue- boiled eels (garnished with diced tomatoes and olive oil), roasted lambs head (seasoned with Maldon sea salt and the finest olive oil), eyeballs included.

You may not be retching yet but I am now typing with my eyes screwed shut just thinking about it. So much so does this make my stomach that I have no pictures to show you of the final dishes. Cooking these little treats was traumatizing enough for me. But I am told that the venturesome Andrew Zimmern thoroughly enjoyed popping a lambs eyeball at 7:42 am in front of millions of viewers who had previously been enjoying their breakfasts. If I had not already been at work, I might would not have made it in.

With all the hungry people in the world, I’m ashamed to write anything scathing on matters pertaining to food and had I grown up in a household where our Sunday roast had been lambs head, I’m sure I would still to this day be fighting with my siblings over who got to pop the eyeballs. Squabling over wishbones suddenly sounds so tame. It is for this very reason (my unadventurous culinary childhood) that perhaps I shall never have a taste for some of the worlds signature delicacies; Twinkies included.

3 Responses to “Eyeballs Anyone?”

  1. 1 Anne Pundyk March 16, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Having grown up with basic mid-western (American) fare, I share your inexperience with eating unusual animals, their odd body parts, and most gelatinous food textures. I wasn’t deprived of over-processed sugary desserts, however, so I can’t say I’d put Twinkies anywhere near the above categories. Having once had a strange version of a French desert involving whipped egg-whites floating on some sort of sweet liquid (called “Floating Island” I think) I can see how its possible to make something sweet repulsive, but it would be a rare occurence. To each his own!

  2. 2 donbax March 22, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I ate guinea pig in Peru. Absolutely vile. It arrived on the plate decapitated, but otherwise whole, having been roasted with it’s fur on, so the skin turned to leather. It was on it’s back, legs in the air, lain on a little bed of rice

    Oh, there was a little sprig of coriander on top, which could have been a garnish or a funeral wreath…

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