What’s the oddest thing you’ve eaten recently? Now when I say odd, I’m talking about odd “to you”. For instance, some of the food I’ve eaten over the course of my travels to Asia would be considered odd by many while I would consider the same items singular at worst. Whether its lamb neck, sea urchin, or deep-fried chicken joints, one person’s only-on-a-dare is another person’s exotic favorite. Sure, I may have considered any of the aforementioned decidedly odd the first time I tried them but they’ve since made the transition to unique but perfectly acceptable menu items as culinarily legitimate as, say, a spicy tuna roll or a hot dog with ketchup (considered sacrilege by many Westerners, I actually share this Japanese affinity).
So when it comes to offering up my oddest recent food entry, I’d have to skip the shaved pig ear salad (that I get every time I’m at my local Chinese supermarket because it’s so damn good) and go with the cherimoya, a fruit I picked up on a lark the last time I visited Whole Foods. I’ll sometimes do this whenever I’m feeling particularly brave, pick up some as-yet-untested item from the produce aisle and bring it home for a sampling. Given my general disdain for fruit, I consider this much more challenging than giving something like cod sperm or chicken sashimi a go.
As soon as I returned home, I googled cherimoya and learned that it is also known by its nickname, the ice cream fruit (which boded well for this culinary explorer). It’s flavor has been described as a cross between banana and pineapple, two fruit I actually enjoy (the latter maybe less so because I think I may be allergic). Google also directed me to videos of individuals demonstrating the proper way to eat a cherimoya, including one clip of some skeevy-looking dude scooping the fruit into his mouth and spitting the seeds out onto the table in front of him. In retrospect, I’d recommend checking out the countless written how-to guides instead – especially if you’re planning to put the advice into immediate practice.
It seemed straightforward enough so I cut my cherimoya in half and dug in.
The verdict? Good. Damn good. Actually, downright delicious. Yes, definitely a banana-pineapple flavor with a buttery texture, Akemi felt, akin to avocado. And very sweet – which was a turn-off for Akemi but a big plus in my books. The only drawback are all the seeds which, while easy enough to remove, take a while to fully separate out because there are so many of them. Yes, I suppose I could have just popped a spoonful into my mouth and spat the seeds onto the table like the guy in the video, but I generally don’t eat fruit on its own. I usually incorporate it into my breakfast shake: a banana, some almond milk, about a tablespoon of flaxseed oil, a tablespoon of unsweetened peanut butter, a little protein powder, a touch of matcha, a handful of berries (either blueberry or blackberry), and a free agent fruit be it a papaya, pear, or, in this morning’s case, a cherimoya. The results were spectacular:
So there you have it. I tried something new and was richly rewarded – something to consider the next time you’re served something “odd”, gifted a sky diving class, or offered the opportunity to invest in a surefire can’t-fail get-rich-quick scheme!
Okay. Over to you. What’s the oddest thing you’ve eaten recently?