March 20, 2012: Odd Eats!

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).

March 20, 2012: Odd Eats!
You'll usually find the pig ear somewhere between the tripe and the pig's feet.

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.

March 20, 2012: Odd Eats!

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:

March 20, 2012: Odd Eats!
I prefer my shakes so thick I can eat them with a spoon.
March 20, 2012: Odd Eats!
Now that is greener than green!

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?

44 thoughts on “March 20, 2012: Odd Eats!

  1. I was served Chicken feet in Taiwan once…

    The experience was no where near as good as your cherimoya fruit experience. Think gristle with toenails.

  2. I can’t really say that I’ve eaten anything I’d consider weird in recent memory. But a hot dog with ketchup considered sacrilege? That’s how I learned to eat hot dogs. Then I added relish…maybe a little mustard. Nothing wrong with that at all.

  3. G’day Joe

    PS My Mum and family and the house are fine. If the storm took a detour North-west, they would have been right in it.

    Janet

  4. Haven’t eaten anything odd in ages. 🙂 Grew up eating cherimoyas, or anona (from the genus Annona) in Guatemala. Unfortunately, it’s not often that I find them here. If you ever find sapote, try it, it’s delicious as well. Oooh, and jocote maranon (that first “n” has a squiggly thing over it, I don’t have Spanish on this keyboard). I became allergic to bananas and papaya a few years ago, so I’m always on the lookout for fresh tropical fruits that I can eat. I’ve never liked apples (but love pears) and most of the fruit here is either tasteless or not sweet (although pineapple is always wonderful). Fruit-based desserts are good when made with really good fruit!

  5. Horse meat over in China. It has a very strong gamey smell, and it’s a once in a lifetime thing for me…

  6. I bought kumquats on a whim recently at Trader Joe’s, mostly because my 11-year-old likes the word and randomly inserts it into conversations. Boy, was he surprised! It’s nice, although sour. I have a bag of pureed kumquat in the freezer I need to use. Any ideas?

  7. Janet, my writing partner lives about 8 miles away from where that storm hit. Said they were all very lucky.

    Joe, haven’t had anything odd recently, but hubby was pointing out recipes from The Hunger Games. Might have to try one of those.

    Have a great night!!!

  8. @das: That flavour pie is not my favourite at all! I find it has a rather bitter after-taste. 😉

    I don’t think that I’ve eaten ANYTHING that weird lately. I am trying to branch out a little, but I was much more adventurous years ago.

    Probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten was on a trip to Australia quite a few years back. In an aboriginal outback tour, we had the chance to try Witchetty grub (http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo183033.htm), which of course I did. I tried it cooked as I couldn’t really conscience the idea of it wiggling on the way down my throat, and it actually wasn’t that bad. Kind of like scrambled eggs cooked with peanut oil. The skin is not really chewable though so you have to spit that out.

    On that trip, I also tried a camel burger, which was totally delicious!

  9. And now that I’ve thought about it a bit, I’ve had a relative of cherimoya called guanábana. I loved the taste of it (and I agree it tastes like a combination of pineapple and banana). I especially like the juice, which I can buy in cans in the Hispanic-Food isle at the local grocery store.

    You might find this interesting:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soursop

  10. Recently, it would have to be the carrot ice cream I churned today. My bf got an ice cream maker back in January and we’ve mad ice-cream-making fools ever since. Never the same flavor twice. Another “odd” flavor (which, along with Bailey’s Irish Cream flavor, was one of my favorites) was the Earl Grey ice cream we made a few weeks ago. Like a London Fog, made into an ice cream! Yummy!!!

  11. Since when is ketchup on a hot dog wierd?

    Wierdest thing I’ve eaten lately was a bug. But that wasn’t on purpose. 🙁

  12. hmm… That Thing looks like one of them Dragon Eggs from GAME OF THRONE, without the makeup! 😀

  13. Yeah, I had my day (pigeon brains), but I’ve eaten nothing weird lately.

    I’m eating a cobbler made of store-bought, mixed berries. I’ve never mixed fruit for a cobbler before. And the types of berries in the bag don’t ripen at the same time so that seems like a bit of fuss, but still not that weird.

  14. Since I have lived my entire adult life in the subtropics my experiments usually involve variations on citrus. The ugli fruit is pretty tasty but if you have the chance try a pomelo. This is by far the greatest of the citrus fruits. It tastes a bit like a less bitter version of a grapefruit. They seem huge but the rind is really thick so they are a lot smaller inside.

    Oddly enough I developed my pineapple allergy as an adult. I naturally started gravitating away from it and it was only when I was cutting one up for kabobs that I looked down and realized that I was breaking out in hives. It’s a pain because pineapple juice is a filler for pretty much all mixed juices and punches. Cooked isn’t as bad but it still itches as it goes down. The resultant Barry White voice is pretty hilarious though.

  15. I recently picked up The Walking Dead Compendium 1, and while I wasn’t blown away by the art, the story is definetly keeping me interested. It’s surprising how unparallel the show has become since the first two or three episodes.

  16. Weirdest thing I’ve tried recently was beef bacon from Whole Foods. It’s only bacon-ish, but an excellent substitute for those that can’t eat pork.

    Actually, I’ve used it as a base to create pork-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative-free, soy-free meals that everyone in my family (with different food allergies) can eat. My fav is beef bacon, pineapple, onions, and rice. Although, it’s a bit tastier if my nephew isn’t there and I can add half & half and butter.

    – Bloomgate

  17. Everytime I make a peanut butter and bologna sandwich with mustard, I recognize I’m a little odd. Your pea green shake reminds me I was watching The Exorcist the other night…

    @ Mike A. – If I could figure out how to do it, I would post pictures of my extremely cute, beautiful little beagle Maggie. She has people smiling everywhere we go.

  18. Recently? Not much, I live in Utah. I’ve successfully evaded funeral potatoes and green jello with carrot slivers. Can’t say the same for Mormon Muffins.

    I suppose the Odawalla Superfood juice I have in the fridge is as close to odd as I’ve gotten in years.

  19. @ gforce – Bitter is my middle name. 🙂

    Not really sure I’ve had anything unusual lately. Dolma (stuffed grape leaves), perhaps, but they’re not weird to me. Maybe the strangest thing I’ve eaten lately was the other day when I mixed plain Greek yogurt in my pork fried rice. That’s about as weird as I get.

    das

  20. I’d have to say the sweet potato tots, drizzled with maple syrup I had two weeks ago in San Diego. While the ingredients weren’t odd, the way they were prepared was, but very rewarding. Almost too sweet, but still enjoyable.

    But you make a good point, I’m due for trying something new and different. Gotta do some local eatery research…

    -Mike A.

  21. After thinking about it, and the fact that some consider sea urchin odd yet I don’t, I’ll have to add one of my favorites from a local Italian restaurant: Spaghetti with both(but seperate) Mizithra cheese with brown butter sauce and a white clam sauce. The Mizithra is beautifully dry and salty with a sharp bite-y note but the brown butter sauce smooths it out with that little touch of smokey sweetness. The white clam sauce is creamy, smooth and, while easy on the palette, offers its own gentle complexities. The clams aren’t the best I’ve ever had, but are better than most places.

    Something else I had while I was in San Diego(while it wasn’t odd, I have never had it before) was a lobster roll at Studio Diner. Studio Diner was the place I saw on Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives. The owner mentioned he flew in fresh Maine lobster three times a week. Where else on the west coast am I going to get a real, fresh Maine lobster roll? Exactly. I had to get it. not particularly adventurous, but it was fantastic!!! The lobster was so soft and meaty, not chewy or gummy at all. I was instantly sad because I knew right then and there after that first bite all the other places that either ruin lobster or use the fake stuff. Now that I know what it’s suppose to taste like, it’ll be hard to order it most other places anymore.

    That’s it this time. Really. I’m done.
    -Mike A.

  22. Not particularly odd for us, but in May I will be enjoying some rather delicious Paardefilet (Horse fillet) when I visit my hubby’s family in Belgium..along with the fresh white Asparagus which will be right in season…I have no qualms about eating it because a) I love it, b) it’s healthier and leaner than many meats and c) I’ll basically eat about almost anything..

    Again not odd, but last night I had a wonderful family meal to celebrate my son’s birthday at our favourite Fish Restaurant…whilst the my son tucked into langoustine with garlic butter and Lobster Thermidor, I had baked crab on toast and a whole Lemon Sole grilled with brown shrimp and butter, fresh spinach and green beans…with a cold Muscadet to wash it down in all it was a rather nice way to celebrate…

    And yes, I took pictures, because I learned that from you…

  23. My neighbor has a tree with produces fruits similar to the cherimoya. Over here, it’s called “coeur de boeuf”. It might just be a little different, like comparing peaches and nectarines. It’s damn good though. And that is a surprisingly healthy breakfast you have there. I would probably do away with the almond milk and use real almonds. I might throw in a tomato for its lycopene content as well.

    Raspberry, blueberry and blackberry are great for breakfast. I also tend to use avocado, chocolate flavored protein powder, oatmeal and powdered whole milk, blended in water after working out. It’s like drinking liquid chocolate pudding.

    My favorite fruit, however, is the good old fig. There’s nothing quite like it.

  24. Recently, not much. However I remember in my younger days being taken to a local eatery in Spain and given a kebab ‘thing’. I say – thing – because the shape looked horribly familiar. When I asked my date what it was, even in his broken English I realised it was sparrows on a stick.

    Yup, I’m a hypocrite, and while I will happily eat chicken, turkey etc, tucking into those cute little birds who nest in my hedge was a bite too far for me!

  25. A big NO on the shaved pig’s ear but I would love to try the cherimoya. I live in the Tennessee/Mississippi area and we don’t have exotic foods. I’m lucky to find fresh rhubarb at the store. However, I love to hear about your culinary adventures. So keep um coming!

  26. I like ketchup on my hot dog too. =)

    Since my wife has been out of work, my food experimentation has been on the back burner. But last summer I did eat pigs brain as I was carving the deliciously wood-fired oven roasted sucker down for a party.

    It was “meh”. I didn’t much enjoy the texture, and it was very metallic tasting. But it did makes the kids scream, so that was WIN!

  27. Let’s see…the oddest food I think I’ve eaten was alligator. It’s not bad…and it does taste like chicken. 🙂

  28. Maybe not weird to some,but I tried to eat turkey bacon, bad, can’t see how it can be made good, so nevermore, yuck, I need some ice cream to wash it down please. I saw some flowering things in the local park that look like that first picture, but I am sure they were not edible. Have a great day!

  29. (Joe Wrote: What’s the oddest thing you’ve eaten recently?)

    Odd? No! Daring? Definitely! I have VERY picky eating habits – I like my food cooked to a point where it’s practically incinerated.

    My beloved (sadly now passed away) mother-in-law always believed food just needed warming through. This rule applied to ALL fridge and freezer foods. Since she insisted on making us a meal whenever we visited, I want you to imagine how daring I had to be the day she served, what I perceived to be raw sausages. Granted they were the Quorn variety, nevertheless, they still needed cooking!

    “Would you like two or three?” she asked, serving them alongside cold baked beans and partially solid chips.

    Not wishing to offend, I valiantly accepted two pale white sausages and proceeded to drench them in black pepper and brown sauce. Placing a tiny sliver onto my fork, I inched the semi-frozen delicacy into my mouth, started to chew and continued chewing for several minutes until I eventually found the courage to swallow. I don’t know how long it took to eat lunch; I do know I swigged at least two cups of tea immediately afterwards in a futile attempt to mask the taste.

    Ice crystals on the pizza, stale bread, milk past its sell-by-date and the same utensils used to serve the cat and humans alike! Yeah, lunch with the in-laws – always interesting!

    CountryGal

  30. FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT!!!!!
    @Coyote: Pay attention to that Barry White voice! Get tested for food allergies and /or see an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor. You’re putting yourself at risk for anaphalactic shock, which can stop your breathing…and your life!

    @Deni re ” ñ / Ñ ”

    If on a Windows PC, the occasional ñ, other non-English characters, and symbols can be inserted from the Character Map. If you write bilingually, you can set up the US /nternational &/or alternate-language.keyboard. Search “Help” (in Windows &/or word-processing program) for instructions.

    On iPad / iPhone, just “hover” over the related key on the English keyboard; alternates should pop up.

    On other systems, you’re on your own. 🙂

    @Das: Yogurt in pork fried rice rivals my old, pre-sensitivity favorite, scrambled eggs with cottage cheese.

    In case my earlier entry doesn’t post, my current oddest food is yeast-free rice bread. Tastes cardboardy, but at least I can have something that –looks– like a sandwich.

  31. I think it is entirely normal to eat turkey franks or sliced turkey on a roll with spicey mustard. Just like I have hamburgers with mustard. I reserve ketchup for my baked mac & cheese dish.

    Oddest thing I’ve recently eaten is a Kit-Kat like candy bar from Brazil. A co-worker has family from there and he shared some candy sent his way. It was 90% cacao with a crisp layering in between, like a Kit-Kat bar. Very yummy-licious!

    Back to work for me!
    2cats

  32. As for weird foods, I don’t think I’ve actually tried anything unusual, even though my Dad used to tell me when I was a kid that chicken breast was octopus.

  33. @TeesterX:

    You actually ordered that?

    The Chicken Feet or the Pizza? 😉

    Actually I didn’t order it. I was visiting a Contract Manufacturer in Taiwan for a customer of mine here in the ‘states. As I don’t speak Mandarin, I was working through an interpreter who had to “check out” on me one evening and so he left me in the hands of the office staff who did not speak any English.

    They proceeded to take me out to dinner and ordered me a set meal. The Chicken Feet were served to everyone as a starter and I was “encouraged” through various smiling “eat…eat” hand motions to enjoy the Chicken Feet. Since “Face” is very important in Asian cultures, I decided not to make an issue of it and I ate them. I couldn’t stomach the toenails though, so I would discreetly spit them out into my napkin while pretending I was coughing. Luckily, there were only three Chicken Feet on my plate, so I didn’t have to “cough” too much 😉

    The top entry here is similar to what I ate:

    http://www.teachenglishinasia.net/asiablog/10-foods-taiwan-1125.html

    I have since learned a little Mandarin, but gave up when my trips to Taiwan stopped.

  34. JeffW: Wowizer! That story reminds me of Indiana Jones. I might eat chicken feet deep fried/breaded but …I’d have to be VERY hungry.

    Susan Bowden: I loved your in-law stories.

    Mr. M.: What are some of the odd foods that you hated? Disgusted you? Would you eat chicken feet with a smile? Could you?

  35. @Tam Dixon:

    Wowizer! That story reminds me of Indiana Jones.

    Lemme guess…the Temple of Doom Monkey-Brain scene, right?

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