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IMBB 12: Prologue

The monthly event which inspired me to bake red bean paste bread puddings is coming up again in the better part of two weeks. Normally, this wouldn't warrant the advanced notice I'm giving you, but since polls are fun, I thought you could all help me decide what I'm doing for it this time. This time around, the theme is "cook something that you wouldn't normally eat because you find disgusting or taboo".

There are quite a number of foods in the world which may taste just fine, but which I have diligently avoided my entire life. I need to choose something I'm willing - at some level - to prepare, so I'm skipping on deep-frying. (But really, I should try poutine before I leave Canada.) Thus far, these are the foods I'm choosing between to prepare on or before February 19th. Your input is, of course, most welcome.

Which of the following foods should I try eating?

Marmite or Vegemite
Anchovies *
Frog legs
Something else for which you will argue in a comment.

* I ate an anchovy once on a pizza when I was young, a ball of fishy-flavored salt, and have been avoiding them ever since. Last night, I was reading Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating, and it assured me there were good anchovies in the world, and told me how to find them. I'm still somewhat suspicious.

Important note: I am a creature of delicate sensibilities, especially when food is involved, so don't make any overly disturbing remarks in the comments please, or I will be unhappy.


( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
Whether or not I try them, I'm still happy to photocopy the two pages from Zimmerman's Guide for you, so you'll know how to buy good anchovies.
(no subject) - rosetta__stone - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chickenfeet2003 - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
i hope this isn't overly disturbing...
If you are a creature of delicate sensibilities, please, for the love of God, don't get a Durian. Kevin always talked about them from his time in Indonesia. They're not allowed on planes or in hotels because of their stench. I didn't believe it until someone brought one to the party I went to on Sat. Oh my god. It smelled like mango dipped in rotten garbage. When we cut into the football shaped nast, we were met with a texture of rotting bananas...I tasted it. I will never try one again, and I'll try anything. :-) Kevin said that the one that we cut open at the party wasn't very fresh since it didn't stink up a 10ft. area, but I'm still appalled that he's eaten Durian icecream...maybe when its dilluted in something it tastes better.
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: i hope this isn't overly disturbing...
It's true, the others probably wouldn't smell so agressively. I'm fairly sure I can buy durian purée in some of the Chinatown stores, which might skip the worst of the smell, but would still leave me with the taste. Durian ice cream sounds the most accessible of these options, actually, if could find it! Not that you're giving me any reason to.
Re: i hope this isn't overly disturbing... - morganlf - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: i hope this isn't overly disturbing... - owlfish - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re:Durian Ice-cream - kashmera - Feb. 7th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Durian - p_zeitgeist - Feb. 7th, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
In lieu of anchovies try Thai style salted fish which makes anchovies seem positively tame. If very brave you could try bplah daek, fermented fish. I confess I have not yet been brave enough to tackle the latter.
Feb. 7th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Do you happen to know of Toronto sources for any of these things? (Not that you're really selling me on them at all, you know.) Fermented fish sounds more like an ingredient you'd use in some other dish than a dish in its own right, but hey, there's a remarkable variety of fermented products in the world. I'm none so sure I'd want to try fermented yak's milk either.
(no subject) - chickenfeet2003 - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
I've got a pasta recipe for anchovies that looked pretty good. I'm gonna make it when lent starts. as for tonight and tommorow i need to eat all that meat in my fridge urg, unfortunatley i really don't want meat today :(
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Meat freezes well for a few months if you don't want to eat it now. If anchovies win the vote, I'll definitely be interested in how the pasta recipe turns out.
(no subject) - aquitaineq - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aquitaineq - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
Marmite is disgusting.
Snails don't taste like much except the garlic butter they're cooked in. Garlic butter is great, but I'd just as soon dump it on bread and eat it that way.
Anchovies are fishy-flavored salt and I don't care what Zingerman's says.
Durian is a brave choice.
Frog legs taste like generic dark meat.
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Any suggestions for an alternative food-experiment I might have otherwise avoided trying?

I've had haggis and blood pudding, and while I'm generally not keen on eating internal organs, I've at least had them before, to my general lack of interest. Every once in a while, foie gras can be really, really good, although I generally don't like liver. I'm not willing to do anything involving eyes or marrow right now, marrow because it makes me think too much of hoot & mouth disease, regardless of the animal involved.
(no subject) - owlfish - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maxineofarc - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aquitaineq - Feb. 7th, 2005 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Feb. 7th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aquitaineq - Feb. 7th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
Snails and frogs legs -- not fussed either way. The snail is a vastly inferior mollusc to either the mussel or the scallop IMHO. Frogs' legs are ok but fiddly.

I've voted for the durian purely because I've just finished the Patrick O'Brien novels, in one of which durians (and their infamous smell) feature quite prominently.
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
Mussels can be good, scallops are just okay - their density makes them less interesting to me, for some reason. I hadn't had many before last summer's Nova Scotia trip, but I tried them several times along the way there since they were a local specialty.

In other words, you're saying that despite my avoidance to date of snails and frogs' legs, they wouldn't actually be very adventurous choices in terms of flavor.
(no subject) - lazyknight - Feb. 7th, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aquitaineq - Feb. 7th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Good first try
Snails and such are difficult to prepare properly: like clams and scallops and such, if they are the slightest bit overcooked, they get rubbery. They're very delicate, and I think you would actually like a properly-prepared snail, but it would be hard to cook them.

Anchovies have a lot of flavor, and can be added to dishes in very very very small amounts with amazingly positive results. You wouldn't end up with a mouthful of fishy salty ick, but a nice, rich smokiness throughout the entire dish. And it's hard to go wrong with them, if you're cautious about the amount you add. They're a natural place to start, I'd say.
Feb. 7th, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Good first try
Do you have experience in cooking snails then? You sound like an experienced snail-eater. As well as an experienced anchovy-buyer.
Feb. 7th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
I actually like snails quite a bit. First consumed though while on JYA, during the pre-program on one of our field trips, this one to Dijon.

When properly prepared, they have a subtle, earthy taste - but I've never cooked them -myself- only had them in a restaurant. You might consider trying a snail soup recipe though - I had a wonderful duxelle d'escargots in Paris in one of the restaurants right near where we all stayed back in 1998. The earthy flavor of the snail was still present, but the soup was thick and creamy and rich otherwise and delicious with bits of toasted bread. I'm not coming up with a recipe for it on a quickie search of various sites, though I'll keep looking.

Here's a classic snail recipe to try though, from epicurious</a..
Feb. 8th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
The snail soup sounds quite good - even if it does contain snails. Snails are currently winning the vote, so I might well be investigating snail soup recipes in the near future. Thank you for the information.
Feb. 7th, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, you totally need to try poutine. But get a small one--it's really only good for the first few bites. I don't know where one would get good poutine in Toronto--just don't go to Harvey's ...

As to anchovies ... if you put them in something, they're not so bad. Like pasta. Then again, I eat them out of the tin & so might not be a good person to ask ... ;)
Feb. 8th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
There are two poutine-places in this city which have received superlative reviews. Of course, neither is a straightforward poutine (duck confit and such as toppings). One of those two places is, however, located in an extremely convenient place. I feel as if it might be cheating to opt for "gourmet" poutine, but it is my closest option, and does come recommended by various guides.
(no subject) - of_remedye - Feb. 8th, 2005 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2005 05:46 am (UTC)
I agree that frogs' legs aren't worth the trouble (they actually do taste like chicken - really boring chicken).

Have you ever tried beef tongue? That may actually not be all that exotic, so pardon me if you've been there, done that. If you haven't, though, it is quite a good boneless (obviously) meat, with an interesting texture.
Feb. 10th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
I have not tried beef tongue - the concept never appealed, but it's good to know it has redeeming virtues. I may yet. Thank you for the description.
Feb. 11th, 2005 05:15 am (UTC)
Durian and anchovies
The beginner is advised to start out with anchovies in a mushrooms, olives, pineapple and anchovy pizza. The pineapple cuts the tastes in the anchovies which bug some people.

Durian is one of those things that you will either hate a lot or get addicted to. There seems to be no middle ground. I noted, during my stay in Taiwan, that most taxicabs in Asia have "No Durian Eaters" signs. This refers to both the act of eating them in the cab and having previously eaten so many of them that you will now smell like a Durian for several weeks.

/Don (spectrum die-evil-spammers ca.inter.net)
Mar. 5th, 2005 12:34 am (UTC)
new flavors and textures
Accidentally ran into this site looking for cuttlefish recipes. I did not find anything on cuttlefish but there are some interesting food items listed. I discovered some fresh durian meat that was wrapped in cellophane, then boxed in clear plastic with tape around the edges. It looked interesting. The whole fruit was near and it looks like a green cannon ball with spikes. I heard there are people in Thailand that wear helmets while cutting durian from the trees. I had to buy it. I put it in my refrigerator on Sunday afternoon. When I returned from work on Monday about 6pm my apartment smelled like smoked onions and rancid butter. I was a little scared but I removed the tape and opened the container of fresh durian. I heard the taste is better than the smell. Well, I tasted an insignificant amount to find out the smell did not give my taste buds a chance. Amazing that you can buy fresh durian in Los Angeles.

I like anchovies every now and then. Looking for something to eat while in college seven years ago I created a pasta dish that I still like to prepare now. Take a can of good quality anchovies and saute them with the olive oil from the can. Add some fresh ginger thin slivers of ginger and thin sliced of one garlic clove. Add a vegetable that has been steamed. I had some parsnips I cut them into 1/4 inch pieces steamed and once soft added to anchovies that melt away in a saute pan. Boil Farfalle pasta until al dente and throw them into the pan. It taste better if you add a little extra-virgin olive oil to taste. Sprinkle with Manchego or any sheep/goat cheese. I'm done with cow cheese.

Let me know what you think about the recipe at gomezrobert@gmail.com

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )