About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, July 10, 2006
The Gross Factor
Settled in with daughter M on the couch. Outside it was dull, overcast and very cold. The wind was picking up before a new low pressure system arrived, maybe some much needed rain and snow is on the way. We flicked across a few channels and came across the National Geographic channel. When I was a kid, I used to wait with eager anticipation for each new edition of the magazine. The lovely glossy photos, well written text, the exotic far away places with barely imagined stories, nirvana for a curious boy from a far flung continent at the bottom of the world.

So it seemed a natural place to stop and have a look at our amazing planet.

There was the usual quota of wildebeest eating giant crocs, monkeys snatching their babies from the very jaws of death, killer whales surfing up to a forlorn and windswept beach, grabbing unsuspecting baby seals to eat before one unforgettable scene, when one of the whales gently brought a seal back to the shore and gently deposited it there unscathed.

Then all of a sudden there was a program about some of the unsavoury things we like to eat, kind of like extreme eating. It started innocently enough with what appeared to be witchetty grubs in what looked like Papua New Guinea. The natives had collected enough for a feast and proceeded to pop live, uncooked grubs into their mouths. Just in case this wasn't enough of a gross out, one of them ripped a grub open to display the viscera, before consuming his little protein snack. I probably need to confess here that there wasn't too much ewww factor for me, as when I used to split wood for the fireplace, quite often there were witchetty grubs present in the red gum. What better snack for a hungry woodchopper?

The next segment ratcheted the ewww factor up several notches, when we were shown Sardinian maggot cheese. In this next piece of entomophagy, it seemed the locals favoured wheels of cheese that were deliberately infested with maggots and consumed the cheese, wriggling maggots and all. Apparently as the maggots work their way through the cheese, eating and defecating, it gives the cheese a wonderful creamy texture, so what the Sardinians are really eating are maggots and maggot poop.

By now M and I have started joking together and I said to her maybe we should have a big bowl of the eyeball soup that featured in Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom. "No way!" she said.

Lastly the program headed off to Korea for some octopus eating. Well that doesn't sound too bad, until you learn how they like to eat them. With the smaller ones, they wrap them, alive, tightly around two chopsticks, dab them into some dipping sauce and pop them into their mouths. Apparently the charm of this dish derives from the interplay of the sauce with the wriggling death throes of the octopus. With larger specimens that won't fit whole into ones mouth, the Koreans simply chop off the tentacles, then chop them into bite sized pieces that still have plenty of life left in them. However there is a bit more risk attached to the consumption of these larger sections. Not only do the tentacles still wriggle but the suckers also still work. If you do not chew them properly, like you are in a hurry to get the whole damn mess down your throat, you are in danger of asphyxiation if the manic tentacle attaches itself to the inside of your throat and chokes you to death.

Nice bit of Karma that.
  posted at 7:23 am

At 9:21 am, Blogger Reb said...

thank god oysters don't have tentacles.

At 8:21 pm, Blogger pentacular said...

Sounds just like trying to swallow Liberal party policy. Geeekkk!!!

At 9:13 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi reb, some people have been known to grow them after eating oysters ;-)

Hi pentacular, and then it just runs straight through you.lol.

At 10:15 am, Blogger Angela said...

You are joking about the grub, right? I can imagine chopping wood works up an appetite.....but you couldn't wait to get home for some veg soup and a tasty sandwich?

But, then again, during my more adventurous years (read: young and dumb) I sample different types of ants.......the red ones are a bit spicier!

At 5:24 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi angela, no I wasn't, they have a peanut taste about them. Amongst aboriginals here there is a long tradition of eating them. Sometimes cooked, sometimes not.

They also eat ants as well, in particular the honey ant that stores nectar in its abdomen.

At 10:38 pm, Blogger Shell said...

OMG! I so enjoyed reading this ... but in future i will place a bucket beside my puter ... silly me, not to have believed the title for this blog, eh? I agree that karma has been well served up, raw and squirming here!
I did exhale a huge "awwwww" about the whale though ... and laughed like mad about the other animals. That was actually a brilliant lead up to the ugly stuff ...
I am VERY sqeamish about food and anything slimy, wriggly, still alive and recognisable is not for me! LOL. Recently I watched a CSI episode centred around those manic tentacles ...

Now ... about your next recipe for brunch?? *padlocks your kitchen*

At 11:57 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi shell, glad you liked it. Now I need to have a talk to you about my padlocked kitchen!

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