View Mobile Site

Column: Trying new delicacies not easy

Posted: August 29, 2018 1:07 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2018 1:00 a.m.

One of the hardest things about traveling in a foreign country, besides not being able to understand the graffiti on the restroom walls, is learning to eat certain native foods.

I was offered “head of young cow” in France once.

I declined, stating an aversion to eating anything with its ears and nose still in place.

In the Soviet Union, I was served something that was blue. I never did find out what it was, but I have a rule not to eat anything that is blue.

I was aboard the French sailing yacht, Le Flute Enchante, recently, and we had anchored in a small Aegean cove for swimming and skiing.

I watched a man swim out of the water on the nearby shore with a rather frightening looking creature he had just rendered lifeless with a spear gun.

“What’s that?” I asked our skipper, Jean Pierre.

“Octopus,” he said.

I had seen pictures of octopus (since I have no earthly idea how to spell the plural of octopus, and don’t feel like trying to find out, we’ll just stick to octopus to mean one or several).

But here I was only a few feet from one. It was pink. It looked like a bowl of Jello somebody had taken one of those garden weasels to.

The man who speared the octopus then proceeded to bang his catch over the rocks.

“Why is he doing that?” I asked Jean Pierre. “It looks pretty much already dead to me.”

“He’s tenderizing the meat for cooking,” the skipper answered. “They’ve been doing it here that way for many many years.”

I added octopus to my list of things never to eat. It did not look that appetizing and I don’t want to eat anything you’ve got to bang over rocks for an hour or so to get the toughness out.

Besides, you remember all those movies they made out of Jules Verne’s books where octopus and other sea monsters ate entire ships. I can’t see how anything that would attack a ship would be very good to eat.

That evening, we pulled into a tiny port and the Americans who were traveling together decided to take the French crew out to dinner.

Jean Pierre did the ordering. I had no idea what he said to the waiter, but he brought out enough food to keep a small army marching for several days.

I picked out the fish, the salad, the cheese and the bread. There was also a fried substance with an outstanding crust and delicious white meat inside. Shrimp, I figured.

After we had finished eating and the wine bottles were mostly empty, Jean Pierre asked me, “So, how did you like the octopus?”

That’s what the fried stuff was, octopus, and I had eaten it. I congratulated myself on learning to enjoy a new delicacy and fancied myself as quite a man of the world when it came to food.

“This is definitely haute cuisine,” said another American at the table.

Wanting to show my newly discovered ability to be at home at any table in the world, I replied, “It’s not all that haute if you blow on it a little before you put it in your mouth.”

(Lewis Grizzard was an award winning and much beloved Southern writer and syndicated columnist. He passed away in 1994.)

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Contents of this site are © Copyright 2018 Chronicle Independent All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...