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Monday, September 29, 2008

Whatcha Eatin’?

I’ve been an adventurous eater all my life. When your father says things like, “No, no, this is too good for kids”, you, of course, want to try it. While our friends in the trailer court were eating fast food and things from cans, my father was beating the hell out of a coconut with a hammer in the driveway. Just how do you open those things, anyway?

So would I like to try a new food? Yes. Will I try what you’re eating? Sure!

But sometimes… Sometimes…

Two years ago, Kathy, Amy, Leah, and I went to a rally marking the day of the 2000th U.S. soldier to die in the Iraq war. None of us were supporters of the war, and neither were the other hundred people who gathered on a corner on Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis.

After the rally, we walked a couple blocks down to the Holy Land Deli. We hadn’t realized it until we arrived, but it was Ramadan. The restaurant was packed. Everyone was dressed very nicely and ready to eat after a dusk-to-dawn fasting. People talking, laughing, eating – the place looked like a family reunion. And did I mention that it was packed?

The buffet looked fabulous. Grab a plate, go through the line. Mmmmm. Don’t you love a buffet? I’ll have a little of everything.

And that’s what I was thinking that night: I’ll have a little of everything. And as we all sat down, Kathy leaned across the table, eyeing my plate. “Hey!” she said. “Where did you get the breaded mushrooms?”

Ha ha haaaa! I have mushrooms and you don’t!

Mmmm. What should I eat first from this plate full of Middle Eastern goodies? The largest mushroom on my plate. I love mushrooms. I popped it into my mouth and bit down, anticipating the lovely flavor of mushroom…

Oh. Oh, no.

That was not a mushroom. A gizzard, perhaps. Or perhaps – insert shudder here – a testicle. But not a mushroom. Whatever it was, it was an organ meat of some kind. Chewy, gristle-y, breaded organ meat. I stopped, the "mushroom" sat, static, in my mouth. What in the world was this?

I was suddenly aware of my table mates.

“What’s the matter?!” Kathy’s face mirrored the shock on my own.

I closed my eyes, held up the index finger of my right hand: Wait.

In what was possibly the bravest thing I did that year, I chewed, hastily, and swallowed, then washed it all down with a large Coke.

“What? What?” Everyone at the table was watching.

“A gizzard,” I said. “Possibly a testicle.”

Kathy was no longer jealous of my having found the “mushrooms”.

And I didn’t finish them.


Barbara Blundell said...

Could it have been an eyeball perhaps ? Was it all squashy and juicy ?

Kavi said...

That was one heck of a mushroomed account ! It kept me gripped till the end !!


Pearl said...

Barbara, I only WISH it had been squashy and juicy. This was most definitely some sort of gristle, perhaps cartilaginous in nature... (I may or may not have just made that word up...)


Kavi, my hope here is that someone can give me some sort of indication as to what it might have been... Then again, maybe NOT knowing is part of the, um, fun. :-D


Lilly's Life said...

Oh yuck. I am gutless when it comes to different foods although I have eaten grasshopper which wasn't so bad. That sounded disgusting though - gristly, oh I need to go find some cike now....

Judy said...

Thanks for visiting me and your great comments on my blog. I enjoyed your post about the food. My birthday was this weekend and my son and his wife took me to a Japanese restaurant for sushi. I had never tried it before. I have to admit I really liked it and will probably go back for more! I love your style of writing.

ugich konitari said...

Pearl, as a pure vegetarian, who shudders to even see fish with eyes all cooked , decorated and displayed ready to eat, i kind of automatically almost clicked on the Back button as you revealed the possible identity of the "mushroom"...

Yikes. (Do a blog about apple pie and ice cream next ? ....:-)

Pearl said...

Hi, Lilly.

Grasshopper?! Now THAT'S a post...

What's a cike?


Hi, Judy!

I tried sushi for the first time a couple years ago, and it can be addicting... I crave it at least twice a year and there's nothing to do about it but give in...


Hi, Ugich!

Ahhh! For that, I apologize!

Surprisingly, I actually HAD a piece of apple pie and a little ice cream last night. Truly!


Lila said...

hahah really funny! Luckylly I don't like any mushrooms :)