Anyone ever watch Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel? My husband loves it. I enjoy it for the gross-out factor and the interesting places he goes, but David . . . he actually thinks most of this stuff looks good. We’re talking intestines stuffed with . . . stuff. Every kind of creepy-crawly you can imagine . . . things fermented in the ground for three years. Yeah. Yucky.
It occurred to me when watching one night that most of these foods are well capable of scaring normal folks off. Which led to a “mwa ha ha” moment in the book I was working on at the time. My heroine was trying to scare off my hero (to avoid another heartbreak at his hands), so at one point in the story she resorts to a truly bizarre menu that would make Andrew Zimmern proud.
This scene has the distinction of making one of my critique partners question my sanity (waving, Carole), another alternately laugh and ew on every line (that would be Stephanie) and the third put questions like “Are you sure you’re okay??” in the margin (Mary;-). Their reactions just made my mwa ha ha all the louder.
To research, I started on the Bizarre Foods website, went to the forum, and followed the links to the different recipes posted. And let me just tell you, there are some mega weird and disgusting foods posted. Truly disturbing in some cases.
My character settled on an appetizer of dung beetle dip (where we got the line, “Just think of them as peanuts. Really big, crunchy peanuts. With legs.”) followed by a first course of calf-head (cooked with the heart and lungs of course), and the main course–fruit bat soup. Which is bad enough in name . . . just wait until you have to shampoo those little critters before you cook them. (Can’t skin ’em until they’ve stewed for a while.)
Grossed out yet? Yeah, me too, lol. In spite of what people might think when they read that or see the show up on my television, I am the Queen of Boring when it comes to food. I eat my salads with nothing but shredded cheddar and Ranch dressing, my burgers with nothing but ketchup, and mac & cheese still ranks as one of my all-time favorite meals. But hey . . . if we can’t explore new foods in the pages of a book (when our tastebuds are safe from the experience, lol), where can we?