After being challenged by Susan Kane at thecontemplativecat, I have been digging through my brain archives to think up some weird foods that I've tried that were surprisingly good. As I began thinking about this I was taken back to my mid-twenties when I was on a national tour with the Ken Griffin magic show.
In a post in June of 2010, I told how Ken Griffin was the one who first introduced me to menudo. I had always thought of myself as a pretty adventurous person when it came to food, but once I started being around Ken Griffin I was introduced to some foods I had never considered.
Ken had been around a lot in his life. He grew up near Deming, New Mexico not far from the Mexican border. He'd spent years as a saddle maker and leather craftsman in the ranch country of Montana. He and his wife had toured Viet Nam entertaining the soldiers during the war. In his broad range of life experiences he had also encountered a lot of different foods that I had never tried.
One of the favorites that he was known to whip up in a crock pot in the motel rooms was chicken hearts and gizzards. The thought of these did not appeal to me at all. However, he doctored them up with onions, an assortment of spices, and other ingredients that I don't recall and set them cooking all day in the crock pot. I was pretty adamant about not trying these at first, but after a while the aroma started smelling pretty good. They weren't the best looking things in the world, and I'll warn you if they're not cooked right it's can be darn close to eating rubber, but after twelve hours or so cooking in the crock pot they were tender and savory in taste. Haven't eaten them since, but enjoyed them several times with Ken.
He also talked me into trying pork brains and eggs. I guess I was up for anything back then. It's not your normal restaurant fare--you're not going to find these at Denny's or I-Hop--but when we stopped at some truck stop and he saw them on the menu he knew what he wanted. And though I wasn't too enthusiastic about it I let him talk me into ordering them too. Maybe I was just so hungry that anything would have tasted good, but I downed the plate with no problem and with no bad after-effects.
Then there was the time in Indiana when a friend of Ken's invited us to a local bar where they were having a happy hour special of sorts and were serving lamb fries. The place was rowdy with congenial working folks chowing down on platters of lamb fries and downing them with beer. Everybody seemed to be enjoying them so I got a platter. They were thin sliced, batter covered. fried crispy golden brown discs that looked similar to home fried potatoes. They had a pleasant chewy texture with a light meaty taste that was maybe closer to clams or something like that.
As I enjoyed my lamb fries and was working on my third or forth beer, I asked our host what lamb fries were anyway. He informed me that they were sheep testicles, sliced thin, battered, and deep fried. That momentarily gave me pause. Then I looked around the room and saw everyone happily munching away. What the heck! They tasted darn good and I still had beer to wash them down with. We ordered another platter and some more beer. I was hungry. And my philosophy is that if I see a whole bunch of people eating something and enjoying it then I'll be willing to try it too.
I hope I'm never in a bar full of cannibals or worse yet, zombies.
Have you ever tried lamb fries or rocky mountain oysters? Do you have a good recipe for hearts and gizzards? Does it unnerve you when you're having breakfast and the group of unkempt half-dead looking people at the table next to you tell the waitress they want brains?
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