“He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food”

The sun is back after a three-day hiatus. I was on the deck earlier to fill the feeders and noticed how wet all the wood still is. I hope the sun stays warm enough to dry everything. Usually this time of year the fields near the marshes have turned brown, but this year has been so cool even those grasses are still green. August is generally the hottest month but not yet.

Yesterday Peapod came so the larder is full again and that got me to thinking about food, Glorious Food. I eat a lot of different foods that I never even knew existed until I was an adult. My mother fed us what we’d eat and seldom experimented with our taste buds. We were kids and kids didn’t taste. Kids looked. I know what our reactions to hummus and guacamole would have been. They look like baby food, ejected baby food, and we would have made disgusting noises and pushed the dishes aside. They happen to be two of my favorites now. We only ate white bread. I never buy it now. I buy grainy breads, naan or pita breads. We would have rejected naan and pita. They’re round. Bread wasn’t round. It was sliced. Vegetables were unknown territory aside from potatoes, carrots and green beans. We liked meat. Hamburger was common in so many different dishes. We never cared. They all looked and tasted good. If you had told me I’d eat goat, eel and bushmeat when I was older, I would have been horrified. Even as a teenager I never expanded my palate. There was little opportunity for that. Chinese was the exotic food in town. The start of my food journey was Ghana.

It was at my live-in where we each stayed with a Ghanaian family as part of our training that I became an adventurous eater out of necessity and cultural sensitivity. On the porch outside my room was a table and on the first night dinner was put on that table. It was some sort of meat, a soup and something gelatinous. No one was there to explain what I was eating. I figured I had to use my hand as there were no utensils so I broke off a gelatinous piece, dipped it in the soup and cautiously put it in my mouth. No chewing was necessary. It slid right down my throat. The meat tasted okay but it was fatty and bony. The soup was pepper hot but not too pepper hot. I ate most of the meal because I didn’t want to offend my host family.

We got comfortable with each other and family members started to sit and eat with me sharing the common soup bowl. I found out the gelatinous blob was T-Zed, the northern Ghanaian staple food, and the meat was goat. I wasn’t bothered at all by the goat or the blob. By then I had spent three or more weeks in Ghana and I just ate what was put in front of me. I did have favorites and I did have foods I didn’t like, never liked the whole time I was there, but I tried everything. My palate expanded exponentially. I even liked grasscutter aka bushmeat and scientifically known as the greater cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus). It is considered a delicacy. I ate it with bread.

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21 Comments on ““He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food””


  1. This was fascinating!! Greater cane rat, oh my God.

    • katry Says:

      feminisb-tch,
      I swear it was good. It was covered in hot pepper so wrapping it in bread was a must.

      Once I found out what I had been eating I just kept eating it. On the train kebobs of it were sold. If at first I knew I might have been hesitant, but it was too late for that.

  2. olof1 Says:

    Thunderstorms here today and fog all morning way in to the day. Finally it has cooled down but now the humidity is so high I won’t step outside anyway. It just started ti rain again but I don’t think we’ll get more thunder.

    I didn’t mind trying new food. I quite often ate at my friendss home and they always had different things to eat. His mother once gave me something from the grill and I just loved it, it turned out to be grilled liver and I’ve loved liver since that day 🙂

    There’s one thing I’ll never eat again and that’s fish pudding. It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever eaten. Well perhaps two things because I really even can’t pretend jelly fish soup was edible 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      The sun is still shining and there is a breeze so the day is lovely. I so hate humidity, and we get so high a humidity you’d think it was dining.

      I am not a liver fan but grilled liver is the best way to eat it. I also had that and tongue in Ghana.

      I haven’t ever heard of fish pudding. We have fish stew but it is delicious like clam or corn chowder but with fish. Nobody cooks with jelly fish here and I’m glad.

      Have a great evening!

  3. olof1 Says:

    This is just a test. I can’t comment anywhere with my new blog name. I’m trying to get WP to get it because everywhere where I try to post a comment under my new blog name it says I don’t own that blog and I think I’ve done all adjhustments right ?!

    • olof1 Says:

      It worked here anyway 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Christer,
        When I clicked on your name in the comment you’ve made, it takes me right to your new blog. Maybe the other people have to change or add your blog name and address for your comments to work right.

      • olof1 Says:

        When I try to post with the new blog address in other blogs WordPress says I don’t own that blog. Very odd!

    • katry Says:

      Maybe you can post here because I have a link to your new blog on the right, and it is connected with your name by WordPress.

  4. Birgit Says:

    American food was exotic when I was young. (No McDonalds and hamburgers until later.) I remember that one summer American soft ice was introduced. A man with a big colored noisy machine sold it in front of our main warehouse. This was so futuristic and I was curious. Can you really eat machine made food? Of course I wanted to try it and finally one day I was allowed. It was delicious.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I couldn’t have named any German food except maybe German potato salad as it was in the deli. When I was in high school, I used to go to Harvard Square and eat at the Wursthaus where I tasted my first sauerbraten. I loved it and all the other German food I tried there. It was an institution but is now gone, sad to say.

      http://cambridgehistory.org/discover/culinary/wursthaus.html

      • Birgit Says:

        That’s interesting. I had to laugh when I read “the health-conscious, non-bratwurst eating masses of the ’90s”. Our masses are also more health-conscious now, but Bratwurst is still popular. Schnitzels are available but dated and sauerbraten is hard to find nowadays. We prefer Turkish Döner Kebab now. Beer is liquid bread and hence staple food.

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        I make a great sauerbraten, but I haven’t bought bratwurst in a while. I probably should for the barbecue. It would taste great.

  5. Bill S. Says:

    Apparently Ebola has been linked to bushmeat,eating bats, etc., which is common in Liberia, Guinea and other countries. Tonite the news is reporting cases in Nigeria. Makes me concerned about Ghana.

  6. flyboybob Says:

    My parents took us to both Chinese and Italian eateries as a kid but those were very americanized in the those days. Chicken chow main and meatballs and spaghetti. It wasn’t until the 80s when northern Chinese food became available along with haute cuisine southwestern that was coming into existence by chefs like Dean Fearing of the Mansion Hotel. My taste expanded to enjoy middle eastern, Northern Italian, Greek and Japanese. No sushi, thank you.

    I don’t have the desire nor the stomach for what you ate in Ghana. However, when really hungry I might eat anything including sushi.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      Those were also the restaurants we were taken. I never ate chow mein, never liked it. I liked appetizers more than the regular dishes. My father would take out the food at the Chinese restaurant but we would go the Italian one. It was always filled, always busy. It is even the same now.

      All my travels expanded my palate. I ate so many different foods in the countries I visited, particularly in Africa and South America.

      I’m not a sushi fan either.

      If you don’t know what you’re eating, it is far easier to eat it. I didn’t like kenkey and banku. I found them a bit sour, but I loved most all of Ghanaian food.

      • flyboybob Says:

        Chinese food in Texas in the 1950s was closer to stir fry veggies with water chestnuts and soy sauce. The waitresses were all relatives of the Flo character in the TV series, “Alice”. “Ya’ll want bread with that Chop Suey”.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        That’s funny! Bread with that chop suey!

  7. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Italian food was normal food when I was growing up even though neither of my parents was Italian. We lived in an Italian neighborhood and most of the shops within walking distance for a mother with three little ones were Italian shops. We ate Italian cold cuts, Italian bread, spaghetti with meatballs and pizza. My mother never got more adventurous than that.
    My food horizons expanded a little more in my teens because my best friend’s mother was a French Chef fan and not afraid to try. But it wasn’t until I went off to work in the big world that my food horizon expanded exponentially. This was mostly due to a co-worker who had lived in many exotic places and ate lots of exotic food plus the fact that many of my other co-workers were Lebanese, Dominican or Cambodian. I learned to cook Thai, Indonesian, Japanese, North African, Lebanese. All kinds of things.
    I haven’t eaten bushmeat, though. Not unless Bambi counts. 😀

    And as for chop suey and bread, well, there is the famous chop suey sandwich found at Salem Willows. Texas doesn’t have it cornered.
    Also, PB&J really doesn’t belong on pita or nan. Belongs on Wonderbread.
    Enjoy the evening. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We also ate Italian cold cuts. My father would buy them from the deli in Stoneham Square. Scali bread was a favorite, still is of mine. My mother branched out into shells as well as spaghetti. My aunt was married to an Italian, and she would bring stuff like spaghetti with clam sauce. She also made lasagna and spaghetti with pork. I liked it all.

      I also have learned to cook all sorts of food even took a cooking lesson in Morocco.

      I first found Lebanese food in Ghana and have liked it since. I also found Indian food there.

      Sorry, Bambi doesn’t count as bushmeat.

      You’re right about the PB&J.

      Have a great night.


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