Bizarre Foods America

Originally published September 10, 2013

A lot of my quibbles with my significant other have to do with food. I call it “being picky.” He calls it “honesty.” It’s not enough that his foods have to be well-balanced, fresh, stem-free, adequately sauced, boiling hot, possibly re-heated, salted, never sweetened, simple, varied, and banana’s still half-green; his opinions must extend to what I am eating as well. He asked me once how I can eat egg-drop soup when it was luke-warm (it wasn’t, just not boiling), and I said I could with a spoon.

I also told him about  the Starving Children in Africa.

 But when it comes down to it, people are picky about the things they’re picky–or honest–about. I like to read in 11-page segments. I like parting my hair on the left, and don’t like it when men wear rings, unless they’re married. Giving voice to the thousands of little judgments we make each day isn’t necessary a bad thing. It can lead to quibbles and banter, but I think  it builds personality.

At least one man has made a career out of it.

 

Bizarre Foods America

 

What a way to think of meat.

We all say mutton, beef, poultry, ham,

or else the vegans win,

To divorce, as if with a cleaver,

what a this is from what it tastes like.

Andrew Zimmern does it especially well.

 

In the only episode I have watched,

his hands are spelunkers of bones.

He slimes and crawls through carcass

of an elk to get to the kidneys–all eight–

and tells the camera, as if it’s a secret,

that eating meat raw enhances flavor,

and to never mind the bacteria.

 

He says: rich yet lean. He smiles.

He says: great undertone of herb, hearty,

and something about flavor profile.

I can’t picture a lot of what he’s saying,

and I find the term flavor profile, well, distasteful,

but there’s a humility here, too, an honest

assessment of what he feels in his mouth,

not what he’s expected or supposed to think.

(His least favorite food is oatmeal.)

 

I imagine him kissing his wife goodnight

and saying to her Flakey, like a croissant.

Underneath the crust, some contained gel

like a fried egg. Hint of mint.

She’d roll over and sigh,

half in amusement, half in exasperation,

and she’d think Oh, I am rarer than rare

to up with you, and her dreams would be of nothing

but green people and photosynthesis.

But he’d smile to himself,

having gotten the beauty of it raw.