Life was so much easier when we were kids; you learn rather quickly what is good and/or appropriate to eat and what isn’t.
Boogers = Bad
Ice Cream = Good
Mom’s Fish Casserole = Bad
Cookie on the Ground = Good; Condition: Must apply three-second rule
As we got older, everything, including food, seemed to get more complicated. In college, however, I thought of myself as adventurous: willing to try anything at least once. Along the way, though, I came up with guidelines, which somehow became rules.
Food rule #1: Must not be moving or for that matter, alive
Food name: Sannakji – Korean cuisine: small octopus cut into small pieces and served immediately, usually lightly seasoned with sesame and sesame oil.
On a trip to Korea, my dad took me and my mom to a seafood restaurant in the coastal city of Pusan in South Korea. The restaurant had tanks of live fish, lobster, etc. You could pick the type of fresh seafood that you wanted, and they’d prepare it right there for you on the spot.
Well, my dad had invited the taxi driver, who was a Pusan local, to join us, and the driver chose an octopus, which the restaurant promptly cut up and served fresh to us. The Korean-style sushi was so fresh, though, that it was still moving!
In general, my mom raised me and my brothers with good table manners, but that day, not only did I not eat what was put in front of me, but I played with my food.
Fascinatingly-gross note: I found that you could get the sannakji to continue writhing on the plate if you squeezed lemon juice on it.
I found a YouTube video of a Caucasian lady in Korea eating sannakji (I know, she’s not even Korean, and she put me to shame by trying it. I was ashamed for like a second):
Food rule #2: No fetuses
Food name: Balut – Filipino delicacy: a boiled fertilized duck egg, eaten in its shell.
Balut is something I’ve watched my mom eat, growing up, and for whatever reason, I never took to it. Done.
Food rule #3: No blood (cooked or otherwise)
Again, dinuguan is something I grew up with, but I never really liked it. One of my brothers really likes it, though. Of course, he likes rice (as in Anne) and the Twilight movies too.
Food rule #4: No genitalia
Thankfully, this is the only food rule that was not created as a result of an actual experience I had. However, my friends thought I should add this rule based on some cable television series about some guy who goes around the world, eating exotic delicacies including animal genitalia. Check. Food rule #4: No genitalia.
When I was in college, I thought of myself as adventurous: willing to try anything at least once. I’m not.