Day 5 :: Brave palate.

on October 5, 2011 in 31 Days of Courage with 32 comments by

When I was in 8th grade, I went on a westward expansion tour with my godparents, Joe and Earlene.

It was a trip of firsts for me in many ways- my first flight alone [from Atlanta to Louisiana], my first trip without parents, my first proper french braid. Mom never was one for fancying up our hairs, so when Earlene’s niece was able to give me a beautiful french plait, I was in heaven.

We drove from Louisiana through Texas and up to Wyoming, then back down again. And I slept through Colorado. Both ways. [Sorry, Colorado. I was a growing and hormonal girl.]

We traveled in a conversion van and ate tomato sandwiches as we went. I remember that my choice was tomato or olive loaf [I think? It was 1994, so forgive if my memory slips a bit], so I went for tomato.

And I still love a good tomato sandwich. Thank you, Earlene and Joe.

Because I’m happy to share fun facts from this particular trip, I will also share that I wrote a song about the Oregon Trail to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies. Totally from memory, here are some of the lyrics:

“Listen to the story about the Oregon Trail….”

[Yeah. That’s all I remember. But I have it written down. Don’t worry, Smithsonian, when you want my lyrical genius, it is in my Garfield diary.]

One of our first nights, we stopped in Amarillo, Texas at a massive restaurant called Big Texan Steak Ranch. I remember Earlene and Joe ordering a fried appetizer for us to share called mountain oysters.

I didn’t know what they were. I just ate a few and thought they tasted like rubbery brussel sprouts. [Seriously, my gag reflex is about to cause a mess here in my flat.]

At the risk of being a google hit for bovine porn, I’m going to tell you what mountain oysters are.

Mountain oysters are calf testicles.

FRIED. CALF. TESTICLES.

And that, my friends, is the story of the bravest eating moment in my life.

. . . . .

What have you eaten before that forced you to muster up some courage?

. . . . .

Who I’m reading: Melissa’s 31 Days to an Artful Event. This is SUCH a fun series… she’s walking step by step through planning a huge party. I’m in love with every bit of it.

32 comments

  1. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 6:16 AM  |  reply

    I have eaten at that very restaurant, but being from Texas, I knew what “mountain oysters” are before I was asked to eat them.

    My bravest food choice? That’s tough considering I am notorious for having the palate of a seven year old.

    I guess it would be a special homemade dinner from a church that hosted our group in a remote village in Guatemala. We were given strict instructions NOT to eat the meat, but clean our plates of everything else so as not to offend. In a country in which we could not drink the water and had to brush our teeth with bottled water. Oy.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:14 AM  |  reply

      I wish you would have warned me 17 years ago. πŸ™‚

      I love so many things about Central America. But not their choices of meat.

  2. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 8:28 AM  |  reply

    squirrel. hunted by my dad, cooked by my grandma.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:14 AM  |  reply

      Stop it. Really? What did it taste like?

      • posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 7:49 AM  |  reply

        @Annie, at the risk of sounding cliche… chicken. only tougher and drier. i don’t recommend it. ha.

  3. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 11:03 AM  |  reply

    Ha!!
    Fried frog legs gigged by my daddy and a friend. Tastes like chicken. (On a side note, Daddy would always ask my friends if they wanted to eat dinner with us then he’d list the “menu”. Skunk dumplings and opossum, road kill – take your pick.) I remember eating steamed oysters for the first time when I was around six and how no one could believe I liked them. I did and still do, very much.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:15 AM  |  reply

      You were raised a brave eater. Congrats. (sorta) πŸ™‚

  4. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 11:28 AM  |  reply

    oh sorry I THINK I JUST THREW UP ewwww

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:15 AM  |  reply

      RIGHT? You and me both.

  5. Donna
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 12:34 PM  |  reply

    In the Philippines I ate a Balut with two other Christian workers from the states. I don’t think it was quite as bad as the UTube version… but then it was dark and I couldn’t really see it and there were so many people from the Manilla church egging (pun intentional) us on–and they were so happy we would eat it! (It is a fertilized developing chick–a bit gooey and crunchy) I can’t believe I did it…except it was so worth being accepted as a Filipino! (Until the pastors wife tells me–“You’re so brave Donna, I would never eat those!” (She’s the real deal–Filipino)

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:15 AM  |  reply

      Oh. My. Disgusting.

      I think you win. That is awful.

  6. Donna
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 12:36 PM  |  reply

    …I still had egg on my face, or was it chick.

  7. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 1:48 PM  |  reply

    Love this! and this little blog of yours. You’re such a BRAVE soul πŸ˜‰ xoxo

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:16 AM  |  reply

      Thanks, Cat! So glad to hear from you. Hope you keep enjoying the series!

  8. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 5:23 PM  |  reply

    I love tomato sandwiches but could do without the mountain oysters. Coming from a family of hungers, ilearned to ask what was being cooked and wanted proof of wrapper! They use to sneak things on me as kid. lol. I think the strangest for me was the frog legs… I knew what it was but my dad convinced me to take a bite. I sure do appreciate your blog and your words

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:16 AM  |  reply

      I have never had frog legs. But I’m kinda interested to try ’em!

  9. Nester
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 5:59 PM  |  reply

    “Don’t worry, Smithsonian, when you want my lyrical genius, it is in my Garfield diary”

    oh how I adore you

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:16 AM  |  reply

      Mutual. πŸ™‚

  10. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 6:56 PM  |  reply

    I remember being confronted with cow tongue at a family gathering when I was a kid. Not a pleasant memory. But to this day, I will still try anything once.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:17 AM  |  reply

      ughhhhhhhhhhh

  11. Merideth
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 6:57 PM  |  reply

    calf testicles…..Grose! The 2 things I ate were rattle snake and aligater. The rattle snake was brought to school by my 6th grade teacher, and it tasted like chicken. The aligater I ate at a fansey restaurant in Disney world,and it tasted liked smoked turkey. Also, a few years ago I tried cat fish, which was a big deal for me because I hate seafood of all kinds. I didn’t like the catfish. It tasted like fish,and I’ll never eat it again.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:17 AM  |  reply

      I LOVE a good fried catfish dinner. πŸ™‚

  12. Kristi
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 7:15 PM  |  reply

    Ostrich is one of the strangest foods I’ve eaten but I’ve also had rooster fries—think mountain oysters but of the poultry variety.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:17 AM  |  reply

      Rooster fries? WHO COMES UP WITH THESE THINGS?!?

  13. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 8:03 PM  |  reply

    Yikes! I am not a brave eater at all. I did try rattlesnake once, just a bite. We were on a church camping trip when I was about 9 and there were snakes all over the river (I’m surprised that no kids ever got bitten). One guy killed a snake then BBQ’d it. It was…interesting.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:17 AM  |  reply

      Gross.

  14. Beth
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 8:54 PM  |  reply

    I loved a good tomato sandwich too and I can say that I also tried Balut at the Philippines when we were there. It sounds great but it taste different and as they said to us it’s some kind of a nutritious food.

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:18 AM  |  reply

      Ewwwwwwwwww

  15. AliG
    posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 10:25 PM  |  reply

    I was at a work dinner and “calf fries” were served…the other girls at my table really thought they were French fries. We had to pull our waiter back over and he was too polite to say what they were in street terms so I had to explain what they were and how they were “gotten”. To draw even more attention to our already squealing table, I ended up pulling a flashlight out of my purse so they could be more closely examined. Rubbery is the appropriate word!

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:18 AM  |  reply

      Um. That is a HILARIOUS story.

  16. posted on Oct 05, 2011 at 10:47 PM  |  reply

    On our honeymoon in Florida we tried alligator tail. It was actually good! I’ve also had elk steaks and elk burgers. Also good!

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 07, 2011 at 6:18 AM  |  reply

      Brave girl, you are.

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