Frogs, iguanas, snakes, even spiders are things we have heard or seen on TV people can eat. But there are some other things I had no idea I could actually eat and get some nutrition out of them. In case you get lost during an exotic trip and you run out of food, these edible stuff could actually save your life. You can also try to eat them at home, for the fun of it, I guarantee any of them is particularly tempting.
Balut (unborn duck fetus). Even if you love eggs and you can’t get enough of duck, you may still get sick at the idea of eating a duckling just before it breaks the egg shell. This delicacy is the transition between an egg and a duck, a partially-developed, boiled-alive duck fetus. Should I continue detailing the way you serve and eat it? Maybe not. Let’s me just say you can either suck the juices out once cooked or you can actually eat the whole animal. This is a speciality in Asian Countries like the Philippines and Vietnam. I found this image in a blog I was reading and I admit that presentation does miracles…it looks delicious!
Tree bark. Even in the case of some poisonous trees, the bark is generally edible. Just check for a soft layer underneath the external hard bark, scrape it off and…enjoy! Native Americans used tree bark as food supplement and some in some Finnish areas people use ground tree bark as ingredient in bread during winter when food is scarce. I have even found a recipe on how to prepare tree bark! Maybe you would like to try it out for dinner tonight. And if you are lucky, you may get even some proteins from the bugs that live in it, Bear Grylls style! Wood. In case tree bark didn’t sound inedible enough, you should know wood itself is edible. Not just that: you have actually eaten it several times without knowing. Micro-pieces of plant fibres and wood (powdered cellulose) are present in some types of low-fat ice cream to give them a creamier texture. Full fat ice cream is going to be my only choice from now on.
Armadillos. I have seen Armadillos only once and that was enough to make me realise I would never eat one. They look like ‘huge, hairy, armoured rats and the last thing I’d think about is to butcher and cook one. Though, in case of emergency, if you are lost in some desert in North America, you can try to get one and cook it. Apparently it is high in protein though the meat is tough. Cactus. If you get lost in the desert AND you are vegetarian, then the succulent armadillo will not do for you. But don’t worry! The edible ones are the oval shaped, fleshy prickly pears: small pads of the prickly pear are a perfect ingredient for jams or jellies. The taste reminds of asparagus, with a sticky texture. I actually had a cactus stew recently, in Curacao in the Caribbean, and it was gooey and sticky indeed. If you want to make a salad out of it, check this easy recipe; I haven’t tried it yet but it looks appetising. Cigarettes. They are edible, though nutritionally very poor. They can be used as natural antiseptic and anti-parasitic remedy, but considering the price of a packet (and the flavour!), I would expect to find something cheaper at the pharmacy.
Clay. You can play with it and make cute sculptured or ash trays for Father’s Day, but you can also eat it. Clay is just a mixture of microscopic minerals derived from abrasion and desegregation of rocks, so it is a good sources of minerals and iron. And it is definitely edible in small quantities, unless it has been chemically treated or it is contaminated with some bacteria. Leather. Some like to wear it, some like to smell it, but did you know you could eat it? Unless stained with toxic tanning chemicals, you can indulge yourself as much as you want. My advice is to cook it for maaaaany hours, unless you want to be chewing it forever.
Marijuana. And we are not talking about the dry one in the brownies but the raw one. If you have it raw, you will not get high really, but possibly just slightly happier-ish.. As salad is way cheaper though, you may not want to waste a handful of leaves to prepare a vegetarian side dish, I suppose. Cockscomb. In Italy we call it “cresta”. That weird appendix atop the male chicken’s head doesn’t look yummy at all, but it doesn’t taste much different from any other part of the chicken. The external part is a bit tough but if soaked in lemon it gets softer. I even found an interesting recipe from Chris Cosentino to make a dessert out of cockscombs. Chicken testicles. I remember eating them as a kid, as I was born in a village and you don’t throw away any part of the animals you eat. I remember also eating chicken testicles in the soup, but I have been trying to remove that memory from my head since; you know… the squeezing one between your teeth until it explodes. That’s the way you eat it but it feels so gross that…”I’ve been there, I’ve done it, not anymore thanks”.
And that’s just the beginning. I’ve heard stories of bat soups, fried spiders and stuffed lizards. Even if experimental, I have my limits and I am not sure I will ever try some of these things. I am looking forward to hear from you what’s the grossest thing you have ever eaten. DETAILS, please! ;-)