[Sca-cooks] Khlii

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Mar 13 19:17:44 PDT 2008

On Mar 13, 2008, at 8:23 PM, Lilinah wrote:

> I somehow suspect that "Mister Bizarre Food", Andrew Zimmern, either
> misrepresented the dish or presented an atypical variation. The vast
> majority of Khlii is much like a French confit of meat (i.e., cooked
> meat stored covered in fat to preserve it) and not "fermented" at
> all, just marinated, dried, fried, and stored in fat.
> I gotta say, in looking over some of the topics of his shows, that
> much of what he eats is not at all that bizarre, but only appears
> that way to middle Americans who think eating at a fast food or chain
> restaurant (like, gag, Applebee's) is fine dining. Some is clearly
> being chosen especially for "ick factor". I've travelled quite a bit
> and eaten an awful lot of the things on his list and they were not at
> all bizarre, being quite common in their own cultures, such as
> durian, frog, squirrel, etc. (i did pass on dog in Indonesia because
> i knew what they ate there, and not for any sentimental reasons).

I did a little checking of my own, and can report that khli appears  
not to have been considered sufficiently abnormal to make into  
Schwabe's "Unmentionable Cuisine".

> Same goes for what's-'is-name Spencer in his book "The Year of Eating
> Dangerously". He thought eating huitlacoche, a type of lavender-grey
> colored fungus that grows on corn, was weird and dangerous. Heck, i
> get it at a Mexico City style restaurant not far from my home in the
> SF Bay area.
> I confess that the only tarantula i've ever eaten was a grape
> flavored "gummy/jelly" one from the Jelly Belly factory.
> Nothing like fruit bat stuffed into a bamboo tube and buried for
> months that an anthropology professor of mine who had studied an
> indigenous group of migrating forest dwellers in Malaysia told us
> about. When it was retrieved it had decomposed into a paste and there
> were insect larvae in it, which added to the texture, flavor, and
> high protein content.
> Personally, i find most pre-prepared packaged foods to be bizarre.

See, this is where my issue on the subject of intolerance/avoidance of  
what is rather arbitrarily determined to be abnormal kicks in. I  
generally don't find people who've ever been genuinely hungry in their  
lives, or people who've done a lot of travelling, or cooked  
professionally, making a fuss (I'm sure there are exceptions) about  
the weirdness of Shake And Bake, or gravy in a jar, or a Big Mac (and  
just how _do_ they manage to invariably get that sauce to squirt out  
through the invisible hole in the bottom of the bun???) It's food. It  
might not be what I think of first when I think of food, but there's  
no real "just not right" factor involved. I think that among people  
with broader tastes, there's a broader sense of acceptance even of the  
things they're not familiar with, and even with the foods they're not  
really familiar with (I had never tried green bean casserole until I  
was about 25 and have never eaten anything with lime jello and little  
marshmallows) there's not this process of judgement or rejection that  
we sometimes see elsewhere.

My wife threatened me earlier this evening with a lovely dish of tuna  
casserole with crushed potato chips on top, tomorrow. I'm like, "Cool!  
American food! That'll be fun!"

Incidentally, I had occasion to discuss earlier this week with another  
list member books like "The Gallery of Regrettable Foods" and  
"Gastronomalies", and have some moral qualms about those, too. They're  
funny, but it's easy to make fun of the faded colors in a 50-year-old  
Kodachrome printed on non-acid-free paper, and a heck of a lot easier  
to make fun of bad food than it is to produce consistently good food.  
I've probably just reached a point in my life where I'm just sick to  
death of hearing pointless, non-constructive complaining, so even a  
hint of it is one of my hot-buttons.


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