Monday, October 16, 2006

I’m Eating What? . . .

My dad is the adventurous sort, whether it’s a ‘short cut’ on a trip or food, he’s game to try anything. And game to get me to try anything!

I started when I was about 5. We were in a little Mexican restaurant my parents liked, munching on chips and salsa. There were mirrors running all along the wall where the booths were and there was only 1 other person in the restaurant, a guy sitting a couple of booths away, sipping a beer and eating his own dinner. It was pretty quiet in there and the guy evidently heard our conversation and was watching in the mirror to see what would happen.

My dad was sitting there with his bowl of hot salsa. I had been dipping my chips into a bowl of mild salsa. I watched him eating his salsa, which looked a lot different than my own.

“What’s that, daddy?”

“Salsa, just like yours,” he told me.

“It looks different. Is it hot?”

“Nah, it’s good. Here try some.”

I dipped my chip into his salsa, really saturating it good and popped it into my mouth. Fire, my 5 year old mouth was on fire!

The guy had taken a big drink of beer, and while watching my face turn bright red, he spewed his drink of beer all over himself he was laughing so hard.

My mom yelled at my dad, but I was okay and in fact I decided I really liked the hot stuff—in limited quantities that is.

But so started a scene to be played out many times over the years, with rattlesnake meat (I thought it was chicken), mountain oysters (yummy, that was beef), escargot, frogs legs (they really did taste like chicken, fishy chicken that is) and all sorts of other things. He always managed to get me to try what ever it was, either by cajoling me or even by acting like nothing was different.

You would think I would have learned.

A couple of years ago I was over at mom and dads and he was munching on some kind of sausage. It smelled okay and he asked if I wanted some. Okay, I said, I’ll try it.

It had an unusual taste. And a pretty tough consistency, chewy, very chewy. The more I chewed the worst it seemed to get and when I finally swallowed it, it left a funny taste in my mouth. Not exactly bad really, but just . . . different. There was kind of a greasy coating left on my tongue, which isn’t necessarily unusual with sausage.

“Like it? Here have another piece,” dad offered.

“No thanks,dad.” One piece was definitely all I needed and I was still trying to finish that one.

“You sure, this is great stuff,” he told me, taking another hunk for himself.

I don’t know, maybe you need dentures to chew this stuff, but I knew I wasn’t going to have anymore.

“Our friend Richard sent it to us. He bought it in Alaska,” dad said, smacking his lips.

Uh oh, I thought, waiting. I was finishing the last small bit I had; trying to get it chewed enough to swallow down.

“Its bear sausage!” dad announced, laughing wickedly.

Gulp! I looked at him, hoping I was going to keep it down.

That’s my dad! I wish he could be around forever. I also wish I would learn!

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