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Ah, Youth

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In my salad days (a period in which, to the best of my recollection, salad was not a major part of my diet), I frequently explored the far reaches of the edible world in search of new adventures. Some were of the typical variety: chocolate-covered ants and the like. These novelty items are intended to titillate the squeamish, but offer little gastronomic excitement.



Real adventures do not begin with gag (or gag reflex) gifts.

I once (around age 17) ate steamed clams with maple ice cream for breakfast. I vaguely recall the reaction of whatever witnesses were present, but not the gustatory experience itself. It probably wasn't awful -- I know it didn't sicken me. To put this in context, around the same time I ingested a sandwich that consisted of hot pickled peppers and Hershey’s chocolate syrup on white bread. 

The white bread provided my only regret. 

Another time, I consumed an entire quart jarful of hot cherry peppers. These, of course, are the mildest of chiles; their vinegary bark is worse than their peppery bite. The vinegar/chile theme was also in evidence when I drank a standard bottle of Tabasco before vaguely amused, but otherwise unimpressed, friends. 

They've seen stunts like this too often to react in any other fashion.

This desire to extend the boundaries of the gustatorially possible has never been successfully suppressed. It's a form of arrested development, no doubt. When ordering at a restaurant of obscure ethnicity, my choice is invariably the dish I will be least likely to ever have another chance to try. This, as you might expect, has led to mixed results. While I have experienced some remarkable (and sometimes remarkably repulsive) dishes, I suspect that this disgusting behavior has more often spoiled the meals of many of my dining companions -- but I have no choice. 

What must be done must be done.

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