An Epicurean
Around the World

Jerry Hopkins
This is the list of contents for deer penis soup:
  • 4 oz. penis (deer, beef, etc.)
  • 1 cup rice wine
  • 10 - 12 cups water
  • Herbs and spices.
The herbs are to be bought at your local Chinese phramacy, depending on "the customer's needs."

And in case you were worried, at the end of an hour-and-a-half of boiling, you throw away the weenie and drink the broth.

There's also:

  • Fried crocodile with beef liver (or fried crocodile tongue with garlic and pepper).
  • Sea-horse and wolfberry soup.
  • Mealworm salad in cucumber cups (the pictures show them crawling out of the melon cups: See Fig. 1. above.)
  • Cricket and vegetable tempura.
  • Fried bamboo grubs.
  • Cricket stuffed baby tomatoes ("The size, shape, and crunchiness of crickets make them an ideal ingredient...garnish with thin slices of green chili.")
  • Fried silkworm chrysalids.
  • Dragonflies and ginger.
  • Grasshoppers? ("It's a good idea to remove the legs before eating, because they sometimes get stuck between your teeth") and
  • Snake soup..."one snake, one tablespoon of chili peppers, one tablespoon of dehydrated rice, fresh coriander, finally chopped onions, two tablespoons of fish sauce, and several cups of water...the snake is scorched over an open flame (or in a pan) to remove the scales."
I don't know. Is it any different than what they put in hotdogs (snout of pig, intestines, chicken combs, nose of a cow, and what they call "chicken lips.") We don't complain about eating shrimp, but they are not that much different than roaches. How about, as the author suggests, all those chemicals we get in our pre-packaged foods.

Still, it's one thing to read about these interesting if not disgusting dishes --- it's quite another to eat, or (almost as bad) look at them. The photographs are, so to speak, all-consuming. The author, who has also written books on Elvis Presley (who, presumably, we are not to eat), is on a fine line here. I mean, they do eat duck embryos, on the street, in the Philippines. But I am not so sure you are prepared --- I wasn't --- for the closeup of a young fellow on page 139, chowing down on one (they don't get cooked until they are aborted at mid-term) with bits of yellow you-don't-want-to-know all over his puss.

It all begins with rat-catchers of Irula, calf embryo in Thailand, and donkey meat dried sausages from Arles, and ends with live lobster sashimi --- can you hear them clicking in protest as you start in feeding on them? From the very first of almost 150 exquisitely-colored photographs you know that Hopkins wants your tum to complain. To assure enteritis, we get pix of scorpion and asparagus canapés, creamed slugs (Stop it!), ground lizards (I said stop it!) and (O no! Please!) "Placenta Paté" (I knew you weren't to be trusted .) We're spared the pix of this last, but the recipe, in case you were wondering, is

  • 1 placenta
  • 6 oz. red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • paté pastry
  • Green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 1 egg.
Thank the lord they included bacon and eggs. Although, when you think about it, what is bacon, anyway? As the gourmets at the Chicago Commodities Exchange would have it, it's frozen pork bellies. Eggs? They're nothing but fresh embryo of the common dirt-eating chicken.

Makes you kinda hungry, right?

--- Lolita Lark

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