On this night, Hui Yin had prepared an amazing array of weird dishes.
Now, being from NYC, and having caught and eaten my share of pigeons and rats (hi, cyclee1180!), I'm nit afraid of very much. Certainly, I will, and have, eaten anything and everything.
But, on this table, amidst all of these wonderful and authentic dishes, there was a bowl of weird-looking black things. So, I thought "Sure, why not, I'll eat a few."
Here's a tip for any of you about to dive into the world of China: DON'T DO THAT. Eat "a few," that is. Of anything you don't recognize.
I say this because, while I value and respect the spirit of adventure, there are certain junctures in life when you need to exercise a certain caution. This was one of those junctures. I didn't exercise anything except my native New Yorkness, and that was my undoing.
Let's talk a bit about what happens when you cook a dried, uncircumcised, marine penis. If you didn't already expect this, then I will tell you that it acquires the consistency of galvanized rubber. Actually, it may have that consistency throughout its life, but I haven't ever eaten a live one, so I can't vouch for that. But I SURE CAN tell you what they're like when they're dead and dried.
Now, mysteriously enough, Asians like these things, and I don't honestly know if this is even remotely related to "male-enhancement," like the TV ad used to say. They, and by "they" I mean my wife and her people, just eat these things. Personally, I think it's because Asia in general has been running out of food for generations, and so the situation has come to this.
Asians eat seaweed, you know. So do upscale, PC Westerners. But some of us also believe in BS like qi and feng shui. But that's just because some of us are complete idiots. Most Asians think Westerners are morons for buying into this. But, I'm getting off track here.
So, Hui Yin and my wife were happily talking away about how awful and terrible China was, is, and will always be. This was before I knew enough Chinese to actually follow along, and so I really didn't much else to do but eat stuff. This was where the problem arose.
In the midst of all these beautiful, green and tan and brown dishes, was a bowl full of these black things. So, of course, being the idiot that I am, I decided to have a heaping helping of this, well, "stuff," all the while hoping that my wife and Hui Yin noticed. You see, I had a reputation to protect, which was that of being a white guy brave enough to marry someone from China.
So, after having stuffed myself full of whatever I could identify on the table, I heroically, and I must say not unselfconsciously, piled on a heap of these black things,
Oh, crap. I bit into a piece. If you think that you'd love trying to eat a worn car tire coated with old grease, then you will absolutely love these things. And I probably need to reiterate that THEY ARE NOT VEGETABLES. Their closest, familiar relatives may be slugs, although that's only approximate. I've eaten marine slugs also, and I can tell you about that experience. But this was nothing like that.
To Be Continued