Satire is a genre I thoroughly enjoy reading, and so I was a little nervous to take a shot at writing it as well. But when an idea came for this article, I couldn’t resist writing it. Hush Magazine liked it too, and published it on their website recently.
Here is the full article:
A Delicacy in Another Country
by CARA McKENNA
“What did they eat there?”
It fascinates me to hear about the unusual things people in other countries eat. I have learned that Cambodians eat fried tarantulas, the Spanish eat bull testacles and, my personal favorite, the Chinese eat raw penises. I’m not sure what kind of penises exactly, but it doesn’t matter. There is just something about the words “raw” and “penis” together that makes for an excellent anecdote, even though it can be hard to work into a conversation. “You had sausage for dinner, you say? That reminds me… did you know that in China people eat raw penis?”
On my brother Brett’s most recent trip to Thailand, there were vendors on the street that sold deep-fried cockroaches and crickets. “For the drunk tourists,” he said, and it filled me with delight to picture an American the morning after a long night of drinking, waking up hung-over and confused. “What happened last night?” he would moan, picking an antenna off his lip. Brett gets defensive on behalf of the Thai, pointing out that North Americans eat insects too. Lobsters are in the same family as spiders, he says, and they used to be fed to prisoners in the 1800 as, I assume, part of their punishment. “Now lobsters are classy.”
My friend Carissa enjoys telling people that eggs are actually “chicken periods.” People seem to get angry and defensive at this, arguing that it is not the same thing as human periods and that chickens shouldn’t be humanized. To this, Carissa will reply, “Well… you’re still eating chicken periods,” undoubtedly leaving the person in question with a notion that will haunt them for the rest of their life. She also likes to point out that foie gras is produced by force-feeding geese through metal tubes until their livers expand by 10-12 times their normal size. “Have you ever heard of something so disgusting?” she says, describing the graphic details of the process. Once, she told me a story about how she came across a group of drunken college boys at the gas station who were buying chocolate milk. “I told them that most chocolate milk contains blood and pus, and they bought Pepsi instead,” she said proudly.
“And they just listened?” I asked. “I mean, they didn’t think it was strange that a strange girl was mentioning pus to them?”
“Well, they were drunk,” she replied.
Although Carissa thrives on making strangers squirm, I think of her whenever I question the culinary choices of other cultures. Who are we to question Cambodians eating fried spiders when we feast on their lobster cousins? Who are we to question the Spanish eating testicles when we empty our pockets for fatty goose livers?
I can only imagine that right now, somewhere in China, a man is sitting down to a meal of raw penis, telling his sister about his recent vacation and how strange it is that North Americans eat chicken periods.