Adventures in Gastronomy


As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. (Romans 14:14)

Why does everything weird taste like chicken? Well, except for pig’s head or kim chee or blood pudding. Oh, and maybe stir-fried crickets. But I wouldn’t know; I’m a vegetarian. Which brings up something (almost literally) that happened to me a year or so ago.

I was over in India with a friend. We’re talking the real India with real Indians who are not casino owners. So we were over there visiting this guy whose parents invited us over for lunch. So we headed to their place which was out in the country with Indian cows. Trouble is, the place where we were going was flooded and so, in order to get to the house, we had to wade through a whole bunch of water that wasn’t suppose to be there, which may be okay in America, the home of the free and the land of the sealed sewer, but here there was no telling what was floating around in that water. But we had to get to the house because we were the honored guests of honor. So my friend and I looked at each other and plowed into the water and who-knows-what was in it until we came to this muddy rise and the house where we were going to have lunch.

So we washed off our feet at the hand pump and came into a pretty nice house considering it was floating in a cesspool of cow poop and small nasty organisms just waiting to get under your skin and eat your soft tissues. So we sat down at this table with our friend whose parents did not with us but started waiting on us like we were in a restaurant or something. They brought out all kinds of stuff, including chicken parts and rice and some green stuff I guessed was vegetation of some kind. The they brought in a dish they seemed particularly proud of.  They looked like meatballs. Now being a vegetarian should never be an excuse for offending somebody who has gone out of their way to treat you like somebody important. So, as a rule, I keep my vegetarian tendencies under cover and bite the carnivore’s bullet when I’m overseas. So my friend and I helped ourselves to a couple of the dark looking golfball-sized objects. Our hosts stood near the table watching with smiles and anticipation. My friend and I each put one into our mouths and chewed. So, okay, I just about puked, but I was able to keep it together by reminding myself that I was going to have to walk through the bacteria-laced waters and it would not be a good idea to barf in somebody’s house after they’ve served up the best they’ve got.  I could not, however, eat the second one on my plate. I had no more faith.

When we left, our mutual friend said his parents wondered why we hadn’t eaten everything up. We lamely came up with some excuse which worked because we were visitors. After we had forded the liquid yuck and were driving back to our little cottage by the cows, my partner asked what it was we had eaten. Turns out the little balls were goat hearts. Whole, cooked, undoctored, goat hearts. Nuff said.

So the moral of the story is that no food will send you to hell, at least all the way to hell. And if you don’t have enough faith don’t go blind through a bovine toilet into a farm house in India for mystery food.

That’s about all the meaning I can squeeze out of this.


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