Have you ever thought about what you have eaten? I’m talking about the long table of life. One that would stretch out to who knows where and present everything you’ve ever devoured as one giant banquet. Chances are its ugly. According to Lou, mine would likely be a flat pyramid. It’s foundations thick with carbs, a second layer of meat and chicken balanced precariously on a weak bed of mortar given the sprinkling of potato chips and the oil that has likely made its way into the mix. Though of late, as most married men would attest too, vegetables and all manner of fruits have made their way on to that table.
How about the delicacies? I’ve had escargot, ostrich, kangaroo, crocodile, warthog and water buffalo. No insects, yet. I think I was served Zebra in Africa once, though can’t quite recall. I would now feel guilty admitting to it despite the fact they’re seen as sheep over there. Though I had mixed feelings when we finally arrived in the Mekong Delta. We took a slow boat down the river to see them make rice crackers, candy, popcorn all of it with no machines and even wrapped by hand. Despite the surprise of seeing it built up, (I was expecting not much more than the jungle – I’d seen Apocolypse Now), we opted to eat and sleep with a family in a homestay.
Tucked on the side of river, admittedly the turn off to it was under a giant new six lane concrete bridge, we walked through a long path covered in trees and were presented with a large thatched roof. Inside it looked more like a hostel than a traditional Vietnamese house. Reinforced by the kitchen which was large and a garden that was at least an acre. Though still really charming. Waterways divided the backyard, fish swam between the lotus leaves, Papaya, Jackfruit, Longan, and Melons were everywhere. All pretty idyllic I know. They asked us what we wanted for dinner. They could source the usual safe fare, vegetables and meats, though asked us if we wanted to shake things up. How did we feel about Rat, Snake or Frog? Having seen the river (it’s a muddy brown), we opted to double up on chicken.
When they returned from the market, Lou dove into the kitchen. I worked with kids on wrapping nuts and rice into a candy ball wrapped inside what looked like purple plasticine and was then folded into a triangled banana leaf. Delicious by the way, the kids loved it. We were served ten times the food that any normal person could eat. So allowing for the carbs and your basic meats, make that five people. They presented us with two of those meats listed in my title. I’ll include them in a picture. Yours truly ate both. I’ll let you guess. None of my family would touch it. Looks like the length of my table and the width of my pyramid continue to grow.