by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO– We may not have a Moroccan restaurant or a Brazilian smorgasbord here in Huerfano County, but we have our own exotic foods that many city people would turn their noses up at. And that is kind of strange, considering some of the things “cultured city people” eat. Take caviar, for instance. Caviar is fish eggs, sometimes black. Blech. Cultured people serve it on crackers. In my opinion, you can’t have a cracker big enough to drown out the yucky, salty taste of caviar. I don’t care if it DOES cost $140 an ounce, it’s still yucky. If we Huerfanos want some salty, fishy stuff, we can always have anchovies on our pizza. Yes, I checked.
There is not a local sushi bar around here either. But let me ask this. How many evenings do you think Huerfanos sit around deciding what to have for dinner and someone says, “Hey let’s have fish,” and someone else pipes up, “how about RAW fish,” and the whole family throws their arms up yelling, “Yay! Cold raw fish for dinner! Woo hoo!”
At your swankier restaurants, you can get truffles, which is just a fancy name for black mushrooms that grow underground. Who was the first brave person to eat these things? I’ve read that pigs love truffles, and maybe that’s why they rose to the top of culinary fashion. Another reason is probably that truffles are around $110 per ounce.
Escargot are snails. The first people to eat these were in France. They brought their love of snails to the U.S. to torture the Indians during the French and Indian War.
In Pennsylvania, we had many lovely cheeses. We never were tempted to eat moldy cheese, because one would think it would cause internal problems down the line. But today it seems the stinkier and moldier the cheese, the more cultured the taste. I took a look at a variety of cheeses online. Is it my imagination, or are these expensive cheeses covered in white mold? How about blue “veined” cheeses – isn’t that just a nice way to say cheese with blue mold all through it? I’m not going to make much fun of cheese, though, because I love cheese, especially the plain stuff that doesn’t cost $27 a pound.
As I mentioned, we do have our own brand of exotic food here, more popular among the ranching community. The ranchers refer to this food as “fries.” Not the kind of fries that they ask you at the drive-up window if you want fries with that. These are bull fries, available fresh only once a year, on castrating day. Again, these fries, made famous by Baxter Black as Rocky Mountain Oysters, are way better than caviar. I don’t think these are served very often at fancy debutante balls.
I’ve noticed at the classier Mexican restaurants in the city you don’t usually see tripe on the menu. But tripe actually sounds way better to me than caviar, and you can probably buy 746 times as much for the same price as caviar, AND it’s not black.
The last local exotic food I’ll mention is honey. Honey is pretty weird, seeing as how it is bee spit mixed with flower nectar. Since you are not supposed to give honey to babies under one year of age, there is something kind of dangerous about it. But life is more exciting in the danger zone. And I guess that’s what all exotic foods are really about.