Guest Blogger Jessica O’Neal — (Mis) Adventures In Eating

I am so excited about my very first Guest Blog and I’m thrilled to have the very fun and adorable, Jessica O’Neal here today. Jessica is not afraid to try new things, as you’ll soon read. She even has her own bow and arrow!  If that wasn’t enough to know she was uber-cool, she and I share a love of Harry Potter.  Check our her great posts about the boy who lived and they loyal friends in his life, and get her opinion on Snape!

Let me hand it over to Jessica!!

*

I have always heard that ones tastebuds change every seven years. I don’t have a clue whether or not this is true (I suppose I could google it…nah), but I do know that my tastebuds have certainly changed over the years. As I get older my palate continues to expand. I now enjoy foods that I used to loathe, such as fish. With my food horizons growing so quickly I have also become much more adventurous in the things I will try.

Which brings me to my story (well, actually stories).

My husband and I invited a friend of ours over recently to have a broil. She had recently visited her mother and had a bunch of fresh crabs that she wanted to eat, so she brought them with her. I had eaten crab before, but never while the meat was still in a very much whole crab shell.

I should probably take the time to mention that I am very squeamish when it comes to things that I deem “critters”. Bugs, frogs, lizards…you get the idea. I don’t do well with those types of things. In fact, when my husband and I went through our premarital counseling one of our exercises was to come up with a list of expectations we had for each other. At the top of my list: I expect you to take care of all bugs, reptiles, amphibians, and rodents.

What does this have to do with our crab broil? Well, about a month prior to this I discovered that this squeamishness extended to foods that still looked like an animal. We were eating freshly caught shrimp and when I picked the first one up and saw that it was still covered in soft, squiggly legs I nearly gagged. My husband, being the nice man that he is, proceeded to peel all the shrimp I wanted to eat for me.

Back to the crab.

I was very excited for this meal. We had broiled potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, and (peeled) shrimp along with the crab and it looked amazing. So I boldly reach in and picked up my first crab. Obviously I knew that they still looked like crabs since they were broiled shell and all, but what I did not account for were the eyes.

I turned that crab around to face me and saw two creepy black eyes staring back at me with what looked like small whiskers sticking out of them. I promptly dropped the crab and screamed, “OHMYGOD, it has eyes!” Naturally, everyone at the table erupted into hysterical laughter at my outburst.

 

It took a few seconds, but I was able to get past my shock and dig in. I cracked that bad boy open, scraped all the gray yucky out, and dug for the meat. It was delicious.

When I was thinking about this story and my much mocked exclamation it reminded me of another adventure in food I suffered.

Two years ago my sister got married. It was a destination wedding at the most spectacular all-inclusive resort in Mexico you can imagine. This place had multiple five star restaurants on its property and we ate at as many of them as we could. Since it was an all-inclusive resort I decided to be adventurous and try things I would normally be afraid to spend money on in case I didn’t like them. Most of what I tried I really enjoyed. But not all.

For the rehearsal dinner we ate at one of these amazing restaurants and since it was a special event they served us a bunch of special appetizer size dishes between courses. I had a really hard time understanding the waiter who was serving these dishes, so unless I could tell by looking at it, I had no idea what I was eating.

One of these little dishes was impossible to figure out. It was served in what looked like a miniature gravy boat and was this strange looking whitish blob with different seasonings sitting in some sort of liquid marinade. It made me very nervous, but I had determined I would try it all, so I picked up that boat and poured the unknown contents into my mouth. It was not good.

I didn’t really think about it again until after the meal. I went to talk to some of my sister’s friends and find out what they had eaten. They were discussing all the food and the things they tried when one of them came out with, “It was all good, but I just couldn’t even attempt to try the shark eyes.”

Me: “Um, what? Did you just say shark eyes?”

Friend: “Yeah. You know, what was in the silver boat.”

Me: “That was SHARK EYES??!!?!”

Yep. I ate the eyes of a shark.

What about you? Have you ever eaten something crazy or exotic? Do you have any funny food stories to share? Let me know in the comments!

**

Ginger here again.  Thank you so much, Jessica for sharing your (mis)adventures in food.  I’d like to add two photos of my own from a long ago crab boil we had when my kids were little.
  

The boys aren’t sure how they’re going to eat it.                       Or maybe it will eat them instead.  🙂

I’m looking forward to hearing about YOUR food adventures!

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About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on January 9, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I love seafood. LOVE it! But I hate the look of crustations. Just hate it! The lobster with it’s eyeballs and tenticals – ewww!!! And that weird body. Don’t even GET me started on shrimp or crabs still in their bodies – NO WAY!!! I can barely manage mussels and that’s just a SHELL for land’s sake. My poor hubby has to do all the shelling for me. I can’t handle it and am happy to simply not partake in the feast. The mere site of crustations can be enough to turn my belly for the evening so even if he’s shelling my yummies, I keep my eyes expertly averted. I know…so silly, eh?!?! LOL! Lucky for me, hubby’s a real gem and shells without complaint! LOL!!

    • Natalie, you totally crack me up! One time I ordered shrimp and they came with heads and trailing legs and everything. I was surprised but I was being taken out to lunch by a family and I didn’t dare not eat them or look squeamish. It was hard to pull off their legs and unpeel their heads, but I managed. haha 😉

    • Jessica O'Neal

      Hahaha! Oh wow, if mussels are almost too much for you, I can only imagine what your reaction to one of those staring crabs would have been! I honestly think the shrimp with legs grossed me out way more than the crabs with eyes, lol. It seems we were both blessed with wonderfully understanding husbands, though, who are willing to peel our food. 😉

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, Ginger! I can’t wait to hear everyone else’s food stories and adventures! 😀

  3. Very nice post ladies! I remember the food blog from before but it was just as enjoyable the second time around.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  4. I, too, am very squeamish about food that is served still in its “house,” if you will. I love seafood but I really don’t want to think about it being alive and swimming in the sea before it made it to my plate. Along those lines, years ago my parents decided to serve escargot as an appetizer to Christmas dinner. Following everyone else’s lead, I pulled the “flesh” out of its shell with my tiny fork. Out popped onto my plate exactly what escargot is – blackened slug. I screamed, ran away from the table, and refused to return until the next course was served.

    • Too funny, Nicole. Hey, you remind me of a time from when I spent the summer in Japan. We went out as a team (waterski) for dinner and it was family style. There was this huge bowl of snails, but not the large escargot variety, but little tiny ones. They gave us these long picks and you’d stick it in the shell, spearing the flesh, and sort of corkscrew the meat out. I of course didn’t eat it because that’s totally nasty, but I was quite talented in getting my little twisted corkscrew slug out and handed it off to someone who’d eat it. 🙂

    • Jessica O'Neal

      HAHAHAHA! That is hysterical! I must admit, I have never tried escargot. And I don’t know if I’d be able to do it. I have a feeling my reaction would be similar to yours. *shudders*

  5. Great post Jessica!! You are FAR more adventurous than I think I ever could be! With Ginger, our family has a big crab, shrimp, potatoes, sausage, corn…etc….boil around July 4th every year for many. The photos Ginger posted wasn’t from our first boil and the boys there are almost 14 and 16 now! Those boils are about as exotic as I get. If I can bat my eyes hard enough, my husband will still start cleaning my crab for me *I really heart him* ;o) LOL In general, I just don’t want to eat things that are slimy and squishy (jello and pudding aside). Aside from that, I’d like to think, I’d at least try it if I was presented the opportunity. WTG Jessica for your gumption and a great guest to my sisters blog! 🙂

  6. you are far braver than I. Because of my job, I am able to try the best of ethnic foods. My staff are from 25 countries and they all know the best places to eat. and I’ve tried them all. but no shark eyes. yuck

  7. That was a fun story! It can be scary to try new things, especially when you’re not quite sure what it is. I had to learn quickly in Ecuador that if you don’t want your fish with eyes intact and staring at you, then you have to order a fillet. I also learned that sometimes it’s best not to ask what is in something. If you like it, you might not want to know what it is. I definitely had to draw the line at eating grubs, though. I couldn’t do that.

  8. Shark eyes?!?! Are you kidding? I wouldn’t even sit at that table…
    You’re so funny, Jessica! You reminded me of one of my kids (at dinner) finally making the connection that “food-chicken” and “cute-farm-animal-chicken” are the same species. It was a revelation for him.
    Ginger and Jessica, thank you!

    • Fabio, I’ve always found it interesting to watch the kids make that connection. My daughter is an animal lover to the extreme. We call her an animal whisperer. When she made the connection she decided she wanted to be a vegan. While we haven’t gone there yet, she’s particular about her protein.

  9. Thank you Ginger and Jessica! You two make a good team! Excellent first Guest Post!

    Ah food. I’m not that adventurous. That’s because as a sensitive person, I know what foods make me feel good and what foods make me feel bad. So I have a pretty strict diet.

    But you take the cake Jessica on eating out of the ordinary foods! 🙂
    (And I don’t even eat cake. lol)

    • Karen, you bring up such a great point. Our food is our fuel, simple as that. We have to find the fuel that makes us ‘run/operate’ our best and keeps us feeling ‘tuned up’. 😉 I’m also quite particular about what I eat because I know which foods make me feel great and help me stay at the level of physical fitness that I want and which foods will stop me in my tracks!

  10. I think I would’ve thrown up if someone told me I ate shark eyes. Ewww! Jessica is a total crack up. I’m so with her on the critter thing and I don’t really like seafood anyway, but if it’s looking at me, um no way. My daughter will eat anything. Seriously, Andrew Zimmerman has nothing on my girl. I have no idea where she got it from, but she’s an adventurous eater and you know what? I’m kind of proud of her for that. Just don’t ask me to join in.

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