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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)

TITLE: A Culimary Journey
By djvenzke Venzke
07/25/12


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A Culinary Journey

I feel sorry for picky eaters. They miss out on so much. I suppose they have their reasons. Iím just glad my culinary spectrum is not so restricted.

Most folks Iíve gone out to eat with study their menus for familiar dishes, but not me. I look for an adventure. Iím disappointed when I canít find something Iíve never had before.

I remember ordering calamari for the first time. After the waitress left with our orders someone at the table commented that she just couldnít handle the texture of squid. I heard her, but didnít realize that was what would be on my plate when it arrived.

I played sports in college. After games the team sometimes ate at restaurants before heading back to campus. While my teammates ate their hamburgers and fries, I discovered the joys of exotic dishes like frog legs and linguini.

There are dishes that I probably will never eat. The television shows that feature unusual foods from around the world do not usually cause me to salivate. The idea of eating bugs, snakes and grubs repulses me.

One form of consumption I love though is buffets where I can eat all I can eat. Those places have to hate it when I come through the door. They may make some profit when most people eat, but not with me. I have such a huge appetite that relatives used to accuse me of having hollow legs.

The first time I was taken to a smorgasbord restaurant I ate until I was full. Then my buddies and I went into the restroom and did jumping jacks to settle the food in our stomachs and make room for more. Sure enough, I was able to pack in two more helpings.

I was skinny in those days. Even when I got married at just shy of twenty-one I weighed less than two hundred pounds. That changed quickly after I was blessed with my personal in-house cook who didnít enforce portion control. My wife complained that even as she progressively made more there were never any leftovers. I didnít know there were supposed to be any. I passed two hundred pounds during our first month of marriage and have never been back.

Restaurants offer menu items that seem specifically targeted at me Ė things like Whoppers, Belly Busters and super-size upgrades. I have met few such gastronomic challenges that I canít finish.

Over the years Iíve made scales beg for mercy, but Iím proud to say I never pushed a needle past four hundred pounds. More honestly, I should say Iím surprised I never did.

One dining format that has consistently nudged me toward that unwanted achievement has been pot lucks. Those have been a constant presence in my life because of my involvement with churches, schools and companies. You see, my stomach is not my only internal organ with huge capabilities. I also have a heart. I know that everyone who brings a dish to the pot luck watches to see how well their dish is received.

Usually when I come through the line everyone else has already loaded their first plate. So I get to see the offerings that have been skipped over so far. I take large portions of those. But, I canít ignore the others either or they will be offended. So I help myself to at least a little of every dish.

After I finish that first heaping plate I go back for me. My second plate isnít heaping, but it is full of my favorite remaining entrees. After that, dessert! I love pot lucks!

Usually the fare at pot lucks is predictable, but sometimes there are surprises, opportunities for a culinary adventure. This was especially true during my years in Alaska. I had no idea there were so many different ways to prepare salmon and their eggs. I also sampled octopus, whale, bear, seal, caribou meat and even went fishing just for the halibut.

Now, I live in Texas. Can you say chili? Also big here are barbecued brisket, sausage and chicken. There are few things Texans donít barbecue.

Then thereís a town nearby that will soon conduct its annual rattlesnake roundup. Hmm, maybe this will be the year for a rattlesnake steakÖthen again, maybe not. There are some limits to my culinary adventurism. I have to draw the line somewhere.


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This article has been read 117 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Camille (C D) Swanson 07/27/12
Hahahahahaha..."You have made scales beg for mercy"
You are too funny!

I enjoyed this clever piece of your "food journaling." Interesting and well done.

Thanks. God Bless~
Helen Curtis07/28/12
You are such a selfless person, making sure that noone's offerings at a potluck go untasted! Very thoughtful of you!!

I really enjoyed reading this. There was the potential for this to be just a list of things you like or don't like, but you really personalised it, brought in humour and compared your tastes to others' and their less courageous palate!

As for eating snake, go for it; the taste is just like chicken . . . or so I've heard! A great, 'blog' style entry, well done.
Brenda Rice 07/29/12
You have a good take on potluck meals. I like your writing style and your humor. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/01/12
I really enjoyed this. it was such a refreshing change of pace and a fresh take on the topic. You had me smiling at the eating anything and I laughed about not wanting to hurt people's feelings so you try some of everything. I also thought it was a keen observance that people look to see if others like the dish they brought. I'd never really thought of it before but looking back I do remember feeling good if my dish was a hit and feeling a tad sad if it was a flop(unless of course, I really liked it then it didn't matter if others ate it because there would be more for me at home later.:)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/02/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level two!