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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Outlandish (05/19/11)

TITLE: To Each His Own
By Marlene Bonney


There is a saying, “You are what you eat.” I have yet to figure out exactly what that means.

In our society, people eat a variety of weird food combinations. Scientifically and/or biologically, it has been suggested that we eat certain blendings to satisfy some vitamin or chemical deficiency in our bodies. In my opinion, though, strange food fusions come as naturally to some as the standard bread and butter comes to others, regardless.

In our family, my grandfather charmed (or repulsed) the socks off his grandchildren whenever they ate supper together. After saying grace, the tempting platters and bowls of potatoes, meats, breads and vegetables were passed around. Grandpa filled his plate innocently enough, but then used a second plate to construct his meal. First, a slice of bread and butter spread liberally with jam, his meat then sliced on top of that. The potatoes piled next, topped with vegetables and the entire mountain covered with hot, steamy gravy. It always looked to me more like an erupting volcano than his dinner! If remarked upon by any of us, he would simply reply,

“It’s all going to the same place, isn’t it?”

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when my Aunt Ruthie (Grandpa’s youngest) came home on summer break from college with her own originals--the one that fascinated me the most? Peanut butter, mayonnaise, and banana sandwiches! This turned out to be a neat double-dare I could use with my friends, a novelty that wore off as fast as the summer vacation ended.

I have a cousin who likes to top ketchup, lots of it, on everything.

“Hey, Joyce, want some fries to go with that ketchup?” a typical quip at family get-togethers.

She is a nurse, after all, so perhaps it reminds her of drawing blood from her patients, who knows?

When I went off to college, I discovered root beer mixed together with peppermint ice cream a tasty thirst quencher that I’ve yet been able to top. Does that make me a non-alcoholic candy cane?

I recently learned of a grown man who coats his popcorn with mustard. Ewww! My granddaughter spreads jelly on her hotdogs and her toddler brother dips his fries, chips or crackers into baby food sweet potatoes. Maybe they’ll outgrow it, or maybe, like many of us, it will carry over into adulthood.

I’ll never forget a visit to my youngest daughter’s college dormitory lobby to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. She and her friends were joking around about food preferences and the guys gathered there elected one of their bunch, Stephen, as someone who would eat ANYTHING. In a festive mood, I retired to the kitchen to “doctor up” a dish especially designed to gross them all out. One piece of deliciously frosted birthday cake and a large scoop of fudge ripple ice cream, followed by a search in the refrigerator to come up with a few additives tailored just for Steve. A large dill pickle was punched through the ice cream center generously slathered in mustard and topped with a maraschino cherry. It got the expected big reaction from the group when I placed it in front of him. But, before I could switch it out with the regular bowl of dessert behind my back, he had grabbed and gobbled down my original creation—with zealous delight! I can’t remember who turned greener—me, or my embarrassed daughter. I decided then and there never to challenge a college student; apparently they will risk life and/or limb to make a point.

In my quest for unusual delectable delicacies of peoples around the world, a few of my favorites are:

Pickled Snake Head Fish
Sesame and Black Bean Cheese
Cow Lung
Salmon Candy
Giant Water Bug
Crab Spawn Cakes
Artichoke-flavored Tea
Fried Bread Popsicles
Raw Octopus

I recently sent this list to my daughter, who in turn sent it to former college friend, Stephen. His reply?

“I pretty much have liked all of them, but my favorite isn’t on the list. My son introduced me to sugar donuts on pepperoni pizza. You should try it!”

Unbelievable! If his is what he eats, I shudder for those close to him!

(But, then, I adore grilled peanut butter, mayonnaise and onion sandwiches).

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Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 05/28/11
It is interesting to watch what conconctions other people eat. I had to laugh at the college student. He apparently was up to the challenge.
Carol Penhorwood 05/31/11
Personally I'll stick to peanut butter and sweet pickle sandwiches.