Welcome to the blog for Colgate University's interdisciplinary course on food. This is the place to keep up with what students in the course are experiencing in their work at Common Thread Community Farm and through their everyday encounters with food.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Random Food I've Tried

Although I'm a pretty adventurous eater, I find that I rarely try new foods while at home or in my day-to-day life. I love to try anything new, just to say that I've done it, so I'm super open to trying almost anything that doesn't compromise my health and safety (though I really want to go bungee jumping...) Basically, many of my fun/weird food experiences have occurred while abroad. Here are some of the highlights:

- Termites: so if you're ever lost in a forest, you can survive on about 7 decent sized termites a day! They're high enough in protein, evidently. They taste super funny, in that they don't taste like you would think bugs would whatsoever. I thought they tasted like pepper (spicy-ish), but I was told that there are lots of different/unexpected flavors that people can experience with termites. I tried my first live termites in Costa Rica, right off of the nest. They go down pretty easily (even my mom tried some). They also can be used as a natural insect repellent, if you crush a bunch of them in your hands and rub them around your skin.

- Brazil: I tried a ton of new food here...not necessarily as strange as the termites, but definitely lots of things we don't have/use a lot in the U.S. First off, they put condensed milk in everything and it's completely out of this world. They make little desserts called "brigadeiro" with it, which are basically just condensed milk and cocoa powder (see below). Also, they put it in popsicles! The orange popsicle was mango flavored with condensed milk inside...wow. Another food thing that I absolutely loved was having a small coffee-type meal between lunch and dinner. They eat dinner pretty late, but have a snack around our normal dinner time. Usually it was coffee, tea, juice, bread, pastries, cookies, hot chocolate...all the good stuff. Also, they use mandioca to make soup, fries, and basically as a potato substitute. It's a root vegetable/starch and is absolutely delicious. (Mandioca is the Portuguese word, yuca in Spanish, cassava in English.) Last but not least, they have açaí, which is one of those super fruit berries that we sort of have in the U.S. They make smoothies out of it with, of course, condensed milk, or a variety of other toppings (fruit, cream, etc.) They also have some super awesome barbecue down there...I didn't have any, but overall I would definitely recommend stuffing your face in Brazil if you get the chance!

- Peru: from what I could tell, they eat basically everything in Peru. I stuck to the veggie options, but it was not uncommon to see pig heads, skinned frogs (for soup, of course), and LOTS of salted/dried fish in the markets. Salt mining is also really popular in the highlands, which is pretty neat! I had no idea how salt was produced, but apparently it's made through making lots of little pools from a salty stream and waiting for the water to evaporate. I also am a huge fan of "squeaky cheese". It has a variety of names, depending on where it's from, but it has popped up in a lot of my Latin American travels. Basically, it's delicious and squeaks in your teeth as you eat it. (The name is very unofficial and was made up by myself and other Americans) Lastly, there's the coca tea. I can't seem to find a picture, but they use coca leaves to help with altitude sickness in Peru. I have to say, it was not fantastic...it's pretty bitter.

Overall, I'd recommend pretty much all of these foods to a friend. (Except maybe the pig head...unsure of how one would prepare such a thing)

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