Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

That's Disgusting!


SheenaGreena
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am probably overreacting, but something really bothered me in class today.

I was sitting in my nutrition class and we were going over alcohol. My prof was going over different alcohols from different cultures/societies and after discussing sake, he talked about chicha or however you spell it? (i'm spelling phonetically here, if you know how to correctly spell it then help me out!). For those of you who don't know what it is, its basically a type of beer made in Peru that involves chewing up corn, and spitting it back out which then starts the fermentation process. There's a nice snippet of it on no reservations when AB goes to peru

anyways I was listening intently because I was interested. Its always great learning about new cultures...especially when it involves food.

So after he described what it was, someone in the back of the class (350 +) yelled "ewwwwwwwwww, thats disgusting".

now, why would you go and yell that out? what if someone in the class is from peru and found it offensive?

To make a long story short, it really offended me. I hate when people blatantly (sp?) put down other people's cultures or traditions without first trying them. Should'nt they have kept that comment to themselves?

Does this happen to anyone else?

I am so hot and bothered right now (not in the good way). I think its because I used to be an anthropology major so I was always interested in other cultures. Now I am a business major so all of this sounds pretty lame :wacko:

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It happens all the time and yes, it offends me...

On the Peruvian liquor, you can see "made" it in the Werner Herzog film Burden of Dreams which is about the making of the film Fitzcaraldo with Klaus Kinski. One of the biggest problems on the set is the extras' wives would follow the encampment and make this drink, causing all the extras to be often intoxicated. There was even a fight (if memory serves) between two women over a man. Fascinating...

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "ewwwwwwww" factor, I think, is one of modern hygienic sensibilities, which far removes us from our roots.

There's a word in the Hawaiian language (don't ask me what it is right now -- I came across it when looking up something else in a Hawaiian-English dictionary) that in essence means "to take care of someone, as by chewing food for a baby or elderly person." The ancient Hawaiians thought highly enough of this process that they actually had a separate verb for it.

Off topic, but related, before the advent of steam irons, my grandmother would spray clothes with a mouthful of water while ironing. And when our faces got dirty outdoors, my mother would moisten a handkerchief with her saliva to wash them.

Last week, I caught the end of a boxing match my husband was watching on TV. When the winner (from England or Wales) was being interviewed after the match, he startled the announcer by licking the tips of his fingers and smoothing down a cowlick on the announcer's head! That's something that's culturally not done in the USA.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last week, I caught the end of a boxing match my husband was watching on TV. When the winner (from England or Wales) was being interviewed after the match, he startled the announcer by licking the tips of his fingers and smoothing down a cowlick on the announcer's head! That's something that's culturally not done in the USA.

I'm not English or Welsh, but I think I can safely say that that boxer would be considered eccentric by most people on this side of the pond!

I used to live with some very conservative eaters who frequently complained that my food "smelt funny" or "looked weird". One of them refused to come into the kitchen one day when I had baby squid on the counter because it was "cat" (Donegal slang for bad or disgusting!) :shock: I found it very offensive (not to mention immature and ignorant), and to this day I am a little sensitive when people comment on my food - if you can't find something nice to say and all that!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took a beetroot risotto to work once for lunch and was informed by a picky eater (who is also a trained chef} that it made her feel sick, which made me feel :angry:

It was a beautiful ruby red colour, just stunning, and it tasted awesome as well.

There are also occasionally lunches from the two Asian ladies in our department that are greeted with hushed whispers and occasionally the opening of doors. Very rude in my opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's just like lunch in the school cafeteria, except that everyone is older. Many are not that much appreciably more "grown up" in terms of their own food choices and/or how they react to other's choices, though.

Food is an emotional thing. An aroma arises and feelings arise, the brain reacts. It's much stronger than so many other things we do differently from each other.

I have a theory that in every group of twenty four adults (about the same size of a classroom) you will find the same amount of bullies, jokers, teacher's pets, goody-goodys, snobs and other recognizable personality types from kindergarten, even though they are "grown up" now. There will always be a loud-mouthed bully who has to be offensive. (Usually he has a "second" who follows and helps, too . . . )

Once you know this, things take on a different shape. For bullies, are meaningless people, aren't they? If we make them so, in our minds. :wink:

:smile:

Of course a banana peel left on the floor outside any bully's usual place of hiding is a good thought, too. :raz:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have friends who are very limited eaters who do this sort of thing all the time. If I suggest anything that's not TexMex, Bad American Chinese, BBQ, or other terrible American food, they go, "EEEWWW! GROSS!"

It pisses me of in the extreme. To the point that I have begun going to great lengths to avoid eating with them. Food is a huge part of life, and to me a large portion of enjoyment of that area is experimentation. I actually feel sorry for them when I think about what my food life would be like if I had never tried real Chinese, Indian, Thai, Mexican, and many other foods. How limiting.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have friends who are very limited eaters who do this sort of thing all the time. If I suggest anything that's not TexMex, Bad American Chinese, BBQ, or other terrible American food, they go, "EEEWWW! GROSS!"

This can happen in any culture or even within any social structure.

To some people, hamburgers are disgusting, whether they are fast food or not. To some people, pork is disgusting. To others, vegetables are gross. An American buffet, loaded with the usual excess of "things" can be an anethema to some. The idea of "fancy French restaurants" in "New York City" is enough to bring others to professing their disgust.

The difference is not the food, it is the people. Not the culture, but the individuals and how they choose to project (or not project) their personal feelings onto the others around them.

In every culture there are people who are "loyal" to the foods they know. Very loyal. In most cultures you will find class differences in terms of the foods they are "loyal" to, and regional differences.

Fear of other's foods is rampant. Thank goodness, sometimes, that there are other things we can share with certain of our friends. And thank goodness that the world is a big place with lots of people to meet that *can* share an open outlook.

And, as I get older and older, I thank goodness for that, for age gives me fearlessness to use my tongue to give lashings to those I think deserve it for being so limited. :smile:

Bless their hearts. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a theory that in every group of twenty four adults (about the same size of a classroom) you will find the same amount of bullies, jokers, teacher's pets, goody-goodys, snobs and other recognizable personality types from kindergarten, even though they are "grown up" now. There will always be a loud-mouthed bully who has to be offensive. (Usually he has a "second" who follows and helps, too . . . )

I absolutely agree with you. I work with kids, and I often tell myself, "They're kids. Someday they'll learn their lesson and grow up into a respectable adult."

Then I meet their parents....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know, it's funny because while I totally understand feeling the 'ick' factor (I can't even watch that bizarre Asian food show on the Travel channel), I truly can't understand how people can expose their ignorance and bad manners by vocalizing it!

I am probably a picky eater compared to most of y'all (not at all compared with most of my friends/family), but I would at least try most foods that I could think of. And I certainly wouldn't criticize someone else for eating the things I wouldn't try.

Growing up, Momma's rule was that if something didn't appeal to you, it was only necessary to say, "I wouldn't care for any, thank you". That was the rule in our house, too. To me 'eeeewwww' is like making fun of someone's furniture or clothing - just unacceptable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was in cooking school, I had great fun pushing my classmates' buttons in just that very way. We were debating the merits of organ meats one day, during a break (me in favour, everyone else opposed), when I got onto the subject of liver.

"Best part of most animals, when it's cooked properly," I pontificated, "take seal, for example...the old-timers are all about the flipper pie, but I'll take a big plate of seal liver anytime."

This, as I knew it would, provoked a mighty burst of outrage from my classmates, especially the younger female ones (y'know they're thinking about baby whitecoats, not big adults which are essentially 400-lb Rottweilers with short legs). Eventually one of the braver souls piped up and asked me what seal tasted like.

"Darker and gamier than moose," I told them (accurately), "but not as dark as whale."

Pandemonium from them, evil-bastard amusement for me...

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the reactions, and have been witness to "ugly American" (sorry it is usually folks from the US) type behavior overseas of this sort - once I overheard (in France) a tourist yelling "how could anybody eat that" in front of her kids...great lesson to teach. And it's a reason I will not take some people to certain ethnic restaurants, having been dismayed by reactions to things like chicken feet at dim sum.

But in a class where people are supposed to be open to explore - that's unbelievable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chicha is Andean, not just Peruvian. The chewing up and spitting out process tends to only happen in very rural and/or poor areas where sugar is not available to start the fermentation process. In cities, chica is manufactured as beer would be -- without chewing.

Water and ground corn or yucca is combined and cooked for about 12 hours. Then they add the chewed up ground corn and let it all sit and cool. Then it's cooked again for about 12 hours. If it's not for chica dulce (non-alcoholic) but rather for chich fuerte (alcoholic) it's poured into a fresh cantaro (a giant clay pot) and topped with cloth/plastic/whatever is available. That will sit for 3 or 4 days. Then it is opened and drunk. There is usually a frothy residue on top which is skimmed off. The master/mistress of honor tests it and makes the pachamamma offering and starts distributing it. At the bottom is all of the corn residue, called hachi. This often consumed with the cicha dulce for breakfast. The hachi is important to fill the stomach.

The spat out corn is not the most disturbing part, if you want to think of it that way. Different regions have different thoughts about fermentation and different things are added to "aid" the process -- rocks, dirt, feces, etc.

Edited to add: The taste and consistency of chicha can vary vastly not only from place to place, but by maker. Within the same small village, you will get very different results.

Edited by MT-Tarragon (log)

M. Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But in a class where people are supposed to be open to explore - that's unbelievable.

Not so unbelieveable. There were a couple of people in my class at culinary school who were some of the pickiest eaters I have encountered. It boggled my mind on a daily basis when they would bypass the samples chefs sent around. What were they doing there?! I even said as much to one of the girls one day. She refused to try anything, so finally I broke down and asked her, "So, why are you in culinary school? I mean, since you seem to not really like food all that much?" She replied by telling me that she considered herself a really great cook, and would cook most things she wouldn't eat. "But how do you know if it tastes good or not?" I countered. She claimed to "just know." Yeah, right.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the reactions, and have been witness to "ugly American" (sorry it is usually folks from the US) type behavior overseas of this sort - once I overheard (in France) a tourist yelling "how could anybody eat that" in front of her kids...great lesson to teach.  And it's a reason I will not take some people to certain ethnic restaurants, having been dismayed by reactions to things like chicken feet at dim sum. 

But in a class where people are supposed to be open to explore - that's unbelievable.

Here is an interesting piece on the "Ugly American". Although it is merely published on the internet, the basis of the information included can be confirmed by current academic studies in Communications and Sociology.

While it is useful to make well-substantiated generalizations about the characteristic values of different cultures, it is dangerous to over-generalize and make the mistake of stereotyping. An effective way to avoid this pitfall is to stay acutely aware of the fact that generalizations are only valid as statistical statements about large numbers of people and that individuals may be quite different than the norm. Likewise, it is important to recognize that many countries, such as Belgium, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, India, Russia, China, and Switzerland, have distinctive multiple cultures within their national borders.
Edited by Carrot Top (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the reactions, and have been witness to "ugly American" (sorry it is usually folks from the US) type behavior overseas of this sort - once I overheard (in France) a tourist yelling "how could anybody eat that" in front of her kids...great lesson to teach.  And it's a reason I will not take some people to certain ethnic restaurants, having been dismayed by reactions to things like chicken feet at dim sum. 

But in a class where people are supposed to be open to explore - that's unbelievable.

Here is an interesting piece on the "Ugly American". Although it is merely published on the internet, the basis of the information included can be confirmed by current academic studies in Communications and Sociology.

While it is useful to make well-substantiated generalizations about the characteristic values of different cultures, it is dangerous to over-generalize and make the mistake of stereotyping. An effective way to avoid this pitfall is to stay acutely aware of the fact that generalizations are only valid as statistical statements about large numbers of people and that individuals may be quite different than the norm. Likewise, it is important to recognize that many countries, such as Belgium, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, India, Russia, China, and Switzerland, have distinctive multiple cultures within their national borders.

hey, guys, don't beat yourselves up too much, every country has its culturally undereducated...eg. Costa del Pom on parts of Spain's mediterranean coast

Edited by insomniac (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

:biggrin: I'm not so sure we are "culturally undereducated". Though it would be good if more of us could speak second or third languages. . .then it would be possible to hear and understand the French, the Italians, or the Whomevers being rude when they travel to other places rather than merely understanding it in our own language then being appalled.

The cultural components of the ways we act can distort understandings of things and of us. This is as true of cultures that have different components of behavior that visit the United States.

The more we all learn about each other, the more we can learn about the ways that we "are", hopefully will bring more understanding and acceptance of other ways of being to the table - some alteration of behaviors among those cultures visiting others, some acceptance of differences coming from those being visited, wherever it is in the world.

Labelling and specific name-calling has never brought anyone closer at any table.

...............................................

Though I do agree that picky eaters should all be moved to some faraway island together. :smile:

(P.S. . . .where they would all be required to take turns cooking for each other. :wink: )

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Living in a predominantly Muslim country, I'm often asked if I actually eat pork. When I say "of course" I generally get screwed up faces, and stories about how disgusting pigs are etc. What's interesting is that a lot of this comes from people who are not devout in any way; some have never set foot in a mosque. One of the most outspoken critics of my disgusting pork eating habits is an atheist! It just goes to show how far-reaching culture is. Here, pig is just not food; it's not much different than snake or horse would be for many Americans.

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I experienced Chicha first hand, first time in Pocono, Bolivia, a small village in the Andes Mountains. We had a private tour to Incallajta Inca Ruins far off the beaten path and stopped in Pocono on our return to Cochabamba. We first visited a chicha bar, an adobe stuccoed building with thatched roof and dirt floors. A bench was continuous around the outer wall. The room was lit only by the entry and a couple of small windows. Native Andeans sat quietly on the benches. In the corner the corn was on the floor fermenting. The chicha bar keeper was an indian woman in traditional Andean dress. She would dip a glass pitcher into a barrel of chicha and then hand you a gourd you would hold with both hands and she would fill it. You would first spill a bit on the floor to the earth mother, Pachu Momma. Then you would chug the gourd and pass it to the next person in the line. When celebrating they do not like to stop and even though I judge the alcoholic content rather low you can get drunk if you keep it up as they urge you on. We followed up with a visit to the woman a few doors down that actually brewed the chicha. Since my daughter-in-law could speak Quechua, the native Andean Inca language, I was able to compare notes with the woman. It is much like home brewing but the brew is not bottled and is completely flat. That trip with a gallery of photos and slide show can be viewed here. They are about 2/3rds the way down.

http://web.mac.com/davydd/iWeb/Site/Incallajta.html

We also had chicha at a native indian farm residence along with a home cooked meal of machu pique. Same routine with the gourd. And then another chicha session in a well-to-do attorney's home only we spilled on beautiful marble floors. Finally we had chicha twice in Peru, at a market and at a bar. Both those places were out of glasses with no spilling.

Did we like it? No one 'fessed to that. :biggrin: It really did not taste that good and the taste did vary widely in the different places. We had a processional to carry the Virgin of Guadaloupe statue to the village church in preparation for an upcoming festival and we passed yet another chicha bar. They came out to us with a bucket of chicha. It is a celebratory drink and you partake in that spirit. You will find more of what I mentioned here...

http://web.mac.com/davydd/iWeb/Site/Cochabamba.html

Davydd

It is just an Anglicized Welsh spelling for David to celebrate my English/Welsh ancestry. The Welsh have no "v" in their alphabet or it would be spelled Dafydd.

I must warn you. My passion is the Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Now blogging: Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Living in a predominantly Muslim country, I'm often asked if I actually eat pork.  When I say "of course" I generally get screwed up faces, and stories about how disgusting pigs are etc. What's interesting is that a lot of this comes from people who are not devout in any way; some have never set foot in a mosque. One of the most outspoken critics of my disgusting pork eating habits is an atheist!  It just goes to show how far-reaching culture is.  Here, pig is just not food; it's not much different than snake or horse would be for many Americans.

Yeah, same with most Malays. They consider pork "najis," a term that means "filth" but is often literally synonymous with shit.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Disgusting?

One of the topics that's come up is odd ferments. This can dismay people on two fronts. In the first case, you're basically dealing with things that have been left to rot. Wine, beer, fish sauce, bean curds....this is stuff going bad (consider the noble pot of kim chi).

On the second front, in the instance of alcoholic products, what we're interested in is the waste product of a living organism, in this case yeast. A wine's terroir is as much the scrying of a spoor as anything else. And in spirits we're going so far as to concentrate the product.

Not that any of this is going to slow me down. Where'd I put that Pinot?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "ewwwwwwww" factor, I think, is one of modern hygienic sensibilities, which far removes us from our roots.

There's a word in the Hawaiian language (don't ask me what it is right now -- I came across it when looking up something else in a Hawaiian-English dictionary) that in essence means "to take care of someone, as by chewing food for a baby or elderly person." The ancient Hawaiians thought highly enough of this process that they actually had a separate verb for it.

Off topic, but related, before the advent of steam irons, my grandmother would spray clothes with a mouthful of water while ironing. And when our faces got dirty outdoors, my mother would moisten a handkerchief with her saliva to wash them.

Last week, I caught the end of a boxing match my husband was watching on TV. When the winner (from England or Wales) was being interviewed after the match, he startled the announcer by licking the tips of his fingers and smoothing down a cowlick on the announcer's head! That's something that's culturally not done in the USA.

urr not done in the uk either - provacative childlike bahaviour to geta bit more publicity for being a "thug"

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was in cooking school, I had great fun pushing my classmates' buttons in just that very way.  We were debating the merits of organ meats one day, during a break (me in favour, everyone else opposed), when I got onto the subject of liver.

"Best part of most animals, when it's cooked properly," I pontificated, "take seal, for example...the old-timers are all about the flipper pie, but I'll take a big plate of seal liver anytime."

This, as I knew it would, provoked a mighty burst of outrage from my classmates, especially the younger female ones (y'know they're thinking about baby whitecoats, not big adults which are essentially 400-lb Rottweilers with short legs).  Eventually one of the braver souls piped up and asked me what seal tasted like.

"Darker and gamier than moose," I told them (accurately), "but not as dark as whale."

Pandemonium from them, evil-bastard amusement for me...

Love it!!!! :biggrin:

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...