When I think of the culinary delights I would probably devour while in New York, I dribble at the thought of hot dogs and onions, giant pretzels and fruity cocktails. I’m guessing you’re thinking along similar lines, right? Well how about if I was to tell that, every year, the prestigious Waldorf-Astoria in New York played host to one of the world’s strangest banquets? Not for the weak-stomached (so me, then), this gruesome feast consists of pickled eyeballs, maggot-covered strawberries and – horror of horrors – deep-fried tarantula!
Food & drink
As we’re so often reminded, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It wakes you up after a night’s sleep, gets you ready for the day ahead and keeps you full until lunchtime. With such a vital role to play in our wellbeing, it’s perhaps surprising that so many of us leave control of our breakfast in the hands of a cartoon tiger.
To us here in Britain, a banana is just a fruit with a slippery skin; a tasty snack wrapped in a practical joke. In other countries, however, they take it much more seriously – it may be a funny looking fruit with a funny sounding name, but millions of people rely on the banana just to stay alive.
Most countries have a national alcoholic drink; a recognised tipple that represents their nation. Some of these are as you’d expect; Scotland (whisky), Russia (vodka), Serbia (slivovitz). Other countries are more difficult to guess – for example, you may think that the national drink of England is Blue WKD but no, it’s gin. Just ask my mother (who, it turns out, is surprisingly patriotic.) Here’s some more national booze for you to try – but not all at once, you silly drunkard!
We all love a good old dessert to tantalise our taste buds, don’t we? Well, I know I do and if you’re anything like me, old fashioned favourites like ice cream and black forest gateaux hit the spot. But, will these bizarre sweet numbers tempt you too?
I’ve recently taken up baking, and one of the first things you’re supposed to learn when using eggs is how to tell whether or not they’re still edible or ripe for a chucking. Just drop them in a bowl of water and, if they float, they’ve gone off. But if they sink straight to the bottom, crack those bad boys (eggs) open and get mixing! This isn’t quite how it works with the Chinese delicacy that is century egg, however…
Sesame seeds are those little dots of flavour that you really don’t take much notice of; they are on bread, burgers, in crackers, and lots of Asian dishes, amongst other things. I bet now I’ve mentioned them you’ll see them everywhere! Have you ever considered how they grow, though?
Well, let’s face it, it’s not a surprise that this fruit grows in a way that I find unusual, is it?! It looks ever so exciting and tropical, plus it’s called dragon fruit! I kind of imagined this fruit would grow on a tree like an apple would, albeit a more tropical-looking tree. However, it actually grows on a cactus!
So, where did you think sugar came from? Sugar cane? Well you would be right, but it was a surprise for me to learn that just over half of all sugar in the UK actually comes from sugar beet. I had never even heard of such a thing!
There are probably a few things you know about saffron already – that it’s more expensive gram-for-gram than gold, and that it’s yellow. But did you know it comes from a crocus? Yes, that lovely spring flower!