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The Devil's Picnic


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#1 InAbsinthia

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 06:52 AM

Has anyone read the book "The Devil's Picnic", where veteran travel writer Taras Grescoe, goes "Around the World in Pursuit of Forbidden Fruit"? Needless to say, one of the chapters is about going to Switzerland "in search" of absinthe, and I guess, talks about what a "true" absinthe is, at least from the point of view of some French & Swiss villages. Other "forbidden fruit" examined include unpasteurized cheese, bull testicles and even smoking bans.

I've ordered it from my library, so I haven't read it yet.
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#2 Guillaume Lanfray

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:51 AM

Bull testicles? Don't you (or didn't he) mean Rocky Mountain oysters, prairie oysters, Montana tendergroins*, cowboy caviar, swinging beef, and/or calf fries?

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#3 InAbsinthia

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 09:46 AM

No, actually I guess it is some kind of Spanish delicacy. To quote an amazon review:

Madrid is the next venue, where Grescoe tramps from tapas bar to tapas bar in an attempt to scare up a plate of bull testicles. This provides the chance to delve into the politics of meat safety and the European Union, not to mention sampling other Spanish oddities of fare such as baby eels (at $10 a forkful).


Got me ... :wacko:
all the green children pine for you
they learned all your secrets and made up your mind for you
although they were unkind to you
all the green children pine for you.
-- Winterpills, "a benediction"

#4 Alan Moss

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 10:26 AM

Has anyone read the book "The Devil's Picnic", where veteran travel writer Taras Grescoe, goes "Around the World in Pursuit of Forbidden Fruit"?  Needless to say, one of the chapters is about going to Switzerland "in search" of absinthe, and I guess, talks about what a "true" absinthe is, at least from the point of view of some French & Swiss villages.  Other "forbidden fruit" examined include unpasteurized cheese, bull testicles and even smoking bans.

I've ordered it from my library, so I haven't read it yet.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


There was a short thread on this on Fee Verte
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#5 Brian Robinson

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 12:53 PM

No, actually I guess it is some kind of Spanish delicacy.  To quote an amazon review:

Madrid is the next venue, where Grescoe tramps from tapas bar to tapas bar in an attempt to scare up a plate of bull testicles. This provides the chance to delve into the politics of meat safety and the European Union, not to mention sampling other Spanish oddities of fare such as baby eels (at $10 a forkful).


Got me ... :wacko:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Having lived in Madrid, I can tell you, bull's balls are no delicacy. Madrilenos will eat practically any part of the bulls anatomy, but it is in no way meant to be gastronomically delightful (it was born more out of necessity).

I must say, the baby eels are delicious. But they also don't go for $10 a forkfull. Even at a tourist trap, they may cost you $10 for a bowl full, but they typically average around $5-7.

One of the wierdest things I ate while living there was a treat made from plain gelatin, blood, and sauteed onions. Basically, blood jello. It wasn't horribly bad, but not something I'm planning on eating this September when I go back...
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#6 Martin Lake

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 01:19 PM

It's amazing what necessity will breed in the culinary world. I'm convinced the vast majority of English cooking was conceived out of necessity.
Ah, la petite mort; such beautiful suicide.

#7 Brian Robinson

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 01:21 PM

:laf:
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#8 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 04:32 PM

The necessity to avoid Irish food?

You know it was some starving-to-death Cro-Magnon that first said "Hey! Those seabirds are busting open those rocks and eating the guts! I didn't know rocks had guts!" Now we have oysters.

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#9 Martin Lake

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:22 PM

What I want to know is what wise fool said "Wow...that milk is really spoiled. Let's crumble it over a salad."
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#10 TrainerAZ

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 09:33 PM

"I wonder what will happen if I spend the next two hours ramming this rod into this creamy white stuff that I squeezed out of the cow. Maybe it'll taste good."
bacon's great, but i'm more of a sausage eater. - CG

#11 Guillaume Lanfray

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 10:27 PM

It's amazing what necessity will breed in the culinary world.  I'm convinced the vast majority of English cooking was conceived out of necessity.

I thought English cooking was an oxymoron.

#12 Jane Avril

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 11:12 PM

I got very ill from raw oysters years ago. Not going to try beef ones. Can't make me.

Sounds like a fascinating book, though. Great article, too.
Lizard licks his eyeball. -- Burt Bacharach

#13 sixela

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 12:52 AM

It's amazing what necessity will breed in the culinary world.  I'm convinced the vast majority of English cooking was conceived out of necessity.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Even mine is. Before I spent a year as an adopted Mancunian, I couldn't cook at all. The "quality" of the food at the students' restaurant at UMIST (and Manchester University down the road) soon changed that for good.

#14 Le Gimp

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 08:52 AM

No, actually I guess it is some kind of Spanish delicacy.  To quote an amazon review:

Madrid is the next venue, where Grescoe tramps from tapas bar to tapas bar in an attempt to scare up a plate of bull testicles. This provides the chance to delve into the politics of meat safety and the European Union, not to mention sampling other Spanish oddities of fare such as baby eels (at $10 a forkful).


Got me ... :wacko:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Having lived in Madrid, I can tell you, bull's balls are no delicacy. Madrilenos will eat practically any part of the bulls anatomy, but it is in no way meant to be gastronomically delightful (it was born more out of necessity).

I must say, the baby eels are delicious. But they also don't go for $10 a forkfull. Even at a tourist trap, they may cost you $10 for a bowl full, but they typically average around $5-7.

One of the wierdest things I ate while living there was a treat made from plain gelatin, blood, and sauteed onions. Basically, blood jello. It wasn't horribly bad, but not something I'm planning on eating this September when I go back...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I lived in Spain as a child (1960 - 1963) and enjoyed the spanish cooking immensely. Especially Paella cooked with a wood fire in the country (Constantina above Lora del Rio).

On the other hand, after the bull fights they would slaughter the bulls right outside the bull ring. I've sat on a balcony and watched it in Jerez during la Feria de Caballo in '73' when I was back for Uncle Sam. The meat was sold to the poor, and I can't imagine a more tough stringy cut of beef in the world.

#15 Doyle

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:04 AM

I just read the review of The Devil's Picnic and this book has been bumped up to the next book I plan to read...

I still need to receive and finish Don't Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock. After reading Fast Food Nation and seeing Super Size Me, this may finally stop me from ever eating fast food again...

Except for the occasional Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich... with a frosty... or even a classic chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A.... and maybe an Arby's Big Montana....

(sigh....)

Has anyone seen that fast food restaurants in Japan are now offering whale burgers to try to re-establish a taste for whale meat in Japanese youth? Something about that just seems wrong...
"You and your fookin rope....." - The Boondock Saints

#16 ShaiHulud

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:34 PM

Even though I live in the mecca of tesicles, I refuse to eat them. We have the famous Testicle Festival near hear every year which specialized in "Rocky Mountain Oysters" but you can count me out. I did just have a wonderful buffalo burger yesterday though.
Litany against fear of Absinthe - I must not fear Absinthe. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my Absinthe. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the Absinthe has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

#17 kjBrew

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:09 PM

The Best restaurant in Madrid?

El museo del Jamon! The Museum of Ham

#18 Jane Avril

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:38 PM

We have a Buffalo Inn a couple miles from me. Bison really doesn't taste much different than beef, IMHO. And the place has great live folk music during the warm months. It's in the high 90s today.

Wonderful thing about the place...they have these mist-ers on all the time before it cools down. Sitting out in the beer garden is very comfortable. The mist dries the second it hits, so it's much better than fans.
Lizard licks his eyeball. -- Burt Bacharach

#19 Brian Robinson

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 05:35 PM

The Best restaurant in Madrid?

El museo del Jamon!  The Museum of Ham

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Heh heh. I love El Museo, but it certainly isn't for the militant vegetarians. If you've ever seen one walk into one of those places, it's a trip...

Just sit back and munch on your baguette rubbed with garlic, topped with manchego cheese and jamon serrano and watch their eyes bug completely out of their heads.

Damn, now I want a sammich...
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#20 TrainerAZ

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:09 PM

Is it as nice as this place?
bacon's great, but i'm more of a sausage eater. - CG

#21 Brian Robinson

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:21 PM

Is it as nice as this place?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It's a bit different. It's actually a restaurant chain, not an actual museum. But, it can be easily mistaken for one, given the thousands of hamhocks lining the walls in each location.

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#22 Jane Avril

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:52 PM

Mmmmm.

Pork.
Lizard licks his eyeball. -- Burt Bacharach

#23 drcocktail

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 07:25 PM

Mmmmm.

Pork.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#24 TrainerAZ

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 07:47 PM

Do you grab a nice juicy one and clobber the vegetarians as they stumble around, slackjawed?

Like Evil Dead, only with a ham instead of a chainsaw.
bacon's great, but i'm more of a sausage eater. - CG

#25 drcocktail

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 08:00 PM

It's a bit different.


It's like I died and went to Meat Heaven.
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#26 Jane Avril

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 08:58 PM

Now you've really won my heart.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#27 drcocktail

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 08:59 PM

That you're a nun for Sebor?
Fledermaus means inflatable mouse.

#28 Gertz

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:43 PM

... I live in the mecca of testicles ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Now that's a phrase I don't hear every day.
+

#29 Brian Robinson

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 06:02 AM

:laf:
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#30 drcocktail

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 06:35 AM

Dunno, I could see that exact phrase issuing from the mouths of any of several celebs I can think of!
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