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Just because it’s DIFFERENT … does THAT make it BAD?

Posted by on October 25, 2013

“We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity.”
~ Desmond Tutu

We don't eat guinea pigs in our culture because, for us, they are pets!

We don’t eat guinea pigs in our culture because, for us, they are pets!

“EWW … how can they EAT them … they’re SO cute!!!” MANY students were SHOCKED during our Skype with Ashli and Zoe when they discovered that in some Peruvian areas it is COMMON to raise guinea pigs, let them run around freely in the kitchen on the dirt floors … and … to cook them and EAT them!

cuy

Fried Cuy (guinea pig) in Peru.
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by underwaterguy

Our initial discussion began like this:

WHY do you think some people in Peru eat guinea pig? Our thoughts were:

  • they don’t have a lot of food choices in some areas in Peru
  • maybe it’s tradition in Peru
  • Safeway isn’t right around the corner
  • they have to raise their own food, kill it and cook it
  • because it’s one of the only meats they have in the Peruvian Andes, (not a lot of animals around for meat)
  • it’s their culture

This shock AND interest led us down ANOTHER inquiry path. Just what DO different cultures around the world eat? WHY do they eat the things they do? And … WHY are we so shocked when we hear about these diverse cultural traditions?

We decided to do a little deeper delving into this intriguing topic!

We decided to do a little deeper delving into this intriguing topic!

“Before we begin don’t be disgusted because it is not wrong to eat different foods to survive. Some people in Indonesia eat monkey toes which are actually called fried monkey toes. Monkey toes are one of Indonesia’s foods. I would maybe like to “taste” monkey toes. I said maybe!” ~Cohen

“Really? I never knew that some people in China ate duck feet. Some people say it tastes like chicken. Some people in Hong Kong eat chicken feet. Several cultures eat chicken heads and they use it in adobo stew. Did you know that in Hungary some people drink pig’s blood? Some of the people say pig’s blood with eggs is good and yummy! In the US South some people eat squirrel brain. Some people cook the head with the rest of the body. Eww. But, it doesn’t matter, they can eat what they want to eat. I never knew that in Australia some but not all people eat ants. Some people’s favourite type of ants to eat are green ants. Weird. But it could be their tradition. Some people in Thailand eat fried spiders. Sometimes they even fry big hairy spiders. Some people in Texas eat rattlesnake. Fried frog legs tastes like chicken. Some people in the US South eat fried frog legs. Sometimes, some people in Brazil eat dried bananas. They’re black, wrinkled, dry and sweet. I had a fun time researching!” ~Kennedy

“Did you know that in Indonesia they eat monkey toes? Hey, do you know why I am writing about this? It’s because my class found out that Peruvians eat guinea pigs, so we wanted to know what other countries eat. I will tell you all about different types of food around the world that are really weird. In the south of the U.S.A. some people eat chunks of deep fried alligators and in Hong Kong they eat CAT meat with steam bread! Did I tell you that in France they eat brain bits in bread crumbs? In Africa they eat a special type of clay. It is very rich. I had an awesome time researching!” ~Claire

“Did you know that people in Asia drink pearl drinks? They are made of sweet red beans. This is why we’re learning about different cultures … because we are learning about different people! Even in Australia some people eat small green ants. In China some people eat jellyfish cut into strips. In Indonesia they eat Monkey Toes.” ~Aya

Deep Fried Scorpion

Fried scorpions and sea stars find their way onto dinner menus in MANY places!
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by inkelv1122

“Did you know that some people in China eat owl soup? An interesting fact is this. First, I thought it was so gross! But when I learned more about other food across the world I got used to it! All of my classmates searched for foods that we don’t know and that is “gross” to us. When we found the foods we had to write down some foods that we think are gross. Do you know why we started our research? We started our research because we were all grossed out when we heard that some of the people in Peru eat guinea pig. When we heard that all of us said that is so gross!” ~Hannah

“I never knew that people in the Southern US eat clay. Sometimes the poor eat clay for food. Did you know that people in China eat owl soup? They leave the head and put the head in the soup. We were in the lab researching what people eat in the world … from traditions to religions and all that stuff. It’s cool that people in Thailand eat water bugs.” ~Ethan

“Did you know that in the Southern US some people eat clay … you can buy it in the stores! In Indonesia they eat deep fried monkey toes off the bone. In Hong Kong some people eat cat meat with steam bread. Some people in the Philippines eat DOGS. They pull the hide off from head to tail. In Indonesia some people eat BATS … they sell them in stores! In England, some people eat head cheese! In the Southern US some people eat alligator on a stick … they eat chunks of deep fried alligator! In China some people drink snake wine. Sometimes in the Southern US some people eat fried frog legs … they fry the two large back legs! In Japan some people eat salamanders … with wilted lettuce. In New Zealand, some people eat HUHU … grubs!” ~Zyne

If YOU are interested in learning MORE about the unusual foods that are eaten around the world ... then THIS website is the one for YOU!

If YOU are interested in learning MORE about the unusual foods that are eaten around the world … then THIS website is the one for YOU!

“Did you know that in the Southern US they eat alligator on a stick? It is the tail part. I can’t think about eating that. Would you eat that? Did you know that some people in the US eat SQUIRREL brain! Yuck. I would not eat that. We started researching after we Skyped with Ashli and Zoe. They said people in Peru eat guinea pig so we were researching about other countries. Squirrel brain tastes kind of like mushrooms. Really, I never knew that some people in China drink baby MOUSE wine. Yucky to me!” ~Catherine

“Did you know that people in the Southern US eat alligator? I would not do that. People in different countries eat different foods, but the thing that creeps me out is that people in Hungary drink pig blood. Yuck, right? They probably think stuff WE eat is gross! Everyone is different. I also discovered that some people eat spiders too, and also mopane caterpillars!” ~Alex

“OMG did you know that in the Philippines some people eat fried crickets? Some but not all people think it is quite a treat! Yuck! In the US some people eat clay. Isn’t that gross? Can YOU imagine buying clay to eat?” ~Kale

“Mrs. Renton told us to go onto D2L and click on “Unusual Foods Around the World”. I found pig head, clay, jellyfish, cho do fu, dried fish and drunken shrimp! Pig head comes from Hungary and they make a cold soup. They eat clay in the Southern US and Africa. In China, or my home country, they eat jellyfish. The jellyfish is cut into thin strips and served in a bowl. Cho do fu is from China too. It is tofu.” ~Melvin

“Did you know that in China they drink baby mouse wine? It tastes like gasoline! Some people in Korea eat sea slugs! It tasted surprisingly crunchy! In China they drink snake wine! It has a snake in it. People in New Zealand eat huhu, (grubs). People say they taste like buttery chicken! In Hungary they eat pig’s blood! They cut a little opening in the neck and collect the blood in a frying pan.” ~Noam

Lauren said she tried the llama in Peru ... and it was salty but tasty! © Photo by Lauren Adamson

Lauren said she tried the llama while she was in Peru … and it was salty but tasty!
© Photo by Lauren Adamson

Guinea Pigs are sometimes brown. They are cute. I would not eat one. They eat them in Peru. My favourite food to eat is pasta. I like to eat pasta with tomato sauce. It is tasty.” ~Sam

“In Australia some people eat ants. Some Australians eat small green ants. In the Philippines some people eat fried crickets. They say they are awesome. In Texas some people eat rattlesnakes. In the Southern US some people eat alligator on a stick. They deep fry it. In Iceland, they eat shark.” ~Hilary

“Did you know that some people in the US eat squirrel brains? Yucky! Do you know why we are doing this project? Because when we were Skyping with Ashli, they said some people in Peru eat guinea pig. A lot of us were grossed out. Do you think sea slugs are slimy when you eat them? You’re wrong! They are actually really crunchy! There is also a food called Biscuit with little mice. This treat is usually served when a baby is born. In the Philippines they eat dogs in some restaurants.” ~Peng Peng

We were SURPRISED by some of the information we discovered as we researched further!

We were SURPRISED by some of the information we discovered as we researched further!

“People in the USA eat oysters and they are very chewy. Poke is eaten in Hawaii and it is raw sea food. The people in Vietnam eat scorpions because it is good protein. I would never eat a scorpion because I know they are poisonous. But, it is true that they are food for some people. I know how you eat them. First you put them in a glass of water with a lid and you put it in the freezer.” ~Lane

“Did you know that some people in the world eat some foods that we think are not so yummy? But the people in that country love it. Don’t be disgusted if I say something weird in my writing. It will have some sweet stuff and some things that are not so sweet. My first food that I am going to share is the sweet bread. This is Philippines and Indonesian food. Patai beans is a food that they eat in Malaysia. These beans smell like methane gas. I repeat, don’t be disgusted by this! Seagull wine … this Eskimo wine has a funny recipe. I will tell you it. So, first put a seagull in a bottle then fill it with water, then let it ferment in the sun. This is the recipe! Kvass … this Russian drink looks like a funny name, hey? Well, maybe for people who do not speak slavic. But, I think it is not a weird name for me! I will tell you just a little part of how to make this drink. So, it is made by fermenting old bread in water. Stewed dormice … this slovenian stew of special mice will be maybe good. Raised and fattened just for cooking! Cibreao … do you know what the Italian food Cibreao is? It is a rooster’s head! Salo … the Ukrainian salo is pig fat stored in vats and eaten cold … either raw, smoked, fried or boiled. Monkey toes … deep fried monkey toes, they look yummy to try! They eat them off the bone!”

Snake soup

Snake Soup is a delicacy in some parts of the world!
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by oldandsolo

“Guess what? Today we got to use the computers to learn about what lots of people like to eat … like petai beans … but those beans smell like methane gas! Monkey toes … deep fried monkey toes! Chicken liver! It’s breaded with a simple mixture of flour, salt and pepper then fried. Sea slug!” ~Kelly

“Some people in New Zealand eat huhu. Huhu is larva that tastes like buttery chicken. In China some people drink baby mouse wine. This is why it is called baby mouse wine. It has baby mice in it that are dead! First, I thought it was GROSS until I realized that in different countries they might think SANDWICHES are gross! Monkey toes are deep fried monkey toes. Some people in Indonesia eat them. Song birds sound good to eat. Wait … they eat them WHOLE in Italy. I wonder how clay tastes. In the Southern US, they say clay settles the stomach!” ~Daniel

“In Vietnam some people eat scorpions and someone said they were quite good. And, in New Zealand they eat a bug called HuHu. HuHu is a traditional Maori food. Some people in Indonesia eat monkey toes that are deep fried. Sometimes in the southern US people eat squirrel brain … yes … the brain of the small tree climbing animal.” ~Isaac

Frogs legs

Fried Frog Legs … you can find this on the menu in MANY parts of the world!
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by pachango

“Click. Click. I was on the computer in the computer lab and we were researching and writing down weird stuff people eat from around the world. Did you know that people in China eat duck feet? They are in big bowls. Dookers is a food from Scotland that is tough to chew. In some places in Korea people eat sea slugs which are surprisingly crunchy. People in Poland eat jellied cow’s foot. Some people in Indonesia eat … MONKEY toes. They eat it right off the bone. Guess what place eats grasshoppers? Mexico! They are really salty. I feel sad about this … some people in Nicaragua eat … turtle eggs. Now … this is true. Well … all of my facts are true. People in Vietnam eat scorpions. They are poisonous. They cook them and eat them.” ~Jenna

So … there you have it! These are just a FEW of the discoveries we’ve made about unusual foods around the world. What MAKES them unusual? MOST of them are not a part of OUR daily lives and traditions! Now we know that if we were RAISED to eat these foods, we would think it was NATURAL! MOST of us get OUR food from the grocery store … and NEVER have to raise or hunt for our own dinner. What comes in a package in Safeway doesn’t even REMOTELY look like the animals we are eating most of the time! Even within our OWN families there are differences in the things we think are tasty. So … just because it’s DIFFERENT, DOESN’T mean it’s wrong! SOME of us even think we might like to TRY guinea pig if we are lucky enough to be travelling through Peru sometime! ¡Buen provecho (That’s SPANISH for … ENJOY your MEAL!”)

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

~ Stephen R. Covey

We wonder:

  • What is the most unusual food YOU have ever eaten? Where did you eat it? How was it prepared? What did it TASTE like?

16 Responses to Just because it’s DIFFERENT … does THAT make it BAD?

  1. Elisa Waingort

    In Ecuador, Peru’s neighbor to the north, people eat cuy, as well. I’ve never tried any because, like you, I think of guinea pigs as pets and can’t get my head around the idea that people eat them and like them. Maybe in the future, people will consider some of our eating habits deplorable. Interesting thought.

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Elisa!

      Thank you for leaving us a comment. Do you like living in Ecuador? What has the experience been like? Are the Andes Mountains in Ecuador too? Can you SEE them from where you live? Have you ever visited Peru before? Did you know that the main pets in Peru are usually dogs? Do they have llamas in Ecuador? What kind of wild and domesticated animals are in Ecuador?

      We took a vote as a class. About 10 of us think we MIGHT try cuy, (guinea pig), if we had the chance … so 12 of us absolutely would NOT give it a try … unless it was the ONLY thing available to eat!!! Our teacher told us that hundreds of years ago the Aztecs ate chihuahuas! Although we can’t imagine eating those, either … we now know that different cultures eat different foods.

      You are right … one day people may think what we eat is gross too.

      Thank you Elisa.

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  2. jenna and family

    Hi Miss Renton and my classmates!
    Sorry I did not put some things that the class could all be a part of.

    We have tried lots of different Lebanese foods which are very yummy (for me, my mom ,and sister).
    Would people like to go to new place’s and try new foods?

    I know this is not about the post but what is the class’s favorite part about blogging? My favorite part is when we do new post’s

    Jenna

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Jenna!

      Some of us have tried Lebanese food also! Actually, only about 1/4 of us have tried Lebanese food. Zyne says there are ALL kinds of amazing Lebanese foods out there … Mrs. Renton didn’t want to try SPELLING them … but he will bring some recipes in so that we can discover a little MORE about Lebanese food. Zyne says that when his dad was in Lebanon he tried duck feet soup. He KIND OF liked it but said it tasted salty!

      Jenna, it is surprising to discover that there are about 17 or 18 very adventurous students in this classroom who WOULD like to go to new places and try new foods. Mrs. Renton thinks that we have gotten a LOT more adventurous since discovering more about the foods people eat around the world.

      Hmm. That is a great question, Jenna. The things that some of us like about blogging are:
      – writing our ideas for blog posts
      – we get to leave comments for people on the blog
      – sometimes we learn from people who leave comments for us
      – we learn LOTS about Australia because of Ross
      – counting all the flags and learning more about the countries that visit the blog
      – getting to see our writing on the blog
      – seeing how many hits we get on the revolver map … and counting up to the next 1000
      – reading people’s comments
      – parents and family members that live across the world get to see what we are doing in class and what we are learning about

      Jenna, thank you for leaving an AWESOME comment for us. We wonder … WHY is writing a new post your FAVOURITE part?

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  3. Rachel (Claire's mom)

    Hi! I have a friend who travelled to Cambodia earlier this year. At one meal she was served deep fried tarantula! She wasn’t brave enough to try it though! Claire and I looked it up and learned that the spiders are a species of tarantula called “a-ping” in Khmer, and are about the size of a human palm.

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Rachel!

      Thank you SO much for leaving this comment for us! We just looked up the “a-ping” spider … and … MANY of us suddenly felt no-longer hungry for our recess snacks!!! https://www.google.ca/search?q=a-ping+spider&espv=210&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Vh6WUrzOGZH3oASAxoLQDw&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=666&dpr=1 Some of us, though, are pretty brave! We understand WHY your friend wasn’t brave enough to try the tarantula … because MANY of us WOULDN’T like to try it either. There are, though, some rather brave souls in this classroom.

      Some of us have seen, in the candy stores we’ve visited:

      – cockroaches, larva and other kinds of chocolate covered bugs … yum!
      – in Calgary, you can even find sour cream cricket and scorpion lollipops!

      Claire told us your friend went to Cambodia through her Church and that she went to help at an orphanage. We think that is SO cool!

      She also told us her DAD has tried a TON of interesting things! We’d LOVE to hear about some of these food adventures!

      Thanks for leaving a comment that taught us some MORE about the world, Rachel!

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  4. Yaara (Noam's mom)

    I really enjoyed reading about different foods around the world. When Noam’s parent traveled in Ecuador, Noam’s dad got to go on a hunting expedition. They hunted an alligator and he had some for dinner. He reported it tasted like something between chicken and fish. We still think he was very brave to try.
    Again thanks to all the great blog posts!

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Yaara!

      Thank you for leaving a comment on the blog! We enjoyed reading about Noam’s dad’s experience in Ecuador! None of us has tried alligator … but we feel relieved to know that if we HAD to eat it … it would taste a little like chicken and a little like fish! That means it would taste kind of familiar! 😉

      We agree … we think Noam’s dad was brave TOO! About 1/2 of our class thinks we might try alligator if we have the chance … but many of us are a DEFINITE no!!!

      Thank you for the compliment. We are glad to know that you enjoy our blog posts. We are THRILLED that you left a comment because we learn TONS from these comments!

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  5. Grandma Hendy

    Hello, Battalion Bloggers – the most unusual food I have ever eaten is cougar meat. We went to a dinner organized by a group of hunters and fishermen in our area about 10 years ago. We were treated to quite a variety of game that evening. Cougar meat was one of the offerings. I did sample it and it tasted okay to me – but I was sorry that I had done that because I think that a cougar is such a beautiful animal. Apparently, from what I read on Google, cougar meat is enjoyed by many hunters – but I won’t be trying it again!!! We do enjoy following your blog and know that you are going to have a very interesting year. Keep up the great work!!!!

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Grandma Hendy!

      Thank you for leaving a comment on our blog! We are glad that you told us about eating cougar! We understand how you feel about eating cougar. We think they are beautiful animals too. We all know that hunters need food and some people eat it because they are hungry. About half of us think we would like to try it and the other half feel bad about the thought of eating it because it’s so beautiful. Some of us have tried moose, deer, elk, pheasant, grouse and geese. Many of us have not. Some of us have family members who go hunting. Most of us do not. Some of us have tasted wild meat in restaurants.

      Thank you, again, for leaving an amazing comment!

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  6. Kelly

    Hi miss Renton 😉

    the lama pictures are so cute! How are you doing? The video was beautiful! There are a lot of pictures on the blog!
    How is Roger doing? Well I will see you tomorrow miss Renton !

    Kelly 😉

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Kelly!

      Thank you for leaving an awesome comment on the blog! I love the llama photos too … there is just something about llamas and alpacas that I adore! Do you have a FAVOURITE photo on the blog, Kelly?

      Mrs. Renton 🙂

  7. Catherine & family

    Hi Mrs Renton. Our comment will be short but it should do. Some of my favorite foods are 油条 and 饺子 and last one is 包子. 🙂 Have you tasted one of these foods Mrs. Renton?

    Catherine 🙂

    • The Battalion Bloggers

      Hi Catherine!

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment for us! We had to use google translate … and Peng Peng to help us understand what 油条 was! It translated into fritters … and Peng Peng told us that it was like a type of bread that is fried. Very few of us have ever tried them! Google translate told us that 饺子 was dumplings … MANY of us have tried that … but maybe not the traditional Chinese way! 包子 are buns. Peng Peng did an awesome job of telling us that these buns have things stuffed inside them … but it’s hard to describe. Some of the stores downtown have them. They sound interesting!

      Which one is your favourite, Catherine?

      The Battalion Bloggers 🙂

  8. Claire

    Hi Battalion Bloggers,

    I know it’s been along time since we have talked about WEIRD foods. I just DISCOVED some of the WEIRD foods in our family. 😉 Here are some of them:

    -OCTOPUS
    -SQUID
    -SNAILS
    -CLAM/SCALLOP

    My Mom and Dad DON’T think that ANY of these foods are WEIRD but I do!
    Would any of you LIKE to try ANY of these foods?Do ANY of YOU have any WEIRD foods that you could share with me?

    Claire 🙂

  9. Marah

    Hi grade threes,
    Isn’t it so interesting learning about different culture and people? It’s so amazing that Peruvians eat guinea pigs! It is strange but it could be very delicious!! Where i’m from we sometimes put goat brains with our eggs. (it tastes normal, really it’s just makes it more yummy!) I will try my best to keep in touch with you guys! 🙂
    You guys are really lucky to have a wonderful teacher like Mrs. Renton!

    Sincerely, Marah 🙂

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