Who knows? A giveaway!

So here’s a first.

My loyal fans know I cook weird stuff. I find it, slay it (or at least charge it, usually with the “tap,” if you must know), research it, cook it, and then feed it to some lucky victim … I mean … friend or family member.

There’s a certain part of this process that gives me great joy, besides watching the terrified faces of my victims when trying an odd food creation. The grocery checker part, prior to the tap, is always lots of fun. You see, weird foods aren’t often labelled well. For some reason, they don’t have stickers. They’re usually all jumbled up in the same section as all the other weird foods, so even when they do happen to have a header card thingy, you can never be sure what is labelling what. Most times I take a picture of the name sitting above the weird food display for two reasons. 1. I’m pretty sure the memory section of my brain is the size of mulberry, so if the label is right I’ll be needing it when I get home  2. The grocery checker often says, “Um, what is this?” and because my memory is the size of a mulberry as already mentioned, I show them what I think the weird food is and then I don’t have to store the odd probable-name in the mulberry.

Ninety percent of the time, the checker person says, “Um, no, it’s not that. Don’t you know what it is? You’re buying it, right?”

Then I greatly enjoy saying, “No, I don’t know what it is. I like buying foods when I have no clue what they are.”

Then checker person says something along the lines of, “Vern to cash four please. Vern,” into their microphone, and that store’s inventory expert food nerd, who I have just anointed, “Vern,” shows up and says, very matter-of-factly, “It’s a blah blah blah.”

Checker person does a dance of joy because they can take my tap and chug ahead with their line, I make a note of the chosen name in my phone (mulberry), and the rest of the weird food order of business can proceed.

Until the other day, when there was a first. I nabbed two of these:

Mysterious food

Weird food 1-IMG_6006

To my great delight, the Vern was called in, and he/she said, “That’s a lotus root.”

I Googled lotus roots, and here’s what the insides look like:

Thanks justhungry.com

Thanks justhungry.com

And here’s what the insides of my veggie and/or fruit looks like:

Odd foodAnd folks, coincidentally, for this, my one hundredth blog post, for the first time, I’ve come across a food that I can’t figure out what it is. I’ve Googled until my Google finger was sore. I’ve sorted through pictures. I’ve searched, “Kind of like an artichoke,” because it peels like one, and “tropical edible tree fruit” and “common South Asian edibles,” and everything else I can think of. And I’m coming up empty.

So I cooked it up anyway. Butter and garlic, can’t go wrong with butter and garlic. And I ate it. I tried some raw, and some cooked. And then I left some leftovers on a plate on the table in case I dropped dead at my son’s swimming lesson and Dr. House’s people had to break in and do an investigation (those guys are smart, but I don’t think they’d know what it was either).

And I created a contest and giveaway, in honour of my one hundredth blog post, and also in honour of a really sweet review and giveaway my blog friends at Midwesternbite.com are doing for my YA romantic comedy novel. I’m really taken aback by the support they’ve given me. So here is how this contest is going to go:

1. You need to follow @midwesternbite on Twitter or subscribe to www.midwesternbite.com to be eligible. As per the really great support they’ve provided to me. While you’re at it, if you’re a chick, go subscribe to www.thepurplefig.com too – more BFFs, and you’ll love the stories. Hey, and don’t forget about me either! That’s a lot of subscribing, but I know you can do it.

2. You need to take a guess at what the heck this weird food is and tell me in the comments. I’ll give further observations to help with your research after I finish the contest rules.

3. If the weird food has already been guessed in the comments by someone else, you need to provide one serving suggestion in the comments. The first person to guess what the food is will get TWO ballots to win, and everyone else who follows the rules will get one.

4. Sorry, but you’re only eligible if you live in North America. I still love you if you live across an ocean or way down south, but it’s expensive to mail crap to you.

And as for the crap that’s getting mailed… (Kidding, this is one of my favourite cookbooks, obviously)…

odd_bits_cover_l

And now for the further details about this odd fruit or vegetable:

1. Apparently I’m not allergic to it, nor is it lethal, neither cooked, nor uncooked.

2. Its protective leaves are kind of like corn husks. Which might make them husks and not leaves. You tell me.

3. I think it’s some kind of super food, because I’m still awake and it’s after 10pm.

4. Its inner leaves are soft and downy, like a monkey’s paw. Or a kitten’s paw. Or a kangaroo’s paw. (I Googled each of these and it’s not that either, FYI)

5. It goes well with beer. And wine. This, I can say for sure.

6. It kind of tastes like a cross between an almond and an artichoke heart. I Googled almondichoke, but no dice.

7. It helps with virility. Wanna know how I know? Ha ha, not really, but I’ve been waiting all day to make that joke.

 

So that’s it!! Best of luck! And if it’s something really silly, like a carrot, you may never see this post again (and it won’t just be the memory part of my brain that’s the mulberry). Oh, and the contest closes March 1, 2014.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Joanna @ Midwestern Bite
    February 5, 2014

    Thanks for the link love! Since you mentioned this book awhile ago, I’ve had it on my Amazon wish list. It creeps me out a little, but I like things that surprise me. Plus my husband has been all reuse everything and save all the money so this seems like a good place to start. He’s also asked me recently if I would eat his weird food if he tried his hand at cooking. He might have bookmarked your recipes page. Mike is an awesome internet researcher so I’m totally making him win this giveaway for me. It worked for the last giveaway I (he) won where you had to “meme” funny pictures. He was a shoo in. He might be a shoo in for this one too. You have my address. Might as well just avoid the stress of having to double check other people’s entries and just declare the Midwestern Bite family the winner now.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 5, 2014

      Well I have to say I’m pretty glad you didn’t just call out what it was. I feel like I must be missing something. And it really is a super cool book, even if you only cook the tamer recipes in it. Lots of food history and good cooking stories

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 5, 2014

      Ha! That’s a good twist to the contest. If you give Googling the old college try and have no luck, you can comment with a name for the new veggie we’ve discovered and you will also be entered!

      • Leave a Reply

        Heather @ What Does She Do All Day?
        February 5, 2014

        Yeah, I spent a bit more time this morning that I should have Googling vegetables and I came up with nothing. The closest thing I think I found was salsify, but it doesn’t seem to have the husks…….

        • Leave a Reply

          Ann Allchin
          February 5, 2014

          Thanks for your research efforts! Now of course I need to try to find salsify and serve it up…

  2. Leave a Reply

    Trish
    February 5, 2014

    I guess that is a Flahflah Booyah Moona. But that’s just my guess.

    ps: I’m digging the new headline image!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 5, 2014

      Thanks! I figured that since I’ve been gaining photography expertise from cinnamonlikethespice.com’s photo tutorials I should probably be flaunting it better! And … um … maybe you shouldn’t quit your day job to be a botany nomenclature chick. There’s your dose of tough love for the day

  3. Leave a Reply

    Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    February 5, 2014

    I hope you realize how torturous this is for neurotic people like myself. After a good hour speaking with Prof. Google, I am still unable to find out what the hell this darn thing is!!!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 5, 2014

      Yay! At least I know I’m not a really horrible Googler. If this whole thing ends with me revisiting the store where I got it to find another Vern, you KNOW they’ll say they’ve never carried such a thing.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Joanna @ Midwestern Bite
    February 6, 2014

    Okay, I’m going with Bamboo Shoots for my official guess. I still plan on putting Mike to the research test so that means I sorta get a second guess with whatever he comes up with.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Mike @ Midwestern Bite
    February 6, 2014

    Now that I’ve had a chance to look, I definitely agree with my beautiful preggo wife. You got yourself a Bamboo Shoot. Too bad she loses though. This is the part where Alex Trebek smugly asks her for some additional details, there’s an uncomfortable pause, we hear the dream-crushing “Bzz Bzz”, and I pounce on the ringer saving the day.

    You most likely either have Phyllostachys edulis (aka Moso) or less likely Phyllostachys atrovaginata. I say this just going off looks, but the first one is the most commonly edible bamboo in our part of the world. The second is more cold hardy, so it could be that up in your Great White North.

    Here’s an interesting link to supposed medicinal uses of bamboo. Including such dinner conversation tidbits as, it’s supposed to “stimulate menstruation”. As if it’s not stimulating enough, amiright?!?!

    http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/medicinal-properties-of-bamboo-shoots-9756.html

    Ironically, why I recognized this, is I’ve been researching bamboo the last month because I’d love to plant a clumping variety (opposed to running variety that spreads wildly out of control) of bamboo far, far away the house along the road. I’d love to harvest the stalks for free garden stakes and trellis materials.

    (Joanna, stop reading now.)

    And I would totally use the hell out of that book. We’re ordering and splitting an entire grass-fed cow with our neighbor. The farmer says tongue, brains, organs, and THE TAIL is available upon request. What, like I’m going to not take perfectly good TAIL I paid for anyway? Silly farmer.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 6, 2014

      Wow, thanks! I’ll let you know later if my menstration was stimulated. Inquiring minds… Your response reminds me of my friends at election time. Bryan does tons of research, watches debates, talks to candidates before making his decision. Melanie (his wife) finds out which way Bryan is voting and then chooses the next best contender, just to piss him off. How does this sit remind me of that? You know everything about bamboo shoots, but still just get one ballot. Ha!!! Luckily your wife won two, so your chances are good. And I do hope you win so that you can guest post with your experience with tail!

  6. Leave a Reply

    Stephanie
    February 6, 2014

    Aaah – everyone beat me to it!

    So, I guess I’ll provide a recipe. There’s actually a Japanese dish that’s made around New Year’s that uses both lotus root and bamboo shoots. It’s called Chikuzenni and you can read more about it on that handy Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chikuzenni

    I don’t eat bamboo shoots a lot (although I do love it when I do) but my family eats lotus root all the time. My mom makes one dish that I grew up with that is hard for me to describe, but the lotus root (sliced up) ends up being nice and softly “crisp” (it’s hard to describe – kind of like the “crunch” of celery that’s been softened a bit after a stir fry – I know, I’m not making much sense). 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      February 6, 2014

      Wow, someone who’s tried both! And your blog tells me you can give me LOTS of new “dangerous,” suggestions. Let’s hope lotus root is easy to find. It looks pretty cool.

  1. Don't Cook - Buy Chips Instead! - […]  If you are more adventurous, there is ANOTHER book giveaway going on over at Cooking Dangerously.  The Father-in-Law might…

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