Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mystery Food Photos - Random # 6

I do have a new photo for you this week - unfortunately no mystery since, if you can read Spanish (or actually, to be more precise, Catalan), you will know immediately what it is.  But before I come to that, I thought I would give you a bit of a round-up of all the mystery photos I have shared with you in case you missed any of them.

Photo # 1 - pistachios - photographed on the island of Paros, Greece

Greece 259

I think this was my favourite photo of them all, and this was the one that stumped all of you.

Photo # 2 - carob - again photographed on Paros

Greece 218, edited

Some good guesses for this one, and Natalia at gatti fili e farina got it right.

Photo # 3 - gooseneck barnacles - photographed at La Boqueria market in Barcelona

Barcelona 143, edited

This one really got your interest, and there was all sorts of wild and wonderful guessing going on, with one anonymous reader guessing that they were in fact barnacles.

Photo # 4 - liquorice (or licorice, depending on where you come from) root, again photographed at La Boqueria market

Barcelona 123, cropped & edited

This one attracted lots of very good guesses, with even-star, Elizabeth and Alaskan Dave Down Under all getting it right.

Photo # 5 - razor clams - once again, photographed at La Boqueria market

Barcelona 134, edited

Okay so you guys really know your clams - Natalia at gatti fili e farina, Joi, Heather at girlichef, Natashya at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, Alex at A Moderate Life, and Rhonda all got this one right.  (Why not go and visit these great bloggers - they obviously know a thing or two about food!)

And now to today's photo.  I guess it won't come as any surprise to you that this was once again photographed at La Boqueria market in Barcelona.  Well, I make no apology for that - after all, you just don't see stuff like this at Peter Timbs Butchery in Edgeware!

La Boqueria 10, cropped & edited

As I said earlier, this is no mystery as such, since things are quite clearly labeled - but the real mystery to my is why on earth anyone would want to eat some of this.  Personally, I quite like a bit of offal (that is, liver and kidneys), and I get that it is truly honouring the animal which has given its life for your sustenance by eating every part of it, but I'm not ashamed to admit that there are just some things that I'm just a bit squeamish about.  In this photo are:  lambs' heads (on the left), bulls' testicles (centre front), bulls' gullets (on the right, directly behind the kidneys).  This vendor also usually has bulls' penises, but they were all out on the afternoon I was there (no doubt they're so popular they sell out of those by lunch time)!

I would love to know - which was your favourite photo in the series, and what food or animal body parts make you feel squeamish?

I really enjoyed bringing you all these photos, and I am immensely heartened by the interest that you all showed in this series.  Although some of these items are somewhat more exotic (and not necessarily available everywhere), it was a very salient reminder to me of how far removed from the source of our food we can become when we buy packaged ingredients at the supermarket.

I care passionately about eating food which, as much as possible, is made from scratch from natural ingredients;  food which is made slowly, with passion and with love;  food which is fresh and seasonal;  food which is prepared simply and not messed about with;  food made from ingredients you know, understand and can identify - not ingredients which have sesquipedalian (I sooo love that word) names you can't pronounce - really, who wants to eat calcium disodium ethylenediamintetraacetate (yummo!)?  That said, I'm not super woman - I don't have the time to spend in the kitchen that my grandmother may have done, so keeping it real means that I do take some shortcuts in the kitchen.  Whilst I like to make my own pasta on occasion, most of the time I buy store-bought, dried pasta.  Likewise bread - yes I do make my own sometimes, but mostly I buy a good artisan loaf from a local baker.  I like making my own jam, but can't be bothered too much with preserving so I use tinned tomatoes instead of bottling my own.  I often fall back on a jar of curry paste or tin of cannellini beans.  And I eat more than my fair share of ice cream and chocolate - both of which are health foods as far as I'm concerned.

A place where you'll find many like-minded souls, wonderful people who all share a similar food philosophy is the Hearth and Soul group.  Previously, known as the Two for Tuesdays blog hop, the group has had a name change and refocus of definition to better reflect what food means to its contributors. Why not hop over and see what it's all about.  I am contributing this post to the group, and you can see all of this week's contributions here.


  1. I have no idea what that sign says but wow, that is adventurous meat! I remember Meemalee (Meemalee's Kitchen) did a post about ordering and eating a sheep's head in Iceland so heads are pretty popular there too I presume...Love the other pictures too!

  2. I feel exactly the same was about offal - I just can't manage it! And I don't think you need to feel ashamed about feeling squeamish about the things in that photograph as I'm pretty sure a lot of folks feel like us :)

    I had not seen the pistachio photo before and I must admit that, despite loving this wonderful nut, I had absolutely no idea what they looked like when they were growing! They look really beautiful.

    Anyway, this is my rather long winded way of saying I really enjoyed your post!

  3. I love the pistachios, the shapes and colours are beautiful. I wouldn't dream of eating anything in the last photo, imagine, some people probably think they are delicacies!

  4. Sue
    Love your blog and photos.
    Thanks for your note over on Lighthearted Locavore. That fig recipe tastes gorgeous. My mom and I devoured it over a delicata squash which is local to my region and similar to a butternut squash. Guests savored the chutney with chicken apple sausages.
    Lexi (from New York City)!

  5. My favorite of the series was the gooseneck barnacles - I would love to try these some day. I am learning to eat liver and heart and other "normal" offal but I think I can go to my grave without eating the testicles or penis of any animal. I get a little gagging thinking of it, but if it was offered I *might* try a little itty bitty bite!
    Thanks for sharing this great series with us at hearth'nsoul!

  6. HI Sasa - if I ever go to Iceland, I'll remember to be careful about where I eat.

    April - thank you so much. Yes, I was so surprised by the pistachios when I saw them, and then once I knew what they were we saw them everywhere. I'd love to see them later in the season when I understand they turn deep red.

    Clare - so when you come visit I won't serve you up bulls' gullets for dinner then :-)

    Alexa - thank your so much for visiting and your kind comment - I'm longing to try that fig chutney.

    Christy - aaaah - the gooseneck barnacles were great - I love how they look like something almost prehistoric. I've tried sheep testicles (mountain oysters they call them here), and didn't love them - can't imagine those of the bull would taste any better.


  7. What a wonderful post about your balanced approach to food. I needed that today. I enjoy eating liver, but I don't have the stomach for anything else in that last photo (at least yet - I guess I should never say never). The pistachios were the biggest surprise to me too. They are beautiful.

  8. I love this post, Sue...and your approach to food. That said, my husband says bull testicles (and the rest) are actually good. I'll take his word for it ;) Thanks for sharing w/ hns =)

  9. the pistachios are so interesting! but the goat's head really had me in.. yuck!

  10. Hooray, Sue, love your food philosphy. It's all about balance and keeping it real, isn't it? I've gotta say that the pistachio pic is the one that captures my eyes again and again.

    I come from the land of Rocky Mountain Oysters, and I've gotta say that they taste great! As with so many things, there's just a bit of a mental hurdle to overcome in eating them.

  11. I love wandering through markets on our holidays! It's a reminder that fresh food is still abundant. Always a pleasure reading your posts, Sue!

  12. Suzy Q! OH certainly love this one the best! Because it makes me laugh so hard! I recognized those epidydimus swirls immediately as I was a biology major in college. To answer your question, they ate it because they ate it all, and now the old folks, consider it a delicacy and this butcher is happy to deliver it because it means less waste! I also hear the bulls penis when prepared right is similar to tongue. Yep, i also am blushing just writing that! Thanks so much for sharing on the hearth and soul hop! HUGE HUGS! Alex

  13. Hi Sue! What a fascinating blog post! I learned so much and enjoyed every second of it. I love all the pictures but the licorice is probably my favorite. I had no idea it looked like that! The last one really gets me squeamish, not surprising. I like to think I'm "culinarily enlightened" but would still have a hard time swallowing that :-)

    All the best,

  14. City Share - thanks you so much - yep, liver and kidney is as far as I'm willing to go into the realms of all those other body parts. The pistachios look so pretty don't they.

    Heather - your husband is not alone - I've heard that a lot of people think they're pretty good! I'm sure much of our appreciation of things like this has a lot to do with not being raised on them.

    Nags - no, I couldn't go the goat's head either. Thanks for visiting.

    Annie - I am such a total market addict when I go away - the few days that I had in Barcelona, I went to the Boqueria every day! :-)

    Alex - I don't know about bull's penis tasting like tongue, but I have heard that it's better than Viagra - so any time you think your sex life is flagging a little, whip your husband up a bit of bull's penis for dinner - ROFL :-)

    Hi Veronica - thanks for visiting - the licorice is such an unexpected one isn't it - I had no idea that the sticky black straps that I love so much came from something that looked like a stick!


  15. Butter - now that I know you love squirrel, I'm not at all surprised you're fond of Mountain Oysters. I would prefer the squirrel!



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