Why Would You Eat That?

Philippine Department of Tourism USA

Eat—it’s one of my favorite hobbies. And I love food the more it looks Asian or Mediterranean. Not that I’m choosy. Give me anything that can be eaten and see what happens. Sometimes, I think it’s why I also like watching zombie movies now and then. Just watch how they eat. I don’t know, but I love seeing people devouring food with such gusto.

But what I can’t understand is why people can’t understand why I eat what I eat. Or why I like zombie movies. They think I have some psychological problems just because of that. I guess, it all started when I dipped hotdog in vinegar when I was a kid and ate it with rice. People found it weird, but they really got the shock of their lives when one day they saw me eat camote tops with rice, and nothing else, for lunch. “Why would you eat only that for lunch?” they asked.

Blood and Intestine. Anyone?

In high school, there was a time when I only ate banana cue for lunch. Among the worse I ever ate for a meal was probably grilled pig intestine (isaw) and coagulated pig blood (named beta max in the streets). I bought them on sidewalks, cooked barbecue style (you may have them rare, medium rare or well done) and there was an array of different sauces in jars to dip them in. But I preferred a fresh take-home sauce packet rather than dip my barbecue in the jars where all customers dipped theirs. Just to play safe. Some folks dip their barbecue there, bite, and then dip it again. You can imagine how sauces and saliva eventually mix in those jars. Anyway, the dips were a mix of cooked vinegar, soy, chopped garlic and onions, and a little bit of sugar.

There are two types of intestine barbecue—pig’s and chicken’s. Chicken intestine is smaller and has some bitter after-taste. Pig’s intestine is more delectable. In Manila, barbecued intestines and solidified blood are ordinary street foods sold on sidewalks and patronized by the masses for early or late afternoon or early evening appetizers or snacks. But few people take them seriously as lunch or dinner like I sometimes did. So my friend was curious when one night he saw me having barbecued intestines for supper. “Why would you eat that for dinner?” he asked almost indignantly, like he caught me in adultery and was ready to stone me to death.

“Why not”? I asked back. “You eat this stuff in the streets, right?” He nodded. “Well, It’s just like that, too. Only this time I take them home and eat them with rice,” I said. That seemed to enlighten him. The next day, I saw him buy take-home barbecued intestines he would have for dinner. He became an instant convert. After that, we often had fish balls with rice for dinner. I think we were among the first Manilenans to do this.

For your information, pork intestine is thoroughly washed and scrubbed with salt to get rid of all undesirable taste, odor and dirt and then boiled to tenderize. Sometimes, it is scrubbed with guava, too. Then it is marinated for flavor and grilled. You get fats, bad cholesterol, lots of salt plus some uric acid bonus. No other nutritional benefit, whatsoever. But it’s so delicious that lots of folks don’t mind getting arthritis later on.

It’s not just my meals that’s often questioned. It’s also my mental food. Why do I read the books I read? In college while taking Architecture, I often read books on politics, agrarian reform, law, communism and mystery-detective fiction, among other books. But not a single book on Architecture. So my dad asked me why. I really didn’t know why. And my classmates in Architecture also asked me: “Why would you read that?” I just said, “Because.”

Some Sort of a Scientist

It’s probably due to how I sometimes like experimenting on things. Sometimes, I’m some sort of a scientist. Other times, I’m just plain superstitious like the rest 😀 . I want to see what would happen if I mix things like foods in my “lab,” cook them, or if I read this or that forbidden book. I like doing it especially when people tell me it’s supposed to be bad. I want to know what makes it bad or if it’s really as bad as they make it look.

Of course, I don’t mean experimenting on vices like drugs, smoking or joining illegal groups or activities or experimenting on sex. I’m more into investigating radical thoughts and trying new or weird recipes. And often, I discover supposedly “bad ideas” or “bad food” to be okay. Life is simply keeping everything in balance, even good health and wellness. Yeah, sometimes you have to know how unhealthy tastes like.

Why would I eat this or that stuff? Because I don’t want to be merely dictated upon by people, telling me what’s good or bad for me. I listen to wise people but then I want to be in charge of my life in the end just the same. And only God and his Word are my final decision-Makers.