Letters from Thailand











{January 29, 2008}   Is It A Turd….?

Today I am returning to a much loved topic between <my favourite frog and me. One that we will never tire of talking about, ever. I was reminded of it today because next week I’ll be attending a Chinese New Year dinner at work. The anticipation of this event has led me to experience all kinds of bad-trip flashbacks normally reserved for hard-core LSD enthusiasts of the 60s and no matter how hard I try, I cannot erase the image from my head of the most hideous creature of the deep….

2-sea-cucumber_ph.jpg

The Sea Cucumber.

Personally, until now, I’ve never seen it on a menu in a Chinese restaurant (a bit of last-minute research, flicking through the Food By Phone menu showed me it is, in fact, available from one of the four Chinese restaurants listed) it has always been presented, with great aplomb, whenever I’ve had to attend a Chinese banquet. Actually, until I saw it on a menu, it had crossed my mind that it was perhaps a joke played by the Chinese on foreign guests, along the lines of, let’s see how polite you are, eat this, while we have a bit of a laugh at your expense and tuck into something more palatable. That was to be the point of this post, so I’ve now had to change tack. Thanks, Food by Phone!

Now, people who know me will attest that I am quite adventurous when it comes to eating, but even my sense of adventure stops somewhere. That somewhere is the knowledge that what I am eating is basically an arse. Despite its similarity in the above picture to something found on sale under the counter at Ann Summers, the sea cucumber is nothing more than a colon. I have tried to find evidence to the contrary, but my initial sentiments have been proved correct.

Some facts about the sea cucumber:

  • Sea cucumbers are echinoderms (not arse related, but an anagram of echinoderm is ‘orchid semen’ which amused the 10 year-old within. Another one is ‘enrich sod me’ which is on the right (anal) track.
  • When threatened, sea cucumbers can contract their muscles and shoot out water from their body – just like us (I was so scared, I shat myself) Some can even shoot out their insides (I was so terrified, I REALLY shat myself) and grow new ones (God, I was so horrendously terrified, I REALLY shat myself so hard that I tore myself a new arsehole)
  • They feed on dead and decaying organic material – which is pretty much what your food is when it reaches your bum.
  • Some sea cucumbers can reach a length of 2 metres. The human large intestine is about 1.5 metres, so not a huge difference there.

In the course of my research, I was fortunate enough to find a good reason why we should not eat these creatures (aside from the fact that they are the texture of latex and taste like poo.) According to an article on the BBC website:

The sea cucumber produces a protein called lectin, which impairs the development of parasites. An international team of scientists have genetically engineered mosquitos – which carry the malaria parasite – to produce the same protein in their gut when feeding. The study found that the protein disrupted the development of the parasites inside the insects’ stomach.

    Malaria kills more than one million people every year, and causes severe illness in 500 million, so this is more than reason enough for me not to eat them. In fact I may even start a campaign ‘Save a Sea Cucumber, Save a Life!’

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    Bec says:

    lol, so funny I hate when you have to go to some event & are expected to eat things you have no idea about or desire to. I have the best refusal ever now though & one that no one can question: Diabetes. Thats right gets your self a chronic illness cause the excuse, “can’t eat, will mess up my blood sugars” has saved me from eating all kinds of crap over the years 😀

    Prolly saved me from numerous cases of food poisoning at the in laws too.

    Enjoy the arse.



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