On the menu: amphibian.

5 05 2007

I tried as hard as I could not to think of the fried pieces of meat as once belonging to frogs. There they sat, on a silver platter, six or seven individual legs, fried and crispy brown, just like chicken wings. Except they weren’t wings at all, nor chicken, and it took all the courage I could muster to pick up one of them (with my fork? with my fingers? should I stab a fried frog leg, or should I pick it up tenderly with my fingers?) and put it on my plate. The three others at the table sucked the long, thin bones clean of all their meat, tossing the remains on the platter closest to me, while my own leg selection sat perfectly plump awaiting any kind of sauce I could slather on it to masque the flavor of a meat I’d never tasted.
What was I so afraid of? I’d heard always, and it was repeated again for me tonight, that frogs’ legs taste just like chicken. But what-ever. They are the legs of frogs. There I was staring at this massive pile of long, crispy legs, thinking, “Whose are these? Are these all the right legs? Or the left? Are there two legs here that came from the same frog? Will I be able to taste the skin? What does frog skin taste like? Jesus Christ, please don’t let me taste anything.”
I couldn’t control my facial contortions as I poked my fork and knife into the thigh, piercing the crispy skin, exposing the white smooth flesh beneath it. I knew I was thinking about all the frog stories I’d heard of: “The Adventures of Frog and Toad,” for instance, one of the most formative works of literature in my childhood. Kermit the Frog–his “autobiography” a recent gift from a friend, sent to me a few months ago from the States. But those were side thoughts. Mostly I was thinking, “Fuck. This is s frog. This is disgusting.” And then I took one last breath and shut my eyes. I chewed the frog.

I’ve eaten pretty strange things in my life and have taken an odd sense of pride in having tried them: kongone, caviar, rabbit, giraffe, sheep’s brain. I get a kick out of telling my students I’ve tasted zebra and rave about its flavor and tenderness. So what was my big problem this time? Maybe it was, is, my shameful fear of the thing whose amputated and seasoned legs were presented before me. Once, when I worked at Merck Forest and Farmland Center, in Rupert, Vermont, one of my friends stepped on a frog and smushed that disgusting blob of flesh and water and gel all over her shoe and the dirt road. Frogs scare me here hopping at night on the sidewalk. They are big m-f’ers, so it’s not like I can ignore them, either. Everything about them seems amorphous and sticky and I suppose I am finally admitting I have a problem with their existence.

So I’m not really sure what to do with my new knowlege of the flavor of these things I dispise. And I’m not really sure there’s anything to do. I suppose I’ll go to bed and see what thoughts will surface in my dreams. I may wake up vegetarian.


Actions

Information

14 responses

5 05 2007
sofy

Ms. C, Ms.C…You hypocrite. How come you can use bad words and I can’t?!

And how in the world are you capable of eating little fluffy cute bunnies and not a yucky gross frog? Frogs are disgusting things that shouldn’t be allowed to live. They deserve to be murdered painfully and fried and chewed up. But bunnies? How could you? Eww.
Btw, ENGLISH TEACHER, it’s ‘despise’, not ‘dispise’.

6 05 2007
Tina (aka Mom)

Me too !!! agggggghhh !!!!

6 05 2007
Gerhardt

Oh ye gods, this had me laughing so much. You have more gutts than I do though – there is absolutely no way that I would have been able to eat that frog.

One question though… where did you get to eat giraffe & zebra? Its just so out of Africa. The weirdest meat I ever ate was elephant, and of course I tasted all kinds of antelope, but I never tasted zebra or giraffe.

6 05 2007
ginacoggio

Sofy. You’re right, it IS despise. Thanks for the correction. Also, I am older and have proven I can use words effectively over my 28 years of living; therefore, I think the ability to use foul language comes with the passage of time. You’ve still got a lot left before you are really allowed.

Mom. You would have freaked out.

Gerhardt. 🙂 Thanks! I ate giraffe and zebra when I was in East Africa, when I was 19. YOU’VE EATEN ELEPHANT!!!!?????? Don’t tell me it tastes like chicken, because there is NO way that’s possible.

6 05 2007
Gerhardt

no, nooooo, no no no.

See, elephant tastes just like… well, elephant 🙂 And it was dried, salted elephant meat actually – think beef jerkey. Only, it was actually elephant jerkey. And let me tell you, tons of salt can mask a *lot* of flavour. No, indeed, elephant tastes nothing like chicken.

Actually, I like my chicken tasting dishes to be 100% pure chicken. People are forever like… “Taste this grusome local delicasy! I swear it tastes just like chicken!” I’ve heard that said about frog, crocodile and gods know what else, even tortuise. Well, my response is always “W.t.f.?? If we have to eat something that is going to taste just like chicken, what’s wrong with having actual chicken? Just not to be chicken?” My problem is that I think chicken flavour should be accompanied by chicken texture. Else … well, let’s not dwell on that 🙂

7 05 2007
sofy

Aw big deal if you’re 28. It’s only 16 yrs of diff from me. And I don’t see how being older gives you permission to use “foul language”, as you call it. (that’s such a serious name for it, Ms.Coggio. Just say ‘bad words’ or ‘curse words’. No need to get all English grandma-y about it)
And I don’t get what you mean when you say that you can use words effectively. I can too use words effectively!

7 05 2007
Tina (aka Mom)

Note to Sofy: Good job catching your teacher’s misspelling !!

7 05 2007
ginacoggio

Yes, I agree. Maybe I could hire her as an official proofreader.

7 05 2007
sofy

Lol. I could consider it if I got paid…

7 05 2007
sofy

And thanks, Ms.C’s mom

7 05 2007
ginacoggio

(Sorry Sofy…I meant, use foul language/curse worse/bad words effectively–not slathering them all over my writing meaninglessly. The less you use them, the more effective they are when you DO use them. Catch my drift? Not that I’m looking forward to using them again anytime soon.)

7 05 2007
ginacoggio

(PS: I know you use words effectively; this is why I love reading your writing!)

7 05 2007
sofy

I do NOT curse all the time!
And I do NOT slather meaninglessly!

Okay, I don’t know what ‘slathering’ means and I’m too lazy to look it up, but it doesn’t sound like something I would do.

And I know you’re gonna say something like “I never said that YOU did those things”. So just to save words, I’m saying right now that although you didn’t say it exactly, you implied it.

8 05 2007
ginacoggio

Wow. You know me really well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: