Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Food for thought

Just thought I'd share this with you!

"Beijing's penis emporium by By Andrew Harding, BBC News, Beijing

There are many thousands of Chinese restaurants around in the UK and everyone has their favourite dish, but only in China itself do chefs specialise in a range of slightly more unusual delicacies.
Many of the restaurant's guests are wealthy businessmen
The dish in front of me is grey and shiny.
"Russian dog," says my waitress Nancy.
"Big dog," I reply.
"Yes," she says. "Big dog's penis..."
We are in a cosy restaurant in a dark street in Beijing but my appetite seems to have gone for a stroll outside.
Nancy has brought out a whole selection of delicacies.
They are draped awkwardly across a huge platter, with a crocodile carved out of a carrot as the centrepiece.
Nestling beside the dog's penis are its clammy testicles, and beside that a giant salami-shaped object.
"Donkey," says Nancy. "Good for the skin..."
She guides me round the penis platter.
"Snake. Very potent. They have two penises each."
I did not know that.
Deer-blood cocktail
"Sheep... horse... ox... seal - excellent for the circulation."
She points to three dark, shrivelled lumps which look like liquorice allsorts - a special treat apparently - reindeer, from Manchuria.
Government officials... two of them... they're having the penis hotpot
The Guolizhuang restaurant claims to be China's only speciality penis emporium, and no, it is not a joke.
The atmosphere is more exotic spa than boozy night-out.
Nancy describes herself as a nutritionist. "Not long ago, a particularly rich real estate mogul came in with four friends. All men. Women don't come here so often, and they shouldn't eat testicles," says Nancy solemnly.
The men spent $5,700 (£3,000) on a particularly rare dish, something that needed to be ordered months in advance.
"Tiger penis," says Nancy.
Bull's perineum is also a delicacy
The illegal trade in tiger parts is a big problem in China.
Campaigners say the species is being driven towards extinction because of its popularity as a source of traditional medicine.
I mention this, delicately, to Nancy, but she insists that all her tiger supplies come from animals that have died of old age.
"Anyway, we only have one or two orders a year," she says.
"So what does it taste like?" I ask.
"Oh, the same as all the others," she says blithely.
And does it have any particular potency? "No. People just like to order tiger to show off how much money they have."
Welcome to the People's Republic of China - tigers beware.
Sliced and pickled
"Oh yes," she adds, "the same group also ate an aborted reindeer foetus.
"That is very good for your skin. And here it is..."
Another "nutritionist" walks in bearing something small and red wrapped in cling film.
My appetite is heading for the airport.
Still, I think, it would be rude not to try something. I am normally OK about this sort of thing. I have had fried cockroaches and sheep's eyes, so...
There is a small bowl of sliced and pickled ox penis on the table.
I pick up a piece with my chopsticks and start to chew. It is cold and bland and rubbery.
Nancy gives me a matronly smile.
"This one," she says, "should be eaten every day."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I am living with a man who is obsessed with balls. Cricket balls, footballs, tennis balls, golf balls, snooker balls. When he’s not out playing with balls with his mates, he’s watching anything with a ball on TV. Jeez. For an otherwise very intelligent human being I’m astonished at his total concentration on such asinine stuff. He was incommunicado for days last week when the Masters was on - he spent about five, FIVE hours in front of the TV on Sunday watching adult men hitting small balls into holes. And yelling with glee when they got one in in less than the recommended number of hits. I ask ya, is that sane? The house could have burned down and he wouldn’t have noticed. What is it with men and sports?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

God's own second best country.

I have just returned from a trip to Australia. It's somewhere I have never wanted to visit as I figured there are so many Aussies in London, there must be something wrong with their own country that makes them want to leave it at the first opportunity. Having at first been a bit snooty about "parochial" Aus, it grew and grew on me and the beaches at Jervis Bay are the finest talcum powder white in the world, Robinson Crusoe land. God's own second country (after England, naturally!). There were green and red parrots in the beachside trees, and little grey kangaroos on some of the beaches - exotic or what? And a new drink - lemon, lime and bitters - cool! The beer was pretty bad though, perhaps that's why the locals leave!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wet Rooms

Whoever invented wet rooms should be shot at dawn. What is nice about getting out of a nice hot shower and standing on wet floors? Horrible! Give me an old fashioned ordinary shower, either freestanding or in a bath where I can step out onto a nice, fat, fluffy bath mat. Communal wet rooms in gyms are even worse - instant foot rot. Sheer misery. Ugh!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bush Meat - Not for veggies

Sheep's head meat from Iran, dried pork pot noodles from Japan and yoghurt balls from Lebanon. These are just some of the illegal culinary delights seized by environmental health officers in recent months.
Councillor Will Brooks, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "Sheep's head meat from Iran may be a delicacy for some, but it's illegal to bring it into the country for consumption on British dinner tables.
Many specialty shops may not know they are breaking the law by bringing in food from countries outside the EU to provide their customers with a taste of home.
Despite border controls, some illegal imports find their way onto the shelves as a result of deliberate smuggling.

Har, har – bush tucker, anyone?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pause for thought

I read blogs for fun and diversion, and it is mostly flippant comments and clever ways with words that provide lots of laughs and keep me coming back for more. Dr Maroon, Fatmammycat and Gorilla Bananas regularly make me laugh out loud with their unique slants on life. The Blunt Cogs crew feel almost like family, and the clever posts of Randall, Dr. Jo McC, Stephenesque and SamPCB are always a joy to read.

I have recently come to realise what a terrific support system having a “virtual” circle of friends can be. On Kim Ayres blog, he was lately talking of his problems with depression, and the sheer kindness and support from other bloggers was humbling. Many had themselves experienced the “black cloud” and were able to offer support and encouragement, and to share their own bad moments. And Binty’s recent post about male rape has given me pause for thought. I didn’t really take it seriously until I asked a group of male friends about it, and after the usual jokey asides, a few of them had some experience of women as predators when they were teenagers. They admitted they were too embarrassed to discuss it with anyone at the time, as they did not want to be considered a wuss. One said he kept quiet because it was a family friend. I was shocked. For teenage girls, the randy uncle/older brother or dad of neighbour, the parents’ friend driving you home after babysitting his kid, are all hazards a teenage girls contends with – and keeps silent about in order to keep family friendships intact; and because girls share these experiences, they are perhaps better prepared to defend themselves against the creeps. Boys don’t have the same support – if they want to be considered macho, the attitude seems to be sex anyway you get it is the goods. However, I can think of nothing more disgusting than being intimate with somebody I don’t want to be intimate with, and I can see how it could colour a person’s experience of something that should be beautiful and memorable. We all remember our first sexual experiences, and for the majority of us it is with a stomach tumbling, bittersweet joy for a younger, innocent self and a past that can never be retrieved.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Something old, something new....

I have discovered the love interest is good with wood! He is bustling about, replacing panels in doors, sawing bits off things and generally being a carpenter. I like it!
We spent the weekend trawling through architectural salvage yards looking for a Victorian door, and discovered that there are no two doors the same size, so when we found something suitable, bits had to be sawn off to make it fit. Isn’t it funny that what one generation regard as unspeakably naff is the absolute epitome of fashion to the next. We are busy restoring what the previous lot removed – doors, fireplaces, floorboards, windows – and it costs serious dosh to put back what was there before and thrown out in a skip. We can’t understand why anyone would get rid of Victorian box sash windows, fireplaces, nice doors and replace them with aluminium etc. but I can imagine they probably thought their choices were much better. Vive le difference. Anyway, I am over the top delighted with some new shelves the love interest put up – I now have all my books out of boxes and visible again. It was like discovering old friends again. The love interest thinks my delighted reaction to his carpentry efforts is totally out of proportion. “Just a few shelves”. DIY is a whole new language to me. I am fast becoming an expert on vintage knobs and knockers, rather than vintage lace and silk.