Last night I passed the “biggest balls in the family” torch to my 6 year old son. I did so with a beaming sense of pride, but it was accompanied by that tinge of fear you get when you know you are about to be served. It's similar to the feeling I got when I went back to school at 33 and realized I still had a VHS and records, and these kids were talking into little ear robots between classes. Or the feeling a momma monkey gets the first time she sees her little monkey boy nestled up in the lap of another monkey girl, eating the mites out of each others' back hair. proud because that is one hot, bug-laden monkey girl, but sad because her baby is growing up, and she is getting left in the dirts of time.
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to visit the huge saigon asian market and shop for new adventures in dinner. We have 2 rules: we have to try a new drink and drink it all (yes, even if it has those nasty jelly grass things in it that taste like squid eyes), and we have to try something new that is definitely going to suck. we found curries and sauces and veggies and spices that made our mouths water with anticipation. We picked out our drinks like champs and choked down the nastiness that seems to be squiggling in all of them (what is up with the JELLY fascination?!) We made plans to return to buy the shiny, red, plasticine looking smoked duck that was staring down at us from his lofty meat hook, and then we decided to try the preserved and salted duck eggs. The ingredient listed “eggs and salt”. How bad could it be? I put a six pack of them in the cart, beautifully wrapped in red and gold foils, and we set off back home to create our masterpiece.
Let me preface this next part by saying that I will eat ANYTHING once. Chittlins at a chicago thanksgiving...done. Pig's feet at a friends mom's house for dinner...choked it down. Alligator and rattlesnake are child's play, and I dream of eating guinea pig in paraguay. That being said, these eggs were just on another level. I can only describe the taste as “imagine you were on dauphin island in august, and a hard boiled egg washed up on shore, which you then dug out of the pile of sun baked seaweed and sand, and popped it in your mouth. No rinsing allowed.” I immediately blew my chunk in the trashcan and dry heaved, temporarily hating all things asian. (I soon got over that, but not the unnatural affection for all things gelatinous OR brightly painted honda lowriders. You can't make me.) Seeing agony and anguish on my face has always brought euphoria inducing joy to the hearts of my children, and at the same time brings out zane's uncanny need to one up me. Without even asking me if that was blood I was puking up, he popped the very large remainder of the algae colored egg in his mouth, and went to masticating... BALLS... There were tears, and a few moments when his frantically darting eyes told me I might need to break out the mop momentarily, but, out of sheer competitive glory, he made that golf ball sized, rancid, salty, jelly-bag-of-an-egg his bitch, and I have no doubt of his ability to roll with all of life's punches from here on out. (I still have 5 left, if anyone wants to contend for the “balls” torch.)