Jellyfish as Food


Zach and I had a food adventure the other day. Zach says it was one of his most disturbing food events. I say it was divine retribution since it was he who found the tasty little morsels. Ever eaten jellyfish?

If you haven’t, let me disabuse you of a notion you may have preconceived. Jellyfish are absolutely nothing like either jelly or fish. And I’m pretty sophisticated and expansive in my willingness to try different gelatinous foods. One thing I like to do is peel up the jelly from the bottom of a chicken pan after it has cooled off, and drop it into my mouth. I’ll admit that half of the fun is watching my kids lose their minds and their lunches as I do it. But it isn’t just the idea of meatish jelly that creeps me out.

I’d like to wax poetic about what jellyfish are like, but for the first time in a long while, words escape me. Hard to believe, but almost true. I will forge on, nonetheless.

First, what they look like. Imagine fetuccini sized empty intestines, whitish and translucent but very, very sturdy. This segs neatly into what they feel like which is best described as wet, rubbery ribbon.

By far the most disturbing aspect of frozen and revived jellyfish is the smell. This was due in part to the fact that they smelled like nothing any of us had ever smelled before. The closest I can come up with is that they smell like the breath of a very old person who hasn’t had lunch yet. Like the dotted outline of violet perfume, musty carpet, pressed powder, unwashed head and the muffled footsteps of the grim reaper. The smell was at once overpowering and faint. Like a black hole of smell, where the very absence of smell has shape and form.

The smell was really an aura, a bad aura with not so much fragrance or odor, but the implication of something very bad. Let me give Zach credit for the best descriptor yet, “It smelled just like oh no!”

Other than smell, the texture and sound were the most salient feature of the jellyfish. For something so rubbery, they made way too much noise. They sounded like the sound of the bionic man (the old one) bending a crowbar every time we chewed.

The taste was slightly salty but mostly tang, which is to say more aftertaste than taste. What the Japanese refer to as umami, I think.

We had a guest visiting (as we love to do with new foods) who suggested, brilliantly, that we dredge them in flour a d deep-fry them. And what food doesn’t improve upon being dredged and deep fried? We gave it a try. The were improved, but still very disturbing. the taste-smell-thing was with us all for hours afterwards.

A moment I will treasure was perhaps 20 minutes after we had eaten our last bits of jellyfish. As we were sitting in the kitchen, where Zach yelped and rushed around from corner to corner looking for something, but not finding it. He wailed, “oh no! I burped!” God, I love this life.


Excerpts from My Trip Journal

The first thing I put in my travel journal is the food. There probably aren’t going to be any great one-liners or profound truths laid out for you here, but you can see some of where my mind went:

July 24, 2007

In the airport “World Club” we had brownies which were way better than some of the crappy brownies I’ve had in my day. I would give them a B+. The plus being because they were both Frosted and Free with business class tickets. As they were pretty good, I was sure to eat 2 or 3 of them. They were very, very tiny. About an inch squared. Fer real.
I ate some of those gardetto’s crunchy things which were too, too salty but also free and better than pretzles. My dad had brownies, string cheese and a capuccino.

On the plane we had an appetizer after the OJ and champagne. Did you hear that? We had OJ, champagne and newspapers before the plane even left the ground. It was real weird flying business class. Ever see that Eddie Murphy SNL skit that was “White like Me”? Where he puts on white-face and gets on the bus, and as soon as the last black guy gets off the bus, out pop some ladies with trays and drinks wandering the aisles and smiling. It was like being in another world. Funny. And clever. For an extra hundred bucks they make you feel like royalty.

Not so much by being so nice to you. But by reminding everyone else that you are special. “The world perks lounge is only for world-perks members and business class passengers” and “Coach class passengers, Please do not use the restrooms in business class. There are 4 perfectly fine horrible and smelly, average and plain lower class lavatories for your convenience in coach class.”

Back to the appetizer. It was a canape of sorts. It seemed to be a fold of lox with a squish of some cheesy herb mixture pastry-squeezed onto it. The lox and cheese-stuff had the world’s smallest slice of lemon, not just a zest of lemon. A tiny-teeny slice of lemon with peel and a caper. All of that business was was riding on top of some round base that may or may not have been a bread product.

Really there are few places I have been where I had to think long and hard about what I was eating. Very few. And none of them good. For the most part, food should be pretty much recognizable, don’t you think? If nothing else, at least once you taste it, you should know what it is. This was one of those times for me. And I never did figure out what all that prettiness was.

It had a texture that made it hard to identify, but leaned towards either bread or some meat-based thing. Like a blood sausage. It was heavy and dense for being bread, but awfully dry and flavorless for meat. I find the inability to discern between bread and meat deeply troubling.

They also served nut cups and feta with sun-dried tomatoes. Before dinner. It was a long flight. For dinner I ordered the beef dinner. It was pretty bad. Charred and supposedly with a horseradish crust (what was I thinking?). The guy who put the horseradish crust on maybe had seen a horseradish, but he definitely didn’t put any into the crust which was not a crust, but more of a sludge. Yuck.

July 25th

Breakfast in first class was a fruit cup consisting of blueberries (which are a superfood), apple and some sort of green melon that had been magically converted into styrofoam. There was also a warm scone with jelly and something that was at least partially made of butter. Fruit juice and tea.

Lunch was fish and chips with mushy peas in London. My first fish and chips was OK, not great. Heavy on the grease, skin on. Mushy peas are a British thing. Take peas and mush them up. Serve them with fish and chips. These particular peas had microwave accident written all over them.

do you know of what I speak here? Where the outer edges are bubbly and weird enough to make you not want to use the microwave for a while?

Tip for later trips? Lemonade in London is Sprite or 7-Up with a slice of lemon in it. Not Lemonade. Whacked if you ask me.

Walking down the street, we were handed a free smoothie. It was free, pink and smooth.

Dinner was stellar. Pub food of the highest order. Call me crazy, but I ordered the bangers and mash with onion gravy. The sausages were juicy, but not greasy. They had been browned on the tops and bottoms until those parts were mahogany colored, but not burnt. The potatoes were real and buttery.

The onion gravy c was rich, not heavy, with only cursory nods to some bits of caramelized onion. That and the sausage, sitting on the potatoes was a marvelous combination. The gravy soaked some of the carmelization off the sausages and it soaked into the potatoes, like some kind of comfort food massage with a happy ending. Dang, that was good stuff.
July 26th

English Breakfast. Yum. We ate in the Thistle Victoria Hotel.

Thistle room

The Thistle Victoria is attached to the train station. So you can pretty much get off the plane, do something which drugs have made unavailable to me*, and land in a train station where you walk 20 yards and check into your hotel.

You check in and go through this fabulous Victorian lobby and up to the world’s smallest hotel rooms. To me, it’s just perfectly ideal. Room for your bed, a closet, the dresser, upon which rests your TV and a chair. There is a small bathroom, which adds about 50% to the size of the room. It’s cozy and quiet and just about perfect.

After a lovely night’s sleep, we had a full English breakfast buffet. It was great. It had food that I recognized and food that I didn’t. But when I asked the staff they were able to tell me that the blackish round slices of stuff was “Black Pudding”. The waiter was disconcerted, but polite when I asked what is in black pudding. In case you want to know, black pudding is made of blood and other stuff. It’s very delicious, says he. Says I, it’s not as awful as it sounds, but not good enough to make me forget that it’s coagulated blood inside a sausage casing.

I did try some, two little discs. It wasn’t delicious, it wasn’t terrible. It was kind of dry and kind of icky, but not horrible. There was so much more to try that I didn’t go hungry. Broiled tomatoes, scrambled or sunny-side eggs, baked beans (not sweet like our baked beans), mushrooms, good sausage, English bacon, scones, toast, jam, juice and tea.

Let me just wax poetic a bit about English bacon. It’s like a cross between Canadian Bacon and American Bacon. It’s mostly meat, salty and smoky, but with enough fat that it isn’t dry, and it fries up nice. It is really, really good with baked beans, mushrooms and broiled tomatoes. I never thought I’d be writing any sentence that said anything good about broiled tomatoes where garlic and cheese were not involved.

Dinner at our final destination was a strange conglomeration. Our bed and breakfast usually only does, um, breakfast. So they hired out to have dinners catered for our group. The caterer brought the following and laid it before us.

There was: cold pizza (frozen, cooked and refrigerated), cold chicken drumsticks, olives, pasta salad, falafel balls with onions in them, garlic bread, cold little sausages which looked like nothing as much as the dismembered fingers of naughty, dirty, pudgy british children, olives, carrot sticks, salad, tiny tuna sandwiches on little hamburger buns, and an onion and cheese quiche (cold). It was really weird. We tried to figure out the connection or theme (other than the obvious cleaning out the fridge) . Drew a blank, but bonded as a group.

*I take Ativan when I fly. It makes me stupid and makes chunks of time just disappear from my memory banks. It’s cool and scary at the same time. But I’m starting to be less scared to fly, because I can’t remember how scary it was. Genius.

July 27th

Breakfast of horrible wheat-flake cracker-cereal-biscuit stuff that looked and tasted like particle board, cereal in tiny boxes (Shreddies! that’s what they call Chex cereals), yogurt, fruit, croissants with and without chocolate, tea and juice.

Lunch was horror of pressed lunch meat, buns, crisps (new English word for potato chips), cheese, mustard. It was aptly described by my dad as cheap picnic food. That pretty well nails it. The only fun part was that English mustard is loaded with horseradish, which makes your nose burn and eyes water and makes me laugh every time I eat it. If you ever wonder if you’re dead or not, eat horse-raddish. You’ll know if you’re alive.

Dinner on my husband’s birthday was like revenge of the birthday karma from hell. I missed Andy’s 40th birthday and so I had to eat bangers and mash again. But this time it was so, so very bad. Floppy, mealy sausages in a viscous gravy that could stretch like no other food product I’ve ever seen or eaten, or imagined. The veggies were melt in your mouth tender, cooked so that the broccoli, cauliflower corn and green beens all had pretty much the same taste and texture.

There’s more, but you’ll just have to wait until I hit another manic phase and type it in.

I think I’m so damned Clever

We’ve got this house guest. He’s sweet. I think. I mean, I hope he’s sweet and these misunderstandings we keep having are all due to the language and culture barrier. But anyway. I started to get hives today, so I think I need to talk about it. Just between us, right?

Our guy doesn’t like veggies. At all. We’re trying hard to eat more veggies, and we buy a lot of them. We use them to supplement the stuff we call food, such as meat and potatoes. We actually have been trying to eat them as if they are food, which for a while made us feel kind of clever. Bad move. Never feel clever. You are not clever, neither am I. Feeling clever is just a prelude to feeling stupid. Remember that.

That and a 12 step program will take you pretty far. And my 12 stepping friends, don’t think I can’t tell this is a perfect time to accept the things I cannot change or change the things I can. I know, but I’m still working my program. I’m starting again tomorrow.

We continued to eat our vegetables, and serve them to our guest. He’s a long-term guest, so we kinda figure he might as well get used to it. What I, as the primary cook in the house neglected to consider seriously enough was how annoying other people can be in tiny (petty torments) but repetitive ways. So when he picked the garden-fresh green beans out of the pad thai, no big deal.

When he ate none of the marinated garden tomatoes with cucumber slices and summer squash medallions, it hurt just a little. I asked him if he liked any vegetables. He said, “some”. When he picked the olives and lettuce out of his bean burrito, it was starting to annoy me. I asked him, “What vegetables do you eat?” because it seemed that I was going to throw a lot of vegetables away figuring this out. He liked broccoli! What luck for me. The shipment from Farm in the City came yesterday and it had beautiful broccoli in it.

I served him a garlicky rice dish with lime, and some broccoli. When I served him the rice he pushed it away and said it tasted “extrange”. Then he tried to use the new vocab words I had taught him just minutes before. Unfortunately enough for both of us, I taught him both “nasty” and “gross”. Neither of which were appropriate for the situation. I had to tell him (with a great big American Mom smile, and a spatula pointed at him for emphasis) that you never tell the host mom that her food is nasty. Never. He should feel free to tell his friends at school the next day, but the only acceptable thing to tell your host mom is that it’s delicious, but you are allergic to garlic. He was sorry.

He ate the teensy flower tops off the broccoli and left the pencil-sized stems on the plate with the rice. He pushed the plate away and made himself some fried eggs.
Grrrr. This was starting to make me mad. Never let petty torments make you mad. It merely feeds the torments and drains you of crucial IQ points. Paradoxically you will have surges of feeling clever. You are not clever. I am not clever. We are average. And vulnerable.
Dinner tonight was a pesto pasta with harvest vegetables. Fresh basil pesto, garden green beans, garden carrots, mushrooms, and chicken breast sauteed in onion and garlic. Oh yeah, and aslo, broccoli picked yesterday. But I couldn’t stand the thought of him biting the teeny tops off the broccoli. I couldn’t stand it. The idea of what dinner was going to be like was giving me hives. Serious hives.

He was going to pick out everything but the chicken and the pasta. And say nothing. And pick out the all chicken pieces from the serving dish for himself. This was making me mental. But as I was cutting up veggies (every slice making me stupider while I dwelt on this issue), I was inspired.

I know! I’ll just chop this broccoli up with the chopper into pieces too small for him to pick out! Then he’ll have to eat them! I laughed a Snidely Whiplash laugh as I chopped up the broccoli.

I took pictures of the aftermath. I am not clever.

To Our Newest Guest


I should probably just have a disclaimer in the guest room of whatever person is staying with us. I love having them (most of them), don’t get me wrong. But in addition to making you the expert on everything de Minnesota, allowing you to be generous and kind, and allowing you to show off everything you’re proud of, it really shines a brutal beam on those things you’d just as soon not share. Or things you just never thought of as weird until you had to explain them to someone else.

I’d put something like this.

  • In general Americans don’t iron. Go ahead and do it if you want. Knock yourself out, but it sure ain’t part of the standard American host-mom laundry package.
  • There are lots of clothes here that can’t be washed. Serious. That great new warm jacket you got. The puffy one? Can’t wash it. Dry clean it if you really want to, but it can’t be washed.

This one was hard sell to the guy living here from Colombia. I’m not sure he even believes me now. The funny thing was that the hardest part of the story to get him to believe was that there were feathers inside the jacket. You should have seen his face while he tried to figure out the joke. He just kept holding the jacket out and saying, “FEATHERS? INside the jacket?”, like I was an insane person.

  • As far as laundry, because of a shortage of fresh water due to glaciation, we are very conservative with water. Only the homeowner can run the washing machine, and only then when there is a full load. A full load is almost always enough to cover the bottom of the machine.
  • We don’t dance in this part of the country. We want to. We’d love to, but we can’t. We’ve never been taught to dance. This is especially true for white people. We’ve had our ethnic self esteem battered by the Latinos and the Black Americans, who say we’ve got no rhythm. Now we’re afraid to dance unless we’ve been drinking. This leaves the society with only drunk white dancers, giving further credibility to the theory that white people can’t dance. We leave it to the professionals and the minority groups.
  • At the Morgan home, our laundry system is very sophisticated, involving phases of the moon and critical mass of clean socks, underwear and jeans and towels. Everything else flows from those items. Laundry is done at least once a week, usually 5 times or so. But the system can’t be imparted easily to a newcomer. Just leave your dirty clothes in the basket, they will reappear clean, dry and wrinkly.
  • Don’t touch someone else’s car radio. It isn’t done. I don’t know about your country, but here it is the law that only the driver may touch the radio. Unless the driver is a teenager, and the mom is in the passenger seat. Then mom is in charge.
  • We rarely sit around the table to eat dinner. This isn’t because we don’t find that valuable, it’s because we can’t always find the table. Please feel free to eat at the kitchen counter with the rest of us.
  • We don’t watch TV most days. At all. Occasionally we watch a show on PBS or put in a movie. As unfair as it may seem, this means you won’t watch TV most days. The problem is that in this house, if you turn on the TV, we all become immobilized until the power goes out or the phone or doorbell rings. This is not typical American behavior, just Morgan behavior at this house.
  • I’m truly embarrassed at the state of my garage. It is not typical American. It’s an issue. In Colombia I’m sure people don’t have issues. But here they are attached to your birth certificate.
  • Some phrases you almost certainly didn’t know, probably didn’t care about, but will have mastered by the time you leave here are as follows:
  1. “Did you flush and wash?”
  2. “Did you really?”
  3. “Go back and flush”
  4. “Did you wash with soap?”
  5. “Go back and wash with soap”
  6. “Hey, get back in here and flush!”
  7. “Do you have socks on?”
  8. “Do you know where my keys are?”
  9. “Lights out.”
  10. “Kitties don’t belong on the counter.”
  11. “Did you brush your teeth?”
  12. “You did not. Go back and brush your teeth.”
  13. “Did you use toothpaste?”
  14. “Did you brush your tongue?”
  15. “Did you really?.”
  16. “Go back and do it.”
  17. “Kitties don’t belong in the garage.”
  18. “You have to un-ball your socks before I wash them.”
  19. “Get off the computer and go outside.”
  20. “Can you chew with your mouth closed, please?”
  21. “Can you catch that phone?”
  22. “kitties don’t belong in the toilet.”
  23. “If you don’t like it, you can have a peanut butter sandwich.”
  • Typical American dinners range from pancakes to tacos to pizza to baked chicken and noodles. We try to eat vegetables with every meal. The evening meal is served anywhere from about 6pm to about 9pm. If you miss it, see number 23 above.
  • We make noises here. Especially the men and kids. They do things in meetings and say, “Excuse me.” and expect the meeting to continue. And it does! Things that would only occur as a prelude to a medical emergency in your country. It can be uncomfortable to be around, but honey, you should see what they do when they’re alone. Get down on your knees and thank god they’re on good behavior when you’re around.
  • We obey traffic laws. Even when there’s no one around, we stop at the stop signs. We’re not quite as obedient as the Germans, but way more than the South Americans.

Recent Eating Adventures

Haggis– Haggis is Scottish. I ate it in Edinburgh, at a diner(but I ‘m sure in Scotland ‘diner’ has a better name). My impression of it was of a highly spiced, coarsely ground, grayish scoop of stuff. A side dish. The flavor was something close to the stuffing you might have with Thanksgiving dinner if you’re from USA. With gravy mixed in. By that I mean that I could taste sage, salt, pepper and some distinct organ-meatish tastes. The texture was something like risotto, but maybe just a little firmer. The rice-sized bits were some sort of animal matter.

I’d do it again if I didn’t know it had brain in it. I’ll eat almost anything, but nervous tissue really creeps me out. And I’d only do it if it was to impress someone or to be polite. It wasn’t horrible or great. But if I think about it too long it gets to be a little of both.
Hotdish-on-a-stick– You must mean hotdish on a SICK. I’m not saying don’t eat this at the fair next year. But if you must, for god’s sake, share with someone you love, so you can bond over it later. This is a case of food-as-comedy if there ever was one. Do not mistake it for food as lunch.

My family (in this case, my dad, sisters and brother) wanted to pass by the HOAS stand. I needed to know more. Two guys staffed the stand, one in the front and one waiting to be busy in the kitchen. It was not yet 11am. I told the guy in front I needed to know more about this Hotdish on a Stick. “What’s in it? Are we talking tuna casserole or what?”

“Actually, it’s ah, tater-tot hot dish” he looked down when he said it.

ME:” Sweet! You mean with green beans?”

Hot dish Guy: “Ahh, no. No green beans.”

ME:”Oh. Well, with French fried onions, then?”

Hot dish guy: “Nope.”

ME: “Well what is in it?

“What’s in it is this, here.” He pulled out a piece of paper with a ball-point pen sketch, “You have a layer of tater-tots, and then a meatball, then another tater-tot, then another meatball. It’s all inside this batter, here.” he pointed to the outer shell of his map of HOS, “All with a cream of mushroom soup dipping sauce.” He pointed with his pen to the little cup-o-stuff in the picture.

“Mmmm! That sounds sick. Really sick. I’ll get one. I’ve got to try it.”

Dude in the front didn’t crack a smile, but the kitchen man sprang into action. Within seconds, I had traded 4 American dollars for a paper tray and a little bit of state fair on a stick.

Let me break up this reverie and say that I think it’s possible to do Hotdish on a Stick so that it isn’t a total train wreck. It would have French fried onions on it for certain, because that’s always the best part of any hot dish (unless it has melted cheese). It should have some sort of cream-of-something soup, because that’s just a basic tenet of Hot dish dogma. Meatballs would be OK, but little chunks of hamburger or tuna would be more authentic. It should almost certainly have noodles of some sort…. You get the idea.

But it should NOT have a tiny cup of cream of mushroom soup at room temperature with a skin formed over it. There is no excuse for serving something that has been allowed to sit long enough to grow its own skin. Neither should it be just a battered potato and meat shish-kebab that sticks to every part of your mouth in the mind-over-matter battle between your mouth and your good sense.

But I am nothing if not committed, especially when I pay money for something. I have the two bite rule and I stuck with it. First, as I mentioned, I peeled back the layer of skin on the soup stuff. Then my brother and I took turns taking bites dipped in the beige sauce. I made it to bite number 3 before I had to go spit into the trash. It was so bad that it made my brother and I both laugh so hard we almost cried. It was so bad, I actually threw the rest away. You’ve GOT to try it.


Canned Rambutan– Rambutan is a fruit. My dad says it’s quite delicious when served fresh. I choose to believe him. This is true in the case of many fruits and vegetables, which are befouled by the canning process.

Eating canned rambutan is like what I imagine eating sugar-soaked eyeballs would be like, if only my imagination was much more sophisticated. Until I had rambutan, I thought canned grapes were like eyeballs. I thought cherry tomatoes were like eyeballs. I was wrong.

What I failed to take into account in my grape and cherry tomato analysis was the true depths of meaty, slippery, eye-balliness that is possible in food. It might surprise you to know that the tin-can taste added a coppery, blood-like authenticity that I don’t think could be had in a frozen rambutan, for example. I ate two just to be sure I wasn’t just flashing back to a Steven King book. I can’t recommend canned rambutan.
Squid Jerky at Saji-Ya on Grand Ave: I will confess I wasn’t woman enough to eat the sushi. I left that to Andy who seems to genuinely enjoy it (How manly is that?). Instead I ordered the squid jerky. Jasper and I were thrilled when we saw the squid jerky on a plate. It was a pile of light golden brown strings. It looked like deep-fried, super thin onion rings. MMmmmm.

We each reached for our own strand. It was not hot, but room temperature. It was not crispy, but stretchy. It was like other jerky, but prettier, sweeter and saltier. Something like beef jerky, but without any of that annoying beef taste.

If you like beef jerky, this might be for you. If you’ve tried squirrel jerky, but been unimpressed, you should try this. If really tough, sweet and salty strings of yellow jerky infused with the delicate fragrance of worms dying on the sidewalk after a heavy rain sounds good to you, it can be had right here in St.Paul. Why not enjoy some today?

PS we brought it home and tried to feed it to our resident omnivorous cat, Moses kitties-009.jpg. He tried a tentative lick and then got to work straight away trying to bury it.

My New Career

Thanks to my “always thinkin” brother in law Trevor, I have found my calling. My sister forwarded me an email from him that linked to a website that has changed my life. I have decided to use this site as inspiration for some of my own writings. I am going to write about some eating adventures I will have. This is something I have enjoyed doing (eating and drinking strange and disgusting things) for a long time, it just never occurred to me to write about it.

Steve hasn’t actually written about any good ‘donteatits’ for a good while. Maybe he’s burned out. I plan to contact him and ask for his blessing. I would appreciate any letters of recommendation from people who have been around when I tried things that were truly ish.

I am looking for a partner in this venture. Someone with guts and nerves of steel and who is willing to try new things, even if, especially if they’re icky. Someone who might want to write about the experience afterwords. Steve lit the torch, now it’s my turn to take it and carry it for as long as I can stand. I’m all over it. Who’s in with me?

I would like to present my resume and qualifications for the position of the new don’t eat it guy. They are as follows:

  • I ate Cuy ( it up.
  • I tried all flavors of the Jones Turkey Dinner flavored pops, including gravy and brussel sprout.
  • Andy’s stepmom, Daniela always brings back salty licorice candies from hell, oops I mean from Amsterdam. One of my favorite pastimes (and I am not kidding. This is so fun) has been to get someone I love and each of us take turns trying from the sampler packs. There is nothing funnier to me than someone I love spitting black salty drool into the trash. Unless it’s the wounded look some get after mistakenly swallowing.
  • I ate squirrel jerky once, no twice.
  • I drank army worm wine (which tastes a lot like really bad grape wine, without the grapes).
  • I have eaten on more than one occasion, a dish called anticuchos, which is Peruvian. It is essentially marinated, skewered, grilled beef heart, eaten with a cilantro parsley sauce. Beef heart is pretty much like beef leg or beef rump. It tastes like moo. But the heart is much chewier and denser. Something like chicken gizzards, which I used to eat all the time, by the way.
  • My favorite part of the Turkey is the neck. I don’t know if this qualifies, but lots of people seem to get gaggy when I bring it up.

If I come up with new memories of things crude and scary, I will share them with you.

Lee’s and Dee’s Barbecue

Last weekend we got the following:

Zach had the catfish dinner, corn coated catfish, fried up nice. Baked beans and cole slaw. Orange pop to wash it down.

Catfish being a scum-suckin-bottom-feeder, one’s expectations can’t be too high. I think it was pretty decent. Not greasy, but not very brown, either. Not a bad dinner if you’ve got decent hot sauce, which was provided, free of charge. This is important because on the take-out menu, extra ketchup is ten cents.

Andy had the half-slab dinner. Half a slab of beef ribs with the slaw and the beans and a Pepsi. Decent enough that he had to adjust himself in his seat to eat more.

The cole slaw was acceptable. There was the addition of cracked pepper, but that is acceptable in my book. As is celery seed which I have seen done as well. What is not acceptable is putting onions in cole slaw. That is the nastiest trick. I rank it right up there with putting walnuts into brownies.

The baked beans were eau de Ivory Soap. They looked so dang good. Obviously not from a can. Real chunks of ham in them. Not gelatinous chunks of pink rubber, but real meaty looking ham. Imagine my sadness at the addition of the fresh clean scent of Ivory. Now my dining companions couldn’t taste it, but neither of them finished their beans.


Years ago when we got Lee’s and Dee’s for the first time and shared it with my mom, she said the food would be good but for the distinctive perfumey taste of Promise margarine in everything. I wonder it that’s what I was tasting?


I had the 6 wings with rice and a strawberry pop. Strawberry pop is something not found in just any restaurant. Points given for that. Shows a level of comfort with one’s self that I find admirable.


The rice was definitely weird. Coated and completely shiny with margarine. I think it was converted rice. Each grain was way too aloof. Like the rice was pretending to be rice and over acting.


Here’s my theory about rice. Usually you want rice to either soak up grease, to add bulk or to stretch out your enjoyment of some yummy sauce. In this case, we were definitely looking for grease control. Converted rice with margarine coating it is mostly plate decoration. It meant I couldn’t eat as many wings as I wanted to.



And let me tell you, the wings were awesome. They were crispy and salty and browned like I haven’t had them since I was a kid. That wonderfully crispy fat, oh my god it brought me back. Reminded me of when sometimes we’d have fried chicken. I think my mom fried it on the stove-top and then baked it in the oven. Whatever she did, it was good hot or cold. I would go back just for the wings, but I would bring my own rice.


The guy who owns the place stands outside pretty consistently every day. I think he goes out to smoke, but he ends up being a kind of Victoria Street Ambassador. He waves to people driving by or stopped at the 4 way stop at the corner. He looks like a bald black Colonel Sanders. He’s very personable, if not overly warm.


His wife seemed angry at us. I think we interrupted CSI or something. Because the TV was blaring the whole time we were there.


Here’s my recommendation. Get the ribs and the wings, with a little slaw. Call ahead or wait for them, but make your own rice, get your own beans if you must have them. Bring it home and enjoy.