“Go Suck An Egg”
by Elaine Acosta
Sucking the amniotic fluid out of the cracked shell of an unborn duck isn’t as bad as one would think. I remember my dad poking a hole in the top of an eggshell with a flimsy silver fork and urging me to drink from it when I was about five years old. It’s a delicacy, he said. The egg was dyed a bright fuchsia color, making it even more appetizing, Easter-like. Pretty, I thought, like a big Cadbury Mini Egg. I sniffed it and it didn’t have a distinct odor. I shook it, causing some of the precious baby duck juice to spray on my Smurfette pajamas. My dad furrowed his bushy black brows and slapped my hand, almost knocking the slippery jewel colored orb to the ground. Not wanting to disappoint him any further, I slurped up every drop of salty, slimy amniotic fluid. As proud and happy as I wanted to make my father, I’ve never been able to bring myself to eat an actual embryo. The baby duck’s beak was already formed. Its vacant, beady eyes pleaded with me to have mercy.
Balut, the egg of a baby duck, is a savory treat in the Philippines and other parts of Asia. Its been highly regarded as one of the world’s most bizarre foods. TV shows like Fear Factor and Survivor have used eating Balut as a way to separate the men from the boys. Muscular men with unnatural tans cried and projectile vomited before they even brought the egg to their quivering lips. I needed to audition for one of these shows so I could earn some extra money.
As the first generation daughter of parents who emigrated from the Philippines, I was trained to eat anything. It was in my nature. The reason was not because my parents grew up as starving children in the jungle or anything like that. Over the years, Filipinos seem to eat and integrate foods from both the Spanish and the Chinese, or whoever else was visiting or conquering them.
I didn’t realize how strange the food my people ate was until my high school graduation. The celebration started with my dad coming home with a huge, real live pig, with huge, pink pig balls that were the size of Dolly Parton’s mammary glands. He and his compadres somehow slaughtered the pig in our garage after the ceremony for a Filipino, luau-style fiesta. There are still bloodstains on the cement floor.
Why can’t we have a BBQ like normal American families? I thought as my sickly pale Caucasian friends gaped at the carcass. Lechon, the dead pig, was crucified on a makeshift spit with a ruby red apple in its mouth. I took a piece of the grisly and crunchy skin of the pig and dipped it in patis, a pungent fish sauce. Stinky fish sauce dripped from my chin while I cursed my dad for making me feel so ostracized, but I couldn’t stay angry. His satisfied, greasy smile showed that this deceased porker was symbolic. Killing and devouring lechon conveyed how proud he was of me. That and he just liked pork.
The one staple many Asian foods that I can’t stand is rice. It tastes like nothing, and fills me up right away. I feel the same way about noodles and pasta. What a waste of calories these grains and starches are. Whenever I am at an Asian restaurant with friends (white or otherwise), eating sushi or sesame chicken, I completely ignore the fluffy rice side.
“I thought you were Asian!” Someone at would inevitably exclaim.
“I hate rice, I’d rather suck an egg,” was usually my response.