A few years ago my good friend Steve turned my 11-year-old son untothe travel show calledBizarre Foods.
In this goofy showAndrew Zimmern, food writer, dining critic, radio talk-show host, TV personality, chef and teacher,travels the world looking for strange and unusual things to eat. He usually ends up munching on such delicacies as spiders, snakes, and worms (oh my) in far flung countries.
What's really amazing is that no matter where he travels, or whom he meets there is always one constant food that seems to have one constant function when consumed.
I am of course referring to that one unique part of the male anatomy that must not be shown in the movies in it's full glory.
There's old joke that I think will help explain what I'm avoiding saying and it goes like this:
A little boy is sunbathing on a nude European beach with his father when he points to his dad's wee and asks?
What's that daddy?
His dad, not wanting to have "that" conversation yet says, "We'll son, that's a duck and it has a long neck."
The little boy not satisfied with the answer points to his father's family jewels and asks, "Daddy what are those?"
The dad replies, "Why son those are the duck's eggs of of course."
The boy still curious finally points to his dad bushy bits and says, "What's all that stuff dad?"
The father replies, "That's the duck's nest...now go and play."
The boy runs into the surf and the father settles down for a bit of a nap. A short while later he wakes up with a massive pain in his private parts.
The dad looks around and sees his son with a bit of a confused look on his face. "Son did you see what happened," the dad almost screams out in pain?
"Well dad," the son says. "After you fell asleep I was watching the duck and it spat on me, so I broke it's neck, cracked its eggs, and burnt its nest."
For the sake of this story I am of course referring to the duck when I say that there is one food that Andrew Zimmern always eats that has one constant function.
Not a real duck of course but "THE" duck from the joke.
So let me paint the picture for you. Andrew is in some Asia city when a hot plate of steamed, boiled, broiled, BBQ or even fresh ducks is brought out to him. Once again these are not real ducks, but you know what kind of ducks.
Andrew being the consummate and I would suspect highly paid professional looks at the plate of skewered and shriveled ducks and gingerly puts one into his mouth. At the same time the waiter, or perhaps his travel companion, explains that eating these ducks will make him much more of a man while giving him the thumbs up sign (wink wink nudge nudge), and doing an expanding motion with his his fingers to really emphasize his point.
Andrew thoughtfully chews on the fresh shriveled duck for a minute that have just come from an unlucky pig, cow, or perhaps sheep, and comments on how spicy and tender this particular ducks is, and "by the way my compliments to the chef for using just the right amount of garlic to bring out the taste of fresh duck."
It never fails, the local waiter than winks at Andrew and makes some comment about how lucky Andrew's wife will be tonight. Andrew smiles for the camera, digs in for a second helping of chewy ducks, and gulps it down with some strange local brew made from an unknown root.
BTW: The same story basically holds true for the duck's eggs, which seem to also have the same property that the duck has when it comes to satisfying a man's wife.
So here's my question?
How come it is only the duck and the eggs that have this mystical property to enhance ones bedroom performance.
I've watched countless episodes now where Andrew has eaten pig, or chicken, or even cow's feet, yet the waiter has never smiled and said to Andrew that tomorrow he'll be able to run a marathon at a sub 5:00 minute pace.
I believe in one of the more recent episodes Andrew had a plate full of boiled chicken butts, yet nobody commented on how Andrew will now have the mystical bowel control of zen toilet master.
In fact, I've seen Andrew eat a still beating snake heart, and just cooked brains, and stewed lungs, yet no local ever says that his heart, lung, and brain doc will now be out of a job. What they do say, and did say, after he ate the live snake heart is that his wife's a lucky women to have a man with such new found prowess in bed.
So what the heck am I supposed to eat to make me swim, bike, or run faster?
It seems that every culture in the known world has come up with a food to increase a man's virility. And what's really ironic is that it seems that the more endangered the animal, the more it pumps up the volume. For instance, I would bet that if a rhino's horn were shaped like a wilted rose, they'd be roaming the African Savannah like deer in Wisconsin.
But no culture in the world seems to care enough to have come up with a food for the endurance athlete. And perhaps that's a good thing. Just think what would happen to the world's population of sharks if word got out that eating shark's fin soup would actually make you a better swimmer instead of a better lover.
I can only hope for the endangered animal populations of the world that the far flung indigenous cultures of Asia still using rhino horn soon figure out that Viagra does the same job, and that it does it cheaper, faster, and without the need to kill some pointy horned animal that was just minding it's own business.
Hmmm....never expected to be reading about ducks in such a context....but this was indeed amusing. I think a lot of the beliefs about food that enhanced male virility is probably old lore, and perhaps even the thought that potential tourists that see this on TV, who under normal circumstances wouldn't think of trying those foods in the first place, may just give those speciality dishes a try. (Wink wink nudge nudge ca-ching ca-ching)