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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great balls of fare!

Mike Morin

Had enough hot dogs? Are you hamburgered out? I love the Fourth of July, but I am done with the predictable grill fare most of us ate this past weekend, and since we just passed the halfway point of 2011, I decided it was time to make some mid-year resolutions about eating.

I am not resolving to lose weight to fit into my new summer Speedo. Instead, I’m looking ahead to colder weather and hoping to gain a few pounds for sweater and parka season, which is just months away. Time to get a head start on my winter fat layer. Fitting into my new L.L. Bean down-filled coat might be easier than a thong, especially on a really chilly morning at Hampton Beach.

With New Hampshire fair season looming and deep fried Kool-Aid balls soon to be calling my name, I’ve decided instead to revisit foods I haven’t had in a long time, hoping to broaden my palate and make me a more interesting person at dinner parties.

Chatting up meatloaf and french fries is so yesterday. Next time you and I meet in a social setting, remind me to talk to you about eating Rocky Mountain oysters at a columnist’s convention in Dallas a few years ago. I’m guessing the only reason they were served was so we writers would find funny things to say about this beefy delicacy. Honestly, they tasted fine. I did learn a few other names for them, including Montana Tendergroins and Cowboy Caviar.

I can tell you deep-fried crocodile tail is pretty good, too. I had a spicy Cajun version of it in Detroit. After that meal, I decided that crocodile karma could catch up to me at some point down the road, so I have since retired my desire for crocodile, alligator, shark and cheetah. In fact, anything from “The Lion King” will never cross my lips again.

I had pickled jellyfish at a Chinese wedding several years ago. It reminded me of a spicy broth with opaque rubber bands. This was the first of 13 courses. Next was shark fin soup. I only made it to about the fourth course. I think I dove into a scorpion bowl after that and waited for the DJ to play “Macarena.”

Have you ever eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse? Waiters bring out endless skewers that contain every kind of meat your carnivorous heart could crave. One server was in charge of the skewer that held about 20 chicken hearts. He gave me an irritated look when I asked if they were free range chickens. “Not anymore,” he snapped smugly.

Vegemite is the worst-tasting substance I’ve ever had. It’s basically yeast. A bread spread that is hugely popular in Australia, it was like eating shoe polish. As much as I like the song “Down Under” by the group Men at Work, I don’t recommend ordering a Vegemite sandwich when visiting Sydney.

And shrimp on the barbie beats Kangaroo Caviar any day, too.

Hear Mike Morin weekdays from 5-10 a.m. on “New Hampshire in the Morning” on 95.7 WZID. Contact him at His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.