Fear Factor, Brain Food, and the Roommate's Girlfriend

Let’s talk about food. Everyone has to eat. But our cuisine choices seem to differ around the planet. I’ve traveled a bit, I’ve seen some strange food, but let me tell you… Indonesia has some of the strangest choices I’ve ever seen, smelled, and had the audacity to sample. When I am feeling ambitious, I let my maid chill and I go shopping for groceries… it’s quite the experience. First of all, when you walk into the grocery store, you notice unlike American stores, you can see clear to the other side of the store. Hmm.. why is that? It took me a while to realize that it may be due to the average height of an Indo. All in all, Indonesians are a bit shorter, so obviously the food aisles don’t need to be stacked 3 meters high.

The next thing you realize is there’s none of the shady marketing that you find in U.S. stores. In America, the food marketing wonderboys set up the store so that you’ll follow a natural progression. They place certain food in certain areas, especially placing the more profitable food at eye level. Did you ever notice the cereal aisle in the States? Cereals like “Blueberry Morning, Special K”, etc are located right at eye level, so that the consumer will pay $5 a box. (as much as beef per pound if you do the math) Then they place the sugary please-make-my-kid-as-hyper-as-possible cereal a bit lower so Junior will beg and scream till Mom throws it in the cart. See, there’s a devious strategy to all of the American grocery stores.

So, back to my point. As I wander through the aisles of Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and “bule” food, I feel the naturally cooler air towards the meat section refreshing. However, upon cooling myself for a second, I glance down and notice sprawled out chicken, plucked and buck naked. If I look to the left, I see an assortment of frogs, squid, shrimp, lobster, snails, prawn, etc. If I look to the right, I’ll find more “exotic” cuisine: fish head, chicken feet (yeah, just they’re little clawed feet), a nice cow tongue complete with taste buds the size of a nipple, pig skin (for what?), an assortment of brain from chicken to cow, goat penis (ala John Bobbit), goat testicles speared on a stick and grilled as “sate” – just imagine how would that feel!, cow tail (for soup).

Ok, so I’m back home, watching Fear Factor. My roommate’s girlfriend is sitting next to him, eating some Sumatran food… smells a bit spicy, but pretty much I don’t take notice. On Fear Factor, the team has to choose to eat a 100 year old egg, beef brain, intestines, among others. My roommates and I are completely on the verge of puking just from watching the girls dry heave from gorging on the green eggs. My roommate’s girlfriend starts almost gagging from the sights, and in a sympathetic way, I tell her to try not to watch the show, but to instead concentrate on her food. That is, until, I look down at what she’s eating – a slippery, slimy, and yellow swirled piece of some kind of flesh. My stomach turns. “What the hell are you eating?” I ask. “Cow brains“, she replies nonchalantly. Holy Shit! If you click on “cow brains”, you’ll see what I mean. How can she be grossed out by Fear Factor while munching on some neurons and cortex?

The brain is about the size of an apple, completely covered in this placenta looking goo, and steaming still as if straight outta the skull…