Mussels

October 20th 2017

Today I tried mussels for the first time and hated it. We were out for a work lunch at this French place, and three of the group ordered moules mariniere as a starter. (I later learnt that it’s ‘moules mariniere’ not ‘moules marinara’, as in “I’ll have a foot long meatball marina sub on hearty italian bread, toasted with cheese please boss”)

They were all going on about how moules mariniere is their favourite food, and if they could eat any food right now it would be moules mariniere. They all know how fussy I am with food so none of them were surprised when I announced that I’d never eaten moules mariniere before. (for the record, I should point out that every time I write ‘moules mariniere’ I’m copy-and-pasting it because I have absolutely no idea how to spell it)

This should in no way be taken as a criticism of my Mum, but I grew up on chicken and microchips because I just refused to eat anything else. So no, I’ve never eaten moules mariniere.

Until today, that is.

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They half joked, half suggested “are you going to try some?” and I half joked, half answered “Maybe in a minute, maybe in a minute” hoping that they’d all get too excited and eat all of their mussels and forget about me.

No such luck.

My boss just kinda stuck a mussel shell (are they called shells?) in front of my face and I kinda just grabbed it and ate it.

To be honest, I was assuming that I’d hate it more than I acutally did. It’s probably worth mentioning that I don’t eat fish, and have never actually eaten shellfish before (oh yeah, it is called a shell) so it’s completely possible that I could’ve been allergic to it. That would’ve made it a fun lunch.

Anyway, I chewed it twice and then swallowed it. Flavour wise, it was actually surprisingly nice. Although maybe that’s not too surprising considering it’s basically just smothered in garlic (good) and cream (good).

It was the texture I hated. So slimy. My main issue with most of the foods I don’t like is the texture. And it doesn’t always make sense, and I can’t ever explain it properly, but I’ll try. Simply put, I don’t like mashed potato because it’s too soft and I don’t like lettuce because it’s too crunchy.

But what about crispy bacon?” I hear you ask, because literally everyone asks that. Well, that’s different because crispy bacon is supposed to be crispy. I don’t feel like lettuce is supposed to be crispy. I don’t want to bite into a burger and have a random crunchy bit of lettuce ruin the nice soft bite of the burger. “But what about crispy bacon in a burger?” I hear you ask, because literally everyone asks that. Yeah, well… shut up. I know it doesn’t make any sense to you, but it makes sense to me.

I didn’t like the texture of the mussel. (is mussel the singular form of ‘mussels’? I don’t know. I’m so naive and uncultured.) It was just… quite slimy. And it didn’t really feel like a food. And although the flavour was nice, when you swallow it all you can taste is the sea. Last month I was snorkelling in Greece, and I tried diving under water but my snorkel filled up with water and all I could taste was the sea for the next half an hour. That’s what the mussel was like.

It was the same when I had lobster —(Oh yeah. I have eaten shellfish before. Turns out I’m definitely not allergic. Good to know)– I described lobster as ‘like eating undercooked pork belly that had been dropped in the sea’. And I stand by that.

And mussels were like… sea snails. Or at least what I imagine snails feel like to eat. I might be wrong. I’ve never eaten those either.

Until tomorrow, I’ll have a foot long meatball marina sub on hearty italian bread, toasted with cheese please boss.

Jacn

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