I’ve been eating for 65 years now. I know a LOT about food. I have been cooking regularly for 45 years now. I know a LOT about cooking. I have lived in Alabama all but 4 years of my life. I know a LOT about Southern cuisine. But, recently I came face to face with things on my plate that I had never seen and certainly had never eaten before. Some were simple. Others were profound. You maybe have heard of all of these. If so, then I want to encourage you to start a food blog and educate the rest of us. Truly. But, if you are like me, someone who enjoys learning new things, then perhaps I can share some of my newly found knowledge with you.
1. A5 Wagyu Beef — “Wa” means Japanese or Japanese style and “gyu” means cow. This particular breed of cow is either black or red in color. It was used historically in agriculture because of its superior physical endurance resulting from more intra-muscular fat cells. We know that as “marbling.” It has a taste like no steak I’ve ever eaten, and now I know that it is also healthy!! The saturated fat is different in this breed and has a minimal effect on raising cholesterol levels. This beef contains the highest amount of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) per gram of any food. Read more here. What you mainly need to know is that it has a marvelous buttery flavor, and you can truly cut it with a fork. Oh my goodness. A picture couldn’t possibly do it justice.
2. U12 Shrimp — If you want to be “in the know” when you talk to the person behind the seafood counter, order your shrimp by the COUNT rather than asking for small, medium or large. If you see a number like 21/25, that refers to the number of individual shrimp in a pound. The “U” in U10, U12 and U15 means that a pound will have UNDER that number. For example, in U12 Shrimp, you could expect to get maybe 9 or 10 shrimp. In other words, they are VERY large — often called colossal. Some even go ahead and call them prawns. On St. Simons Island recently, we had some wild Georgia shrimp that were U12. I should say that STEVE ate those shrimp since I am allergic to them. They were beautiful . . . and HUGE. Read more here.
3. Fiddlehead ferns — a delicious and beautiful vegetable that looks like a thin stalk of asparagus that has been rolled into a spiral. It is typically grown in the Northwest and has a very short growing season. You can read more about them here. The taste is very fresh and mild, and they add visual impact to a salad, don’t you think?
4. Foie Gras — Okay, so I had seen this before on menus, but wasn’t interested enough to find out what it was or to pay the (usually high) price to sample it. But, at a meal where Steve and I were recently, foie gras was the first course. It is basically “a sliver of goose (or duck) liver” and was surprisingly delicious. When I say a sliver, that’s what I mean. It was a VERY small serving size, but just enough for us to know it was special and extremely well-prepared. We won’t be afraid of it in the future. For some reason, there are folks “up in arms” about it. Read more here. My veterinarian husband had no problem with it, so there. It’s not slimy or unpleasant in any way. Taste it!
5. Geechie Boy Grits — Of course. I’ve had grits HUNDREDS of times, but these grits were unusually good grits, so creamy and rich-tasting. I was on the Georgia coast when I heard the term. I found out later they come from up the coast a bit, produced on a farm on Edisto Island, South Carolina. You can even order some for yourself here if you want to taste the Cadillac of all grits. I plan to do that very thing myself.
So, have you learned anything by reading this post? Was I the ONLY person who didn’t know these facts already?