‘Don’t you dare leave the living room until it’s ready!’
I sat, transfixed to my chair, wondering what the hell they were doing in the kitchen. Occasionally there would be a giggle and then an acrid, fishy smell would waft over me.
‘Is that a testicle?’
It’s safe to say that I was a little nervous. ‘It’s a nice surprise, right?’
‘You are so lucky to get this! It’s worth hundreds! THOUSANDS of pounds!’
I notice how they didn’t actually answer the question. I prepare for the worst. I was starting to think I would need a blindfold…
‘OK! Come in!’
This is what awaited me:
Did you know that from the 16th to 18th century the Faroe Islands were actually famous for their knitted wool socks? Their primary export even. Amazing. Anyway, my wonderful hosts had prepared a, um, fantastic platter of national delicacies. The sock was an added bonus I thought (but was not to be eaten, apparently).
Here are the delicacies in more detail. With labels!
And here’s a close-up of the wind-dried, rotten sheep (skerpikjøt) and whale blubber (spik). Yum . . .
Finally, me eating the sheep:
So, as I sat there chewing, enjoying the sheep, my host insisted on telling me a story about some family that had died eating the same dish a few years ago. Only after I’d had about 10 pieces of course. Apparently, if you accidentally put it in a bag, a deadly bacteria develops that then kills you within 12 hours. I pressed him for more information but he had none to give (I’ve JUST been told as I write this that it was botulism… insert nervous laughter here). He assured me that the skerpikjøt that was now sitting in my mouth, my face frozen into a rictus of terror, had never been placed in a bag.
If this is my last ever blog entry you’ll know that he was lying. And all of my worldly possessions should be preserved and kept in some kind of shrine/temple consecrated in the name of Seb…
Are hallucinations and delusions of grandeur the first symptoms of bacterial infection…?
- The skerpikjøt (dried sheep) was actually rather nice! A lot like Parma ham/prosciutto (which I think is the same deal?) I ate lots of it.
- Turrur fiskur (dried fish) is… interesting. It’s completely dessicated; totally dry, very crumbly. But really odd — it’s a completely different texture to normal, wet fish. Not how fish should feel. The flavour was fine (it’s just cod), and it’s not like it was offensive in any way… just very odd.
- Whale blubber. Oh whale blubber… spik… wobbly, fishy, salty blubber. It’s not good. Maybe if you like chewing big lumps of fat you’ll like it. I’ve never liked chewing fat — I can just about do it if it’s fried or well-cooked but this is raw. Salted and cured in large chunks and then cut into small pieces for your chewing pleasure. I managed one piece and then almost threw up. Again, the flavour wasn’t particularly bad but the texture.
All that remains is puffin (which should be on Sunday) and dried-and-then-cooked fish (sounds better than the wind-dried raw stuff that I had today!)
I think there’s some other whale blubber variants that I can try but I think I’ll pass on those. Also, I’d like to try wind-dried whale meat but that’s very hard to get at the moment.
Hopefully some more photos to follow tomorrow. If the weather improves!