The Day I Ate an Embryo

July 5, 2014

My last google search is “duck fetus philippines” because when I got home from dinner last night, I was paving hell highway thinking I’d write some blog before throwing myself sheetsward. I had eaten something, see, aptly called “balut” (because that’s the sound American bystanders make when they watch you eating it) and it seemed to call for comment.

Balut looks like this: Inside_a_Balut_-_Embryo_and_Yolk

It’s a partially formed duck embryo that’s been hard-boiled, and it’s a delicacy in much of southeast Asia.

I can hear your thoughts, by the way.  I know you’re considering severing our friendship.   I’ve always sort of felt, however, that nobody has the moral right to judge what anybody else eats because of, for example, steroid cows, overcrowded feces chickens, and plants being able to hear you eating them.

I remember having this argument years ago at Rivalries, by the way, and everybody was just bellowing at me in Rush Limbaugh-style “debate”.  It has long been my contention, however, that since plants are clearly alive, too, people’s claim to ethical vegan or vegetarianism makes absolutely no sense.  Sure, plants process nutrients, light and energy differently than we do, but just because they look different, it doesn’t mean they’re not eating and growing and alive.  A claim that it’s morally wrong to eat animals stems only from the fact that their digestive and central nervous systems look a little more like ours do.  I mean technically, all meals are murder!

Freedom!  America!  Happy 4th of July!

Anyway, it’s probably a whole other dilemma for people when a fetus comes into play, but I ate it anyway before knowing it was a duck- the eggs of which generally make me throw up immediately- but it turns out I didn’t get sick and could move on to the feast of pancit, fried chicken, a delicious beef thing that has a more specific name I forgot, and caramels that tasted like sweet, sweet campfire.

I have no idea how Filipinos continue to be so gosh darned hospitable, but we’ve been here long enough to conclude that it’s not at all a show.   They are genuinely all about food, folks, and fun- but in a good way, not a gross McDonald’s way.  Donah’s family welcomed us into their home last night for the aforementioned feast and I want that kind of hospitable warmth to be exactly what I remember about this place.  We couldn’t stay too late because we were supposed to run a 5k that started at 4 a.m., but it was wall-to-wall food and open arms while we were there.

Side note: the 5k did not start at 4 a.m.  I was buckets of nervous because, for starters, I look and feel the worst I have since college, which was before I discovered that secondhand cigarettes, firsthand beer, dairy, sugar, and a lack of vegetables were ruining my brain and my face.  Unfortunately, most meals here consist of dairy, sugar, and a lack of vegetables.  As stated, people have been incredibly generous to us, but that tends to mean five meals a day in which I feel obligated to partake.  My brain and body has responded accordingly, which is why I begged off the weekend trip in order to rest, exercise, and eat only the foods that I choose myself.  

This is not as easy as it sounds, mind you.  The fetus was a spirit-of-adventure anomaly; I’m generally looking for anything vaguely vegetation.  Actually for lunch yesterday, I tried to get sushi and a salad at this Japanese place down the street, but I was FOILED because look at this salad!  It’s just mayonnaise- are you kidding me?!?! IMG_0372

And then the sushi was wrapped in cheese and drenched in sweet sauce, which was almost exactly the opposite of what I was going for.


I was also nervous about the 5k because I haven’t done any exercise since playing basketball maybe the Tuesday before school ended.  I’ve been trying to hit the “gym” at the hotel before school, but it doesn’t open until 6, there are only two treadmills (which are usually filled by 6:30) and they shake when I walk on them because there’s a 140 pound weight limit and I will only weigh 140 pounds if I spend a lot more time on the treadmill and additionally, cut off a limb.

I was also nervous about the 5k because I didn’t get any sleep because I dreamed many many terrible dreams, most of which I forgot but one of which definitely involved the embryo coming alive IN MY MOUTH.  

It was a bit of a relief to find the race was not actually starting until almost two hours after we got there.  I’m zonked, so I’m heading back to bed rather than partaking.  I paid my entry fee, made a decent effort, and will quake through a treadmill workout at a decent hour later.  

Despite the fetal fowl foray, I’m confidently conscience-free.


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