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What is in this? What I am eating? Don't ask - don't tell!

IHave you ever regretted asking, "what is this?"

"What did the chef do to this that made it taste so fantastic?"

I once asked a baker why her biscuits were so wonderful, and she said the secret was that she used lard. I guess I wish I hadn't asked, kinda ruined the illusion.

Whenever Anthony Bourdain is on some street in Asia, I say, oh, no Tony, just eat it, don't ask them what it is! I don't want to watch you eat monkey brains!

Have you ever regretted asking, what is the secret to this dish?

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    1. Lard is a standard/classic biscuit ingredient, and IMHO much less disturbing than shortening. If lard turns you off, then don't ask/don't tell is probably a good food policy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mpjmph

        I would be surprised if she said she didn't use lard ...

      2. I remember someone once asking my grandmother what she put in her chicken soup that made it so good. She calmly replied, "I spit in it."

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fydeaux

          LOL! Heavily guarded secret recipe.

        2. what illusion?

          the illusion that biscuits are made out of flour, melted snow, and angel farts?

          i mean, i'm against pointless additives, preservatives and chemicals in food, absolutely! but flour followed by some form of shortening in a biscuit recipe, followed by small/tiny amounts of 3-4 other ingredients, fer fook's sake--that's how any biscuit recipe will/should read. lard is a perfectly street-legal ingredient, unless she's labeling her biscuits as halal or something. . . why not celebrate the baker's honesty and use of pure, traditional heritage ingredients, rather than asking her to protect your delicate sensibilities from the real food ingredients in her product by being deceitful, or obfuscating those ingredients somehow?

          *fleeing into the woods with my hatchet and cast iron kettle, now*

          4 Replies
          1. re: soupkitten

            Come on, soupy, don't hold back - tell it how you feel. :-)

            1. re: soupkitten

              I'm pretty sure angel farts go in the sausage gravy...

              1. re: mpjmph

                And here I was thinking angel farts were what made a soufflé so light!

              2. re: soupkitten

                I assume GC means he felt pangs of guilt...I know I did the other day when I was told that the "egg cloud" into which I'd been dipping brioche was made of nothing but eggs, butter, and milk. And I ate like a cup of it. I wouldn't have minded pretending it was made of water vapor.

              3. my policy during my years wandering Asia was taste first, get the identity after.

                5 Replies
                1. re: thew

                  That was my policy in Korea and the Philippines - Always taste/eat first, then if I liked it enough ask what's in it.

                  1. re: hannaone

                    i wanted to know both if i liked it and if i didnt

                  2. re: thew

                    As an Asian cook, my policy is only answer the question after everyone's finished eating. As an Asian eater, there are few items that I personally consider inedible.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      had something made out of rice, I believe, once, that I swore "could be egg". Please answer if a person at the table might have an allergy! ;-)

                      [thai food with both a coconut and fish allergy, and a severe shellfish allergy is ... interesting in a restaurant]

                      1. re: JungMann

                        Wise!

                        I'll eat pretty much anything, although I do my best to avoid endangered species. I like knowing what it is, if only so I can find it again.

                        So far my enquiries have resulted in such answers as chicken testicles and pig's blood and rice, both of which are very tasty.

                        There' s the old joke about "everything on two legs except the waiter, everything on four except the table and chairs". In Taiwan I find the unexpected comes in not with which animals are being served, but the fact that every single part is used, including things like beef tendons that I hadn't realized were edible.