Wait, what did I just eat? Food stories from Mormon missionaries

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  • Tall, dork, and handsome Aiea, HI
    Dec. 4, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    I was lucky enough to be called to serve in Panama where the food was oddly enough very similar to everything I had grown up eating. However, I braced myself, and made up my mind that no matter what I would never turn down anything offered to me. One night an expat family from Canada served us fresh-squeezed orange juice that had gone completely rancid during the day. I forced myself to drink it without as much as a wince. When the guy took a sip he nearly gagged and his wife took our glasses away and apologized. Then they all looked at me and were like, "Why didn't you say anything?". Not that it was super embarrassing but hooo man I felt so shame.

  • karenrose American Fork, UT
    June 5, 2014 9:28 p.m.

    Thanks for the fun and reminders of what it was like to eat unfamiliar dishes! Cow tongue, though, wow :)~! I remember the dumplings, one after the other, of a dear German woman. One was plenty, but she never stopped serving them. I do still love the smell of brats cooking and those hard German rolls... And yogurt quark that would keep unrefrigerated. Thanks for sharing, Seth!!

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    June 4, 2014 9:26 p.m.

    I liked most of the food in central Mexico where I served, but did have trouble with tripas (intestine), menudo (stomach), and patas (pig's feet). Mexico Guadalajara, 1978-79

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    May 31, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    In Joseph Ellsworth's story he tells of having "glutinous delight." Maybe that's possible, but I'm guessing he really meant gluttonous delight.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    May 30, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    Brazilians are a sensitive people, and their feelings would be terribly hurt if you refused something they offered. I once visited the Relief Society president in Rio de Janeiro with a new Elder. She offered us two pieces of coconut candy. I noticed that one piece had a living bug stuck to it, and politely grabbed it and plopped it in my mouth. I thought my companion was going to feint. I wouldn't do anything that might offend those good people.

    The best eating on my mission occurred when I was serving in a coastal town where a whaling vessel brought in a whale. They sold whale meat by the cubic meter. Those whale steaks were delicious! Surprisingly lean and much like beef.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    May 30, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    In Mexico, I had the opportunity once to eat tacos made from Gusanos de Maguey. They are the white worms that pollinate many agave-type cactus. The rejects are found in the bottom of a mezcal bottle. The good ones are white and about as big as your little finger. When sauteed, they turn bright red. Chop them up, put in a fresh corn tortilla, add a little cabbage, pico and crema, and YUM!!! MMH 1980-82

  • NDM Sandy, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    I can't muster much sympathy for the "I liked it until I found out what it was" stories. If it was delicious as chicken, it tastes the same when it turns out to be lizard. True ambassadors make up their minds to eat what the people they serve among eat; overgrown children turn up their noses and bolt for McDonalds. Many's the time on my mission I had opportunity to say, "Is that what this is? I've never had it before. It's good." Sure, I had to try some things a few times before I acquired the taste. And some things I never did care for, just as I don't care for good Utah trout. But elders and sisters, please. Imagine an Oriental visitor who faints at the sight of a grilled cheese sandwich. ("From COWS?? Eww!") After all, a society that eats eggs (think about it) and shrimp has no business turning up its nose at anything. And for the record, octopus is delicious.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    May 29, 2014 7:09 p.m.

    Boshingtong or gaejangguk. Dog soup in Korea, with a little fatty piece with hair bristles still attached. It makes eating the fried fish (guts, eyeballs, scales, the whole fish) for breakfast relatively easy.

  • daviscoug Syracuse, UT
    May 29, 2014 4:35 p.m.

    I served in Tahiti from 1991 to 1995 and they make a dish called fafaru. It is a fish marinated in seawater for at least 3-5 days. The water is then strained (got to get the rotten fish bits out, right?!) and used to marinate a fresh fish. That was served with most traditional Tahitian feasts. It smelled like a combination of the sulfur pots in Yellowstone, Vegas sewers in the summer, and an outhouse at a Boy Scout Camp. So gross!! But, if you had a cold, the flu, stomach issues of any kind, fafaru fixed you right up!! The old mama ruaus (grandmas) would eat this stuff by the litre!

  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    May 29, 2014 4:35 p.m.

    I love that all the missionaries that went to Argentina loved their weird food experiences.
    Add me to the list! Argentina Rosario baby!
    Anything on a real Argentine asadero (wood fire bbq) is amazing. Blood sausage, intestines, tongue, and brains (though not as good the other three).
    Didn't love locro (stew with lots of stuff you don't want to know plus pig parts (feet, snout, and pieces with hair).
    Non-meat food as simple as cheap noodles and butter. Anything was edible when you see the sacrifice of many of these families to put the food on the table. We are so blessed.
    (By the way, I heard about cats but I never experienced it)

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    May 29, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    I thought the cat in Argentina was pretty tasty until I realized what it was. Goat was amazing. I was eating tripe for 1 year and 10 months before I even knew about it. It was tasty.

  • your_sangoma Reality, UT
    May 29, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Lion, elephant, giraffe, hippo, zebra, ox brains, chicken head, chicken feet, and cow tongue. South Africa Johannesburg Mission.

  • oldschooler USA, TX
    May 29, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Me and my companion from CA. were given BOFE, that was what my dog was given to eat at my home, basically dog food. I used to go to the meat market and ask the attendant for all the leftovers they had from meat. The family that gave us that were poor, they gave us the best they had: dog food still a blessing to me and pretty sure my companion.

  • RR_Xing San Diego, CA
    May 29, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    I tried everything served to me, and learned to enjoy cow tongue, cheek, and brains, but was unable to finish the eyeball served to me (it was very fatty, and the retina really turned my stomach).

    I ate cuy visiting my wife's mission areas in Peru - smallest ribs I've every had.

  • Kaladin Greeley, CO
    May 29, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Tacos made with goat brains - that was awful. My companion literally turned green. I also had the chicken foot soup (rubbery). Menudo is not my favorite (soup made with cow stomach lining), but tripas (intestines) and lengua (toungue) are quite good. - Ventura, CA Spanish

  • che1968 Exton, PA
    May 29, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    I remember the first time I had mondongo in Argentina South Mission, 1966-1968. Later pickled cows tongue, and a local delicacy called parrillada, a grilled combination of cow intestines, eyes, and ovaries/testes. But my favorite was frog legs fixed a dozen different ways. My favorite pasta dish was tallarines. Deep fried beef empanadas, dulce de membrillo, dulce de batata, dulce de chocolate, alfajores, etc.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    May 29, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    We were served baked horse hoofs once in Colombia. None of us ate it. Lucky horse to get his hoofs back, lol.