In which I don’t quite manage to poison the household

So, I’ve been exploring the various noodle mixes at our local Korean grocery, and yesterday, in addition to grabbing some ramen (fresh ramen! from the refrigerator section! yummm!), I decided to pick up some other interesting things to toss in. At random, I poked through the shelves and decided on the dried seaweed and the dried taro stem.

I’ve eaten taro before, usually in contexts that involve lots of added sugar. This should have told me something. But I was thinking only, “I like taro!” and “This kind of looks like dried mushrooms!”

But cooking it like dried mushrooms? Doesn’t work so well.

I did notice my mouth tingling a little after I’d tasted the (lovely! fresh!) ramen soup just before serving it, but didn’t think much of it, really. Must have bitten into something or other spicy, right?

Only then lnhammer‘s mouth began tingling too. And mine kept tingling. Stinging, really. Quite a bit. Almost, but not quite, like an allergic reaction.

So, ummmm. It turns out taro is an intense irritant if not prepared properly. Sometimes even a toxic one. It needs a day or so of preparation before it’s edible. Who knew?

Well, okay, so I would have known, had I bothered to read the packaging. Well, to be fair, the packaging merely gave some cheerful “cooking directions” that involved 24 hours of preparation. They didn’t mention what would happen if I cut the last 23 and three quarters hours out of the process.

Fortunately, lnhammer quickly figured out the taro was to blame. We gave up after only three of four bites each, tossed all the rest in the trash, and went out for (lovely! fresh!) ramen soup from the local Japanese restaurant.

By the time we went to bed last night, the tingling had almost completely stopped.

So I think I’ve managed to top the cooking disaster five years ago, in Akureyri, when lnhammer and I thought we were buying Icelandic salmon, pan fried it, and then discovered it was actually salt cod, which wants a day’s soaking before it becomes truly edible. That bit of flawed translating merely made the hostel kitchen small rather more strongly of fish than the other guests probably wanted.

Still, if if picking up random items off the shelves of grocery store shelves only gets me in trouble once every five years, that’s doing pretty good, right? Good enough to keep up the practice, certainly. 🙂

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