China, June 2, 2000
I bet Daffy would flip a lid over this dish!
When I was a kid, I always loved
to watch Daffy Duck get into and out of all kinds of trouble as he
wandered through his cartoon world. I was constantly amazed at how his
tongue hung out of his mouth at every opportunity, and when I could, I
would look closely at any ducks I came across to check out if their tongue
stuck out too.
Last night, while having dinner with Jingmei and her folks, I got a little more intimate with a duck's tongue than I'd ever expected. We were served a bowl of boiled duck tongue as an appetizer. Yes, the soft, delicate, tongue of Daffy was right there, sticking out of the bowl in the middle of the table.
I was shocked, but not as much as you might think. I'd already walked around the Shanghaiese style restaurant and looked in on the live snakes, fish, lobsters, eels, and crabs. Oh, and if picking out your food while it was still squirming was too much, there was the fine display of cold dishes. You had plucked and poised duck (tongue included), fish heads (pre-soup), and my all-time gross-out favorite: cubes of congealed pig's blood.
So back to the table, where I am sitting there with Daffy's tongue staring at me from the little saucer that serves as a personal plate in China. I'm a gastronomically brave kinda guy, you gotta be in countries where horse is a staple, and there are no stray dogs, but duck tongue?
I only had one question as I munched on the soft meat: Can a tongue-less Daffy quack?