By Jethro Wegener
For most, the holidays is all about food. Turkey, stuffing, Christmas pudding, roasts and all kinds of other great holiday staples, eaten around this time of year as people throw calorie counting to the winds just to enjoy the holidays. However, have you ever wondered what other kinds of holiday delicacies other countries might be fond of? Some of these might not sound as appetising to you as they may be for them though! (Warning: some of the images might be…unappetising!)
Norway – Smalahove
Take a lamb’s head, salt it, and boil it until it the meat is falling off the bones and you have Norway’s Smalahove. Just imagine seeing an entire sheep’s head – complete with ears, mouth, teeth, tongue and eyes – staring back at you from the centre of the table when you sit down to eat. Regardless of what it tastes like, we certainly don’t find this dish looking all that appetising.
Europe – Head Cheese
Despite being termed as such, this is no cheese at all. Continuing with the head theme, we have Europe’s entry next on the list. Made with the head of a pig or cow which is skinned and with its organs removed, the head is then boiled in a pot with a load of veggies until the meat is tender, by which point the cook then takes off all the meat, chops it up and puts it back in the pot before letting the mixture cool for a while. The collagen in the marrow of the head means that the mixture will congeal and solidify as it cools, resulting in a sort of jelly-like meat pudding. To serve, simply slice up and either put on a sandwich or eat it as is, kinda similar to the Chinese pig trotter jelly, only scarier.
South Africa – Mopane Worms
The harshest and driest months of the year in South Africa fall around Christmas, so food can become hard to find. To combat this, the local people found a clever solution – mopane worms. These are actually Emperor Moth caterpillars and get their name from the mopane tree where the insect spends most of its life. The worms are dug out of the bark of the tree and either deep fried or eaten raw. Like most insects, these are a great source of protein, especially when game is scarce. Nowadays they are mostly eaten as a snack and speaking from personal experience, they’re actually quite tasty once fried.
Greenland – Kiviak
The long, dark winter months in Greenland can be harsh, and hunting is not an option. As such, the Inuit people living there had to come up with a way to ensure that they will have food during the winter, and that’s where this dish comes in. Basically, you take hundreds of dead small birds called Auks, stuff them inside a hollowed out seal carcass, press out all the air and seal it with grease. Then you take that and bury it under a bunch of stones outside for 3-18 months, until the birds have fermented to become soft, putrid and stinking. Sounds appetising doesn’t it?