Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Looking to risk death with your next meal? Check out this list!!
I was in Switzerland recently and I ate a red berry which was used as a decoration on a dining table. My Swiss friend got worried and immediately called the doctor who said, “It is very deadly, but eating one will do her no harm, especially as she is from India, she must be used to eating a whole lot of such things”. You know what, I was proud to be an Indian at that time and one lesson that I learnt was that decorations are never to be eaten. Having said that…I though I should share this interesting list with you!
Eating Japan’s most deadly delicacy can kill you if it has been improperly prepared. The liver and the ovaries contain lethal amounts tetrodotoxin, and one fish contains enough to kill about a hundred people. Despite the risks and although banned in many parts of the world (most notably the European Union), Fugu remains a popular dish in Japan and other places. You must be wondering how and why?…..no worries a Fugu Chef is trained for three years to skillfully prepare this dish and about eighty percent students fail this test as it is very stringent, so only a few get the this license to kill (the fish…not you!) Fugu tastes best lightly grilled with Soy sauce and it is mandatory for the chef to taste the dish before serving it.
Scientifically known as Amanita phalloide, it is filled to the brim with toxins, so much so that a single cap can kill anyone who mistakenly eats it and does not get medical treatment. This wild fungi is so innocent to look at and is delicious…though sadly there is no way to remove the poison out of this one either by soaking, cooking or drying! So next time you come across a mushroom which has a yellowish green or olive brown cap with white gills and stems and a cup like structure at the base…simply ignore it!
Sample this, live baby Octopus lightly seasoned with sesame oil, cut into small pieces and wriggling in your throat while you eat them! This dish is called “Sannakji” and is hugely popular in Korea. For some the sight of a squirming, writhing baby octopus can be uncanny as they would look at is half alive. While it can be decadent for some as they would think it is half dead, but if one eats this slowly, the suction cups on the arm pieces which are still active can actually choke the diner to death.
Cassava (used to make Tapioca and other interesting drinks) is a starchy food and is more like a cross between a potato and a raw banana. It makes a great thickening agent and down south Tapioca chips are almost a staple. Fatal cyanide poisoning can occur if the root is eaten without proper processing and it may even result in paralysis. However Drying, soaking and boiling removes most of the cyanogenic compounds.
We all love a whiff of nutmeg on our hot chocolate or coffee and even in some desserts don’t we? Fresh nutmeg powder adds a subtle wonderful flavour to both savory and sweet dishes. Keep it limited only to that as a dose of one to three kernels (over 25 grams may produce convulsions for up to sixty hours owing to the fact that it contains myristicin, a compound which acts to weakly inhibit an enzyme called monoamine oxidase that helps to break down certain brain neurotransmitters.

By Rupali Dean
published in HT city