Last Monday night, I found myself peeling pia mater of a pig brain. You may recall from last week's email that I bought one and that was why I had only one hand to pick up a stray fish. While we were making dinner, I was so excited and kept going on and on about how we were eating brains. I asked my companion why she took the pia mater off and she, of course, had no idea what I was talking about, and even after I explained meninges she didn't know why we took off the pia mater, but we did take it off and then all the gyri and sulci came undone. When we pulled the two hemispheres of the brain apart, I got all excited about the corpus callosum and showed Chi Huong, but then I remembered Chi Huong wasn't in the zone training when we talked about it and Anh ca Tu tried to draw it. I told her about the brian stem, thalamus, pituitary gland, optic nerves, etc. I found the nice, soft, smooth, white vetricles and turned them inside out, which freaked her out. "Put it back!" she ordered sternly, and I wasn't allowed to play with the brain anymore. She didn't really know what to do with the brain because she hadn't eaten one in about ten years or something, so she looked at me like, "What are we supposed to do now?" and I said, "I don't know. I've never eaten brains. I just do science on them." So we scrambled it with eggs. Yes, I had scrambled brains for dinner.
Another interesting thing I ate this week was ants. Now, serving in Cambodia, I have, over time, accidentally eaten many ants. They get in the rice from time to time and they are always all over the shaved coconut at Co Phuong and Chu Dung's house. However, this week our native Cambodian roommates bought fried ants - as in, this food dish was primarily ants and that was the point - and they shared with me. They were kind of salty and not bad at all. I kept trying to look at them and the sisters kept telling me not to look or I wouldn't be able to eat them. I wasn't particularly bothered by it though. The best part of the story was later that week. Because this is Cambodia and ants and cockroaches are just a fact of life, we don't usually keep food on shelves or in a pantry. Everything has to be in the refrigerator or ants will get it. If it's something that can't be refrigerated, we store it in the microwave. So later in the week I wanted to use the microwave to warm up some soup or something, so I opened the microwave door and, as there often is, there was something already inside, so I took it out and saw it was the leftover fried ants and I wondered, "What? Were you afraid of getting ants in your ants?"
I love this mission so much!