First time for everything

5

June 13, 2010 by jessperriam

My beliefs with most things in life are: if you’re curious about something, try it once. If you’re not curious, don’t judge others who are.

Drinking, smoking, flying in planes that are barely skyworthy, dating a ginger, getting a tattoo and, going country are all things I’ve tried because I’ve wanted to. And for the most part I haven’t been judged for it because I’ve dipped my toes in, tested the waters in a safe and controlled way. I’ve had varied measures of success across the board, but I ran in a race, didn’t I?

And the one seemingly simple and innocuous thing I was curious about sparked a wee backlash amongst my Facebook friends.

“Dislike,” said one friend succinctly.

“I don’t believe you,” said another. Incidentally enough, that’s the perfect comment to show off how the subtleties of non-verbal communication are lost on social networking. I initially thought she was impressed.

All this over tasting some whale meat.

I was visiting Karolina’s family on the east island for dinner, they wanted to cook some traditional Faroese food for me. I was happy that they wanted to show me part of their culture.

They brought some bowls out to the long, white table. In their broken English, they explained what they contained.

“This is air-dried fish,” to the long flaky white strips.

“And this is whale blubber,” about the thin, near-opaque squares.

“Here we have the dried pilot whale,” pointing to the round, black discs the size of a 20 cent piece.

They were put together with a bowl of boiled potatoes, much like tapas.

Did I eat it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Well, it’s not my favourite food in the world. But then again, you’re reading the words of a girl who cannot stand scrambled eggs.

I can understand why people would ‘dislike’ that, given the global community’s standoffs with the Japanese ‘scientific research’ of whales.

But.

I am in the Faroe Islands. Eating whale is (a small) part of their culture. Yes, you will see the the bloody bays brought to you by Greenpeace, Sea Sheperd, et al once a year when the men go hunting. It is legal for the Faroese to hunt whales, and share it amongst the community. EU regulations regarding slaughtering and curing the meat mean you probably won’t see pilot whale on the menu in a hotel buffet in Torshavn. It’s for personal use only.

When in Rome do as the Romans. When in the Faroes, do much the same.

I was curious about it, I was in a safe, legal environment. I didn’t like it very much and that’s life.

Now someone please get onto my back about trying smoking in the Faroes.

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5 thoughts on “First time for everything

  1. Clare Day says:

    YOU SMOKED???????????

    good on ya love – ive eaten grasshoppers, snails, possum and whichitygrubs. Whale isnt that weird really…

  2. Carol Perriam says:

    Just about everyone tries it at some time, as long as you weren’t floating off somewhere. Karolina’s family sound lovely and they would be welcome here any time. Love you.
    mum.

  3. Keryn says:

    A well constructed argument Perriam. I think I’d give it a go but only because you’re so convincing!

  4. Clancy McDowell says:

    Jess – love the blog.
    Dog soup in Vietnam, dugong in Broome … if you don’t try , you don’t know.

  5. […] hopped on the train to Liverpool to visit my friend Karolina (previously featured in Faroe Islands posts ), and go to the Iron & Wine […]

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