Jody's Peace Corps Experience

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I Finally Did It...

That's right, I finally broke down and had Balut. The reason I hadn't tried until now was because I wasn't going to use my own money to buy a hard boiled, duck embryo! I just couldn't bring myself to do my line of defense (which was shattered last night) was that, "Of course I'll try Balut, but only if you buy it for me!" Whenever I said that to the Filipino who asked me about, they would get a good chuckle and move along.

Well, my host sister asked me a couple of nights ago if I had tried it and I gave her my usual response. She shot back with, "Ok, I will be the one to buy it for you!" This got me nervous...I was hoping and praying all day that she would forget. Then, I heard her enter the house and to my suprise, or dismay, she was holding a plastic bag with 3 Balut in it. I looked at her in suprise and she giggled at me.

During supper, she looked at me and said, "Manang Jody, after dinner, we will eat our Balut!" Great, I can't wait I thought. So the time came, Bing Bing ran to her room and got us each an egg. She carefully instructed me in the Balut eating technique. "First you need to just take the top part of the shell off so you can sip the juice out." "Don't forget to add salt!" added my host brother.

I couldn't believe I was actually doing this. I had to stop the festivities so I could get my camera (yes, I do have a few photos to document this milestone in my life!) and had Jun Jun take a few snapshots. Back to the sipping and slurping. So the egg juice just was a salty tasting task that was easy to conquer. Next came the shelling of the rest of the egg. As I peeled mine, I saw the distinct formation of feathers. I looked at my host sister and said, "I thought you told the vendor to get very, very young ones!" She laughed and shrugged. Let's be serious, how could they really know how old the ebryo was inside???

"Leave the white part for's my favorite part. Eat the yolk and chick first and don't forget to add the salt!" I followed the instructions. I could only make the salting of the glob take so long and I finally had to just do it. I think my first bite was the worst. There were veins filled with blood that made my eyes water. My gag reflex instantly kicked in and I had a HELL OF A TIME hiding it from my host family! Mmmm, least that's what I had to keep telling myself as I struggled to get through it.

A second wave of gagging flared up as I bit into something hard. OH MY GOD, I thought. This egg is so mature that the bones are starting to form! I felt triumphant as I finished the first part of the Balut. Next all I had to eat was "the delicious" part. When I picked up the white part of the Balut, I noticed that it was very solid. I asked if this was how it was supposed to be. Bing Bing assured me that it was ok. So I salted it and took a bite. I literally thought I was chewing one of those little superballs. Rubber....that's all I could think of as I chomped and chewed.

Everyone clapped and seemed proud when I had finished my Balut. As I got up to wash my hands, Jun Jun said that you couldn't eat Balut very often because it has such a high cholesterol rate. "Yeah, one a year is probably good enough!" I said. Everyone laughed.

On a more serious note, I was honored to be apart of the turnover for 2 of our children who were adopted from our center. There was a mass held and I was able to talk to both sets of parents. One couple came all the way from Montreal, Canada. All I can say is that I'm going to miss both of these kids so much! They are so lucky to have found the homes that they did.