Unscary Athenian oysters. Penn Coves, in fact.

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My Back Fence column in our March issue chronicles the quest of Mary Elder, a Seattle screenwriter and mother of two who resolved on her 50th birthday this January to face her 50 biggest fears in one big, fat, scary year.

It seems that everyone has an opinion on her fear list—the whole of which is right here on Elder’s blog—but casting aspersions on someone else’s fears does seem to be the lowest of all lows, does it not? Everyone fears something, and Elder, it turns out, fears at least two food-related things: No. 13: Eat a bug; and No. 32: Eat an oyster.

She faced the second of those on her birthday, just after Fear No. 12: Ride a Ferris wheel. (I think she did that in the right order, don't you?) She ate it at the venerable Athenian, after seeking advice from her waitress on precisely how to do it. (It’s funny, and it’s here.)

And whaddya know: She liked it so much she immediately ordered another.

The real question now is, how will Mary Elder fare on Fear No. 13? Turns out she’s going to go for that at another Seattle restaurant, Poquitos, which as not everybody knows serves toasted grasshoppers with chili-lime salt. Mmmm-mmm….I can say from experience, it’s all about that chili-lime salt. And the crunch.

I’m not so squeamish about toasted grasshoppers; in the line of duty I’ve supped on kangaroo, chicken feet, alligator meat, and all manner of innards. Some of my acquaintances have no problem eating stuff like sheep’s head or duck fetus or jellied whatever; this may be professional suicide but I’m going to admit here and now that I would draw the line, I think, at eyeballs. Gawd.

What’s your food fear?


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