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Hemophobics Beware

In Eats, Swedish on April 9, 2010 at 1:57 am


Not for the faint hearted. Last Wednesday, I was combing the supermarket in Sweden with a 100 Swedish kronor note (77DKK/SGD$19) in my pocket for picking out interesting eats (thank you supervisor K!). I found many appealing new foods, like lingonberry and cloudberry jam, flat and crisp breads, apple-pear cream cheese, bright green sweet pastries and awesome marabou chocolates that a normal person would probably have picked out. But something compelled me to grab THIS off the shelf. My food weirdo gene told my brain that I have to try some of this. Black pudding. Blood pudding. Mmm. Mmm?

It sat a week in the fridge because I didn’t want to try it on my own. I’ve eaten lots of weird foods before (snake, crocodile, ostrich, whale, crickets, jellyfish, sea urchin, octopus, century eggs…) and foods in weird [but really good, I insist!] combinations (ham&jam, icecream&bread, milk&peas, blacksesamesoyamilk&oatmeal)… but to eat blood, I needed some extra courage of a fellow food adventurer. So, the day yz came over to study, I cooked blood pudding for lunch.


Doesn’t look too bad, eh? The texture was rather unexpected. I’d thought it’ll be soft and crumbly, but it turned out gooey and clayey like a paste, nothing like the texture of clotted blood. Didn’t smell of it either — all hints of bloody metallic iron were totally masked by the flavours of cinnamon and cloves. I pan fried thin (0.5cm) slices of it in a little butter, that transformed it to a pitch black cakey mass. A slightly gummy blood pudding with a crisp crust, topped with brunost sauce (that I made by adding some brown cheese to a basic bechamel sauce), unsweetened applesauce (apples boiled in a little water and mashed), strawberry rhubarb jam and slices of gherkins and laid on Swedish Tunnbröd. — It actually tasted really good!

But that’s not how my story ends.

One important lesson I’ve learnt from my sensory science classes is that single exposure to a new food is not predictive of long term acceptance of the product. It’s because most people assume that preference is as simple as i-like-it-now-therefore-i-like-it-forever, that many products on the market fail despite extensive consumer research. Time is a factor, context is a factor. And because I have a penchant for new experiences, novel first experiences is most of the time positive for me.

With leftover ingredients from the lunch, I decided to reconstruct the meal in the lazy microwave way. I put the blood pudding in a bowl, scooped some leftover cheese sauce onto it and heated it up. Then I topped with some applesauce and pickles again and had some toasted bread to go with it. Mistake. DO NOT microwave blood in sauce because it becomes one bloody BLOODY mess.

Even though the ingredients were the same, this time, the texture of the blood pudding resembled blood more than it did before when pan fried till crisp. Now I can understand why some people can tell such horrifying stories of blood pudding, or strongly denounce it for its high fat content for the amount of sensory pleasure it gives (nobody ever says how terrible a brownie is, do they?). Eating the blood pudding soft wasn’t so much a bad sensory experience than it was a sudden psychological realization of disgust. I gobbled it up quick and fulfilled my iron requirements whilst persuading myself that I’m eating the same thing as the first time. After that, I went on eating rampage (ice cream, fruits, tom yam soup, ABC cake…). I prefer to think that blood pudding is calorifically unhealthy because of the amount of things you have to eat after that to wash those disgust emotions out of mind. But mind you, only if you don’t cook it right.

I’ve still got 200g of blood pudding sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to do it right again the next time, but this is a good example of how aversive learning (associating an experience with a negative consequence) can have such a commanding presence over earlier positive experiences.

Food choice and acceptance exam in 5 days. Wish me luck.

Thanks to yz who diligently translated the packaging with google translate while I was cooking, that I can share with you that Swedish blood pudding from ICA supermarket contains: 35% pig’s blood, water, rye flour, sugar, bread crumbs, fat and scraps of beef and pork, potato starch, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, marjoram, onion powder, 220kcal /100g, 9g fat and 140% RDA of iron. Costs only 10SEK (~7DKK / 1Euro /SGD$2) for 400g, so it’s really an excellent and cheap nutritional source of iron. Good for you if you like it! 🙂

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  1. waaaaa..since when u become one of those gals into twilight!!!
    u r like doing somekind of food pilgrimage now ler….btw, have u eaten chicken blood before? the texture is kinda like the chewy version of tofu, i heard it used to be available in s’pore until they banned it…..
    i think ah, u can publish ur own cookbook liao…

    • Hahaha Lei, I publish, but you won’t buy right? Take go photocopy right! LOL kidding… Going back to Singapore from end June till beginning August — I can’t wait!!

      Yeh I’ve always been on food pilgrimage, it’s just that now I’ve gone public 😉 I’ve tried a little bit of chicken blood before, in little cubes on my noodle soup in Vietnam. I think I gobbled it without even tasting haha. Some psychological barriers are just too hard to cross. I have the same with the beef tongue I ate in Poland too ( I should post this) — where the food tastes good but my mind just can’t accept it.

  2. really nice! looking forward to your next blog!!!!!!!

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