Gut Check

Gut Check

Gut Check

by Robert Morris

Story Farm

I’m a picky eater, so I write about theater and not food, but Bob Morris is the sort of extreme muncher who will travel the world to try goat eyeballs and frog soup and chocolate-covered cottonballs. But his main love is the cracker cuisine of Old Florida ranging from smoked mullet to okra to palmetto bug-infested swamp cabbage. In this collection of two-dozen short tales, he takes us from micro-distilleries in Umatilla to shrimp dipping in the Mosquito Lagoon and off to Iceland and Lebanon. His stories engage, but shouldn’t be read out loud as pre-dinner entertainment.

There’s the time he was eating “Blackfish Soup” and inquired what a “blackfish” might be, only to have the cook show him an assistant slicing up a small whale. Then there are tales of fermented sharks and stewed Airedales and three-hour-old Zellwood sweet corn. Morris takes us shrimping in the Indian River, gar fishing near Leesburg, and on treks for the fabled dried jellyfish in the Vietnamese quarter of Orlando, and what he does best is talk about the rituals and personalities he runs into. His description of some of the more exotic dishes isn’t enough to convince me to eat them, and I’m still too Yankee to risk a “Goober Rig” (a bottle of Coke topped off with salted peanuts).

Yeah, there are a few recipes (“Black Beans and Rice” looks the best), but that’s just part of the landscape. After drinking martinis from the tallest bar in Hong Kong and frying tadpoles from a pond, Morris clearly holds the high ground on gastronomic eccentricity. I love his stories, but I’ll stick with my Happy Meal.

Story Farm: www.story-farm.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Too Much and Never Enough
    Too Much and Never Enough

    One families indifference and abandonment gave America its greatest failure. Mary Trump explains how.

  • Summerland
    Summerland

    In rural England, a cranky woman bonds with and evacuee boy and uncovers a strange connection to her past.

  • Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
    Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations

    These geniuses of early comedy finally get the presentation they are due in this Blu-ray edition.

  • Four-Letter Words
    Four-Letter Words

    No need to worry about offending delicate sensibilities with this playlist. We’re not talking about profanity, so just take the title at face value.

  • A Genesis In My Bed
    A Genesis In My Bed

    Former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett shares his life story in his story in an engaging and honest memoir. Reading his story feels like hanging out with a friend who’s interested in sharing how he felt living these experiences.

  • The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks

    XOXO (Sham/Thirty Tigers). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • 18 to Party
    18 to Party

    When you’re in 8th grade, sneaking into a bar is way cooler than it is when you’re 40.

  • Adam
    Adam

    A pregnant woman finds a home in Casablanca.

  • 2020 on Fire
    2020 on Fire

    Sound Salvation takes on current events with a playlist addressing the current fight for racial and social justice in America and the battles playing out in the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

From the Archives