Frog and Toad are Friends

My memory is embarrassingly terrible. It seems to run in my family, and to my future children: I apologize if this attribute is passed along in any way. My most glaring deficiency is recalling things from my childhood. My memories of those times are spotty at best; however there are a few seemingly random elements that I can easily think back on. One such memory is a cherished childhood story that I loved and read often. I believe my eldest sister passed-down a book of hers to me, which was called Frog and Toad are Friends. I think the lesson of the book is how critical friendship can be, and how important it is to be nice to your friends. I just hope that even as I bit into the face of a frog and tore the moist meat from its back, it died having a loving and lasting friendship with a toad friend, who I was hopefully going to eat next.

Spicy FrogsI’ve eaten a lot of things in China, and up until last night my favorite meal was always hot pot. Of course this is a style of eating and not necessarily a single food item, but the fact is that when people asked, “what is your favorite thing to eat here”, I would always answer with “hot pot”. Yesterday, this idea completely fell apart. From now on, the answer will always and forever be “Spicy Frog”.

I also want to say that whoever has been going around saying that “frog tastes like chicken” is a liar and a criminal. What a terrible disservice, and an insult to frogs everywhere. The frog that I ate last night was so incredibly moist and delicious that I was in awe. It was the kind of food that you don’t want to eat because with every bite, you have slightly less to enjoy in the coming moments – a true moral dilemma: do I continue to enjoy this incredible food and provide less to future me, or do I savor the succulent treats before me and give future me more to enjoy?

Frog parts The frog itself was delivered to us in a very large ceramic bowl/pot that was placed on an open flame in the middle of the table, which is not too unlike hot pot. The tremendous amount of frog inside was already cooked, but the burner was turned on low to keep the tiny morsels of frog bodies at the perfect steaming-hot temperature to maximize the capsaicin release of the peppers that they had been cooked in. To compliment their awesome taste was a healthy mixture of cabbage, zucchini and the aforementioned hot peppers (I’m talking the really, really hot Chinese peppers that people say “oh nooo, don’t eat those peppers, they are soo hot”, but I DO eat those peppers because they’re delicious and because I have a stomach lined with lead and manliness).

The meat itself was moist and infused with the spicy flavor of the broth in which it was cooked, but it also had a unique reptilian taste that I would compare to alligator tail. Oh what’s that? You heard alligator tastes like chicken too? Well you’re wrong. Go eat it. It’s better than chicken, and if you don’t think so, you’re a dirty liar. The point that I’m trying so woefully to convey is this: Frog is amazing, and if you’re ever in China go eat some spicy frog. I know it can be kind of distressing when you look at the cute little frog bodies and their cute little chubby frog legs, but after that momentary internal struggle, when you take your first bite into the fat little belly, your mouth will thank you with all of its taste buds. All of them.