Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

Sign up and read my novel for free.

All Blog Posts


The "Shred"

April 25, 2016

Yes, I was a chubby kid, a plump roly-poly who seldom turned up his nose at food, with one exception. I could never bring myself to eat something that resembled vomit, and I put my ample foot down when it came to consuming something that looked like it had already been eaten and rejected by someone—creamed corn.

 

My mother ignored my revulsion and served it often, doling out a generous scoop of creamed corn onto my plate. The vile stuff triggered my gag reflex. I couldn’t bear looking at it. I can still hear my mother saying, “Eat that corn or go to bed without supper!”

           

My response: “Fine!”

 

Off to bed I’d go. When a fat kid refuses to eat something. preferring to go to bed without dinner, you know it’s a serious dislike. In grade school we often had food drives where we were encouraged to bring canned and packaged foods to feed the needy. I used this as an excuse to rid our pantry of dreaded creamed corn.

           

I’m reminded of this because of an incident Mrs. Chatterbox recently experienced. One of her tasks as volunteer coordinator for our local police department is to organize a shredding event to help citizens protect their identities and unclutter their homes of unwanted bills and financial statements. These “Shreds” are extremely popular; the last one took shreddable materials from over six hundred cars. Announcements for this free service are mailed out with water bills, but citizens are requested to bring donations of canned food for the Oregon Food Bank.

           

A few people show up year after year claiming not to know about the food donation, but most people are big-hearted and generous. Cases of soups and tuna have been provided, but a few folks have availed themselves of the opportunity to rid themselves of half-empty boxes of cereal, rice or Bisquick. Mrs. C. tells me that, so far, no cans of creamed corn have been donated, but this past Saturday someone tossed into the food bin an unusual item—a jar of haggis. Here’s a description for those unfamiliar with a food so vile it makes creamed corn seem like ambrosia: 

 

haggis: a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep's or calf's offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and traditionally boiled in a bag made from the animal's stomach.

 

Yum, just what a poor person wants on a cold winter night to stave off hunger pains—entrails and internal organs, hard white fat from the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep and other animals.

 

This particular haggis came in a jar, wrapped in paper with a tartan pattern. It must have come from Scotland because, to my knowledge, only Scots produce or eat this horror. I can only imagine how long this haggis will sit on a shelf at the Oregon Food Bank. Maybe Fat Bastard, that rotund Scotsman from Austin Power’s The Spy Who Shagged Me will show up to claim it.

 

 

 

 

 

Until then, I think I’ll give creamed corn another tr—No! I just can’t!

 

Have you tried haggis? Is there a food that turns your stomach?  

 

 

 

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 



Comments

29 Comments
I, too, do not like creamed corn. Yes, it does look like barf, that may be a reason I am repulsed! I used to donate the can of creamed corn to food drives if it was in my mom's pantry, too! Not my favorite.
By: Linda on April 25, 2016
I love canned corn- but just as well not eat creamed corn unadorned or combined into a nice soft corn pudding. Haggis? hahahah Russell LOVES it! Seriously loves it! We're going to Scotland later this year and he's eagerly awaiting having it at every meal! Me? No thanks!! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on April 25, 2016
I've always thought the same thing about creamed corn. As one character said in a movie - most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 25, 2016
I live in an area with a strong Scottish background, so haggis is not unfamiliar to me and I have tasted it. The flavour was fine - and the idea is similar to another old dish called pothead in these parts - the brain of a pig mixed up with lots of onion and spices and served chilled. Really, why is it any different from eating the rest of the animal? I have mixed feelings about meat in general! As for creamed corn, the only good use for that is in corn chowder, where its texture is diluted and made delicious by heavy cream, onions and potatoes :)
By: jenny_o on April 25, 2016
I just found a local recipe for the pothead and apparently it's made from any animal, and used all the meat on the head. Ach, I thought I was doing well to remember it at all, seeing as I was about eight years old when I had it for the one and only time :)
By: jenny_o on April 25, 2016
But there is definitely brains involved! Sorry for the triple comment - I'm leaving now!!
By: jenny_o on April 25, 2016
Can you explain to me why I also hate creamed corn but LOVE creamed spinach?
By: fishducky on April 25, 2016
Never tried haggus. Have eaten shark, eel, live squid, dog (maybe in the Philippines on a farm), and since I grew up on a farm most of the organs of a steer. Still not crazy about brussel sprouts although I do like cabbage.
By: Tabor on April 25, 2016
Sweetie is directly descended from a Scottish baronage and he refuses to ever even consider trying haggis. The things people try to donate to food banks is sometimes awful!
By: messymimi on April 25, 2016
Don't remember creamed corn, I'm sure I would not have liked it either, though I did like creamed chipped beef. I hated asparagus, looked like green turds to me, I do like it now. Kids are very visual and textural and some foods just seem awful. It is a mistake to force them to eat something, But I do not like how so many parents today prepare several dinners, one for each child...of course with prepared foods this is an option previous families never had.
By: cranky on April 25, 2016
My friend Meg likes to prepare and to eat Haggis (though she doesn't do it often). I may have to show her your post. She thinks of it as a delicacy and says it is delicious.
By: Michael Offutt on April 25, 2016
I've never heard of canned haggis, but it sounds even nastier than freshly made haggis. I never liked creamed corn either. My mom makes "scalloped corn" which I think is creamed corn with bacon on top and some kind of crust. I don't eat it but my sister insists we have it at every holiday meal. When the post office had donations where you put canned food in or by your mailbox I'd usually buy a few cheap cans of pork & beans to give away. I always figure that's pretty much a whole meal right there.
By: PT Dilloway on April 25, 2016
Aye laddie, I have tried Haggis. Was not fond of it, but have eaten "Vegetarian Haggis" and have enjoyed it. True, it is not real haggis, but then we must make allowances from time to time. That's my Scot's logic kicking in. What I deplored as a child and to this day can not think of without getting a bit green are canned peas. BTW canned peas were never green. They are some evil mush pellets foisted on us by a sadistic marketing scheme designed to use up rejects and old product.
By: Tom Cochrun on April 25, 2016
Nope, no haggis for this lad, in spite of me name. From my kid-hood, parsnips and rutabaga were the worst. To this day I cannot stomach liver or poached salmon.
By: Bruce Taylor on April 25, 2016
liver turns my stomach
By: Denise on April 25, 2016
I think some of our dislikes stem from not only the taste but the texture as well...and the texture of cream corn is pretty vile. I use cream corn in things like Chicken and Corn Chowder but wouldn't ever eat it plain. As far as haggis goes...I am Irish and Scottish and I wouldn't touch that &*#@ with a 10 foot fork.
By: Cheryl P. on April 25, 2016
Hey, I like creamed corn! I'd even try haggis! But then again. I've tried to eat muktuk, love frozen uncooked fish.
By: red Kline on April 25, 2016
Mine was corn beef hash. Like you I was dished an amount and told to eat it. I wasn't given the option of starving.I had to sit at the table till it was gone--often way past my bed time. Oddly today, I think I could eat it.
By: Arkansas Patti on April 25, 2016
As a kid, I had to sit a the table by myself in the dark, until I ate my canned peas. When it looked like I would be staying up all night, I ate them at 9:30 so I could go to bed. I have never eaten them since. As an adult, I took a dollop of delicious potato and cheese casserole at the school potluck, only to take a bite and discover it was CREAMED CORN! My mom hated cottage cheese, because as a child, she mistook it for ice cream.
By: Val on April 25, 2016
Pickles! Just the sight of a pickle makes me sick. I have never eaten one. My sisters have never eaten one. When Mother made pickles, the odor made us suck. Forty to fifty years later, the thought of a pickles turns our tummies. I don't like foods with a certain texture, including creamed corn, jell-o, and pudding. Soft, gloopy things. I had to go to bed without supper every time Mother made meatloaf. Thank God we got a dog so I could sneak bites to him. I am grateful my father didn't like liver, so my mother never made it. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on April 25, 2016
Oi! The embarrassment. The odor didn't make us suck. It made us sick. But the odor sucked. I must add that I'm appalled when people "donate" partly used food or something past its expiration date. Or haggis. I like to donate stew or canned meats.
By: Janie Junebug on April 25, 2016
Creamed corn must be a uniquely North American monstrosity. I've never tried it and it looks a lot like something the cat brought up. However, I have eaten haggis. It's not as revolting as the description makes it sound. Not bad, but not especially good. I do love a slice of black pudding - which is kinda related. Fried, as part of a real full-on English breakfast (bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, mushrooms, and toast) Yum :)
By: Botanist on April 25, 2016
I think I'm about to lose my dinner having read the definition of "haggis." I'll pass. Creamed corn it is!
By: Robyn Engel on April 25, 2016
I've heard of haggis, but I promise you I will die an old man without it ever touching my lips. I don't like "creamed" anything. My theory is it is just mashed up stuff that for many reasons is otherwise unsellable. Perhaps it's over-ripe apples (sauce), or deformed tomatoes, corn, peas, etc. If I wouldn't eat it in its natural state, why would I want it mushed up?
By: scott park on April 26, 2016
I'm going to Scotland in June and I have NO intention of trying haggis. I do like creamed corn though. I don't eat liver unless it's pate but the one thing you will never see me eat is crawdads. nope, no thank you, eat all you want. and sucking the heads? gross. also, raw oysters which I have tried a time or two which was a time or two too many.
By: Ellen Abbott on April 26, 2016
I grew up on home canned creamed corn - & usually bring some back with me whenever I visit my dad. Yum! But I do NOT like carrots. YUCK! And no, I would not in a million years try haggis.
By: The Bug on April 26, 2016
When I was stationed in Iceland, I went to what was called "Robert Burns Night." In conjunction with a visiting squadron from Scotland, we got all gussied up for a fancy dinner. One of the offerings was haggis. Which I actually liked. Oh, did I mention that they brought prodigious amounts of Scotch? That may have had something to do with it.
By: Al Penwasser on April 26, 2016
I don't feel so bad now for not liking green peas. Otherwise I'm not to fussy an eater. lol Amusing post!
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 26, 2016
I actually love creamed corn. I don't eas sushi, calamari, or anchovies. That stuff looks and smells too much like bait. R
By: Rick Watson on April 26, 2016

Leave a Comment

Name:
Email:
Comment:

Return to All Blog Posts Main Page


RSS 2.0   Atom