Yesterday was Anna’s (capoeira friend) birthday. She invited me over for food and party games with some friends. We made “burritos” (quotes because they had hummus and gouda and halloumi and muhammara) and played a game that I think I am going to have to purchase, as it is strategy-driven enough to please, for example, Joseph, but not extremely confusing or long.

I also tried Katjes salzige Heringe, or salt herring. I have had salt herring once before, but this was a totally different (albeit equally unforgettable) experience. Last time, the fish came in a pan of water that had been soaking on my grandparents’ kitchen counter overnight. These ones come in a package that looks like this:

Yes, that is fish-shaped, salt-covered licorice masquerading as candy.

Here’s an approximation of what it’s like to eat them:

Nathan is coming back on the 12th of February and returning home in March. If you want to try some salt herrings (or better yet, make your out-of-the-loop friends try them), I will swap you for (delicious) American and/or British treats. Or peanut butter. I’ll even throw in something actually pleasant to eat, just for good measure. Let me know. 

Apparently I wasn’t too good at hiding my distaste for salted black candy (after all, I’m only human). The group got a good laugh, and then Maike countered with a story about ads she’d seen in the US for the world’s biggest peanut boil (17 different competitors last year–Georgia folks, who’s in?). “I’ve heard of roasted peanuts and of peanut butter,” she said, “but why on earth would it ever occur to someone to boil a peanut?”

I refrained from telling the story of when Conor, our friend from Belfast, tried a boiled peanut at a gas station at my behest. He didn’t even get the shell off completely before throwing the car door open, spitting it onto the asphalt, straightening back up, taking a deep breath, and saying, “Thank you, they’re lovely.”

I was unable to convince Anna and friends that boiling nuts wasn’t weird, but that’s alright. They can keep their salt herring–I’m heading to Alabama on urgent business.