I was asking myself earlier "What is the strangest food item currently in our kitchen?" That's a difficult question, not only because we have a lot of strange food stuffs, but also because we so familiar with them that they don't seem strange anymore. I'm not sure pickled turnip really qualifies (see "The Turnips Does What?" entry.), as turnips aren't a strange item here in the US. I went trawling through the shelves, uncovering a great many unusual items like mahlab and roasted blachen, and then I found it:
I remember this box. It was in the remainders section of the store. They wanted to get rid of it, which made me doubt the wisdom of buying it. But we were curious.
The back reads: "Yu Yee vegetarian foods series are popular with the customers for it's high quality material choice, sweet smell, unique flavor and full nutrition. Seasoned Gluten Puff are made of choice quality of the rare matieral and special flavoring. They are superior in delicious and highly nutritious. They are a nice dish used in banquet, travel and as a gift to friends."
Hmmm... okay. Well, it's lunch time, and I don't have a lot of time to cook something from scratch.
The cooking directions give me three options:
1) open the package and eat them cold
2) boil them in the package for five minutes
3) open the package and microwave them
I don't know about eating puffed gluten cold on an empty stomach, so I opt for option 2. While the water comes to a boil, I cook up some breakfast links as a fall back option. I'm hungry, and I'm not taking chances.
And here we are with the cooked gluten. Hmmm... looks like chopped beef, but the proof is in the taste:
Salty. Sweet. Fennel. Faint cinnamon. A slightly spicy after-taste. Not bad. A bit too salty to eat much of it at any one time, but I could grow to like this stuff.