Monday, December 25, 2006

'Twas the night before Christmas... (of Galvani and frog's legs)

We traditionally attend the Christmas Eve Mass at our local religious community (Ligaya ng Panginoon) before we head home to enjoy our Noche Buena. But in recent years, we didn't have enough time and energy to prepare our usual home feast, so we just had dinner in restaurants, and the usual "popular" pick was Max's (hmmm... ok, ok, the choice was usually made by me, so don't wonder... I love Max's... "sarap to the bones!"). Anyway, this Christmas Eve dinner was different, and with my brother Oggie's recommendation, we decided to eat at Little Asia located at the Greenhills Promenade.

What did we order? Being a culinary adventurist that I was and how I sorely miss eating in fancy restaurants, I targeted the unusual menu selections. On top of our safe choices which included the seafood rolls, chicken in sweet sour sauce, fried breaded calamares in salt and pepper, fish fillet in special cheese sauce and yang chao rice, I included the duck's eggs (sizzling balot!) in a special sauce and the never tasted before, fried frog's legs in salt and pepper style preparation. Of course, my unusal food order wasn't almost heeded due to resistance from my siblings who had a more conservative palate.

The food came... the food was good, but compared to other asian-themed restaurants, it was a tad sweet. The duck's egg was almost ordinary if not for the special sauce. But the highlight of the feast was the frog's legs dish! I never tasted frog's legs before (I've tasted horse, reindeer, monitor lizard "bayawak", goat before) so I was in for a gastronomic adventure. Aside from the novelty of it, I found it very good (good enough to have seconds, and even thirds!). It tasted very similar to chicken, and if you didn't know you were eating frogs, you might mistake it for chicken.

I wanted my little sister Sigrid to taste the frog's legs. We didn't tell her what the dish really was because if she knew, she might not even take a bite. We just told her they were fried little chicken's legs, and she enjoyed them. Here's proof she ate frog's legs!

Christmas Eve 012 a

Pretty soon, she gobbled 5 legs in all! We told her the truth eventually after we left the restaurant, and she wasn't really pissed off. She was surprised how they tasted delicious, and was more than willing to eat frogs again.

What else was going on in my mind when I was chomping on my frog's legs... this!

Christmas Eve 011 a

Yes, yes, I admit, I'm a geek, and I wouldn't be called "Electro (electrotherapy) King" for nothing. Luigi Galvani, one of the pioneers of neuroelectrophysiology, visited my thoughts as bits of cooked contractile amphibian musculature traveled its way down my esophagus. Did a little research here (courtesy of IET):

Galvani's Animal Electricity Experiments

Shown here is an illustration of Luigi Galvani's famous frog experiments taken from his work, De Viribus - Electricitatis in Motu Musculari. 1792.

A chance observation led Luigi Galvani (1737-98) to discover animal electricity in 1871. When the nerve of a frog that Galvani's wife was preparing for soup was accidentally touched with a knife a muscle contraction occurred despite the frog not being connected to an electrical machine. Galvani investigated the cause and discovered contractions were excited when two different metals touched.

Previously, Isaac Newton had theorised a link between the 'animal spirits' described in antiquity and the subtle electrical fluids hypothesised by physicists. Caldini had observed that merely bringing an electrified rod within close proximity of a frog would stimulate its muscles. However, it was Galvani who determined that electricity was present in the animal itself. From his frog experiments he deduced that contractions were caused by the flow of electricity and when one occurred a nervo-electric fluid was conducted from the nerves to the muscle. This gave a physiological basis for medical electrical treatment.

And thus, eletrotherapy was born... whew! Funny how big discoveries are born out of little accidents.

We finished the meal and realized after that around 12 frogs are now on wheelchairs...


Jen A. said...

hello, rev! i didn't know that you're into gastronomical adventures.i'm glad you liked the frog legs.i eat them too.well, not here in NY...back there in manila i did.have you tried snakes? =)

Rev Cruz said...

Hi Jen! I surely am into adventure of all kinds... the more exotic, the more exciting, exactly... I haven't tried snakes yet, but I suspect they would taste a lot like lizards.