The Market

(from a 21 January 1946 letter)

I went to Manila’s main marketplace yesterday. It was similar to the one on Brooklyn’s Prospect Place. What a stink! The chaplain was with me. He is new at sea and shows it.

An old lady bought what seemed to be an ordinary egg and started to eat it. Because the innards looked strange, the Chaplain asked what it was. She held it up and with a toothless grin offered him a bite. He turned pale, and almost heaved. She had taken a bite out of a baloot, that is, a boiled embryo that was complete with beak, eyes, and pinfeathers! It’s a good thing that I have a strong stomach.

I met the Chaplain walking into the wardroom for breakfast this morning. I asked how he wanted his  baloots prepared. He turned around and walked out. I ordered hotcakes for a change.



“A baloot is a fifteen- or sixteen-day fertilized chicken egg. Open an egg and pop a sixteen-day-old incomplete chicken fetus into your mouth, complete with partially formed feathers, feet, eyeballs, and blood vessels showing through the translucent skin of the chick.”


Copyright © 2005 (text only) by Louis D. Chirillo