Should We Tell New Boise Residents What This Local Delicacy REALLY Is?
When I move to Boise over a decade ago, I was a bright-eyed, incredibly naive 22 year-old who'd just gotten my college degree and was so excited to move across the country to my new hometown. A few weeks after I settled in, the Eagle Fire Volunteer Department was getting ready for it's largest fundraiser of the year.
I'd become not only the youngest member of the staff, but the only female to work at my first station in Boise. That means I immediately gained three "big brothers" that loved to prank me whenever they could. Wanting to fit in and make a good impression I immediately chimed in with "I LOVE seafood! I'm so down for it!" when they mentioned the Eagle's Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed. The three of them looked at each other for a while before, they couldn't help but crack and bust out into laughter.
I was so confused. What did I say that was so funny? I really do love seafood. In my world an "All You Can Eat Seafood Restaurant" wasn't a type of restaurant, it was an actual challenge. Was that weird?
That's when my co-host at the time had a crisis of conscience and told me what Rocky Mountain Oysters really were. I think my face immediately turned green when he told me they were deep fried testicles - usually from bulls, but sometimes from sheep or pigs. Before they're served, they're usually skinned, dipped in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and other spices and then fried.
Every year, thousands of people would show up for what Eagle claimed to be the "Largest Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed in the World." After a few beers and a basket of "oysters" you could imagine how many testicle jokes flew and how raucous things got!
So what do they taste like? Some people say venison. Others say Finger Steaks. I never got to find out for myself, because I never worked up the nerve and the tradition vanished a couple years ago. The last record we could find of the Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed was on the a 2014 post on Eagle Fire Department's Facebook page.
BUT...this year? It's making it's triumphant return as an official part of Eagle Fun Days and a fundraiser for Special Olympics Idaho! It's scheduled to take place at Reid Merrill Park on Saturday, July 10 from 5-10 p.m. Tickets are $30 for those 14 and older and $15 for kids 13 and under. Adult tickets include two free beers for those 21+ or two free soft drink/water for the young crowd and those who don't drink. The evening includes live music from two different bands.
This event being back is a big deal and people are going to be excited about it! Eleven years ago, I was grateful that my new Boise family cracked and told me what Rocky Mountain Oysters really were instead of tricking me into eating them...but based on the comments we've on our Facebook page recently, the Treasure Valley isn't nearly as friendly to out-of-staters moving here as they used to be. So, what will you do? Invite the new neighbors to join you and snicker as they swallow their first bull testicle or play nice?