Story time: I ate a snake


Soreya Djemene

The actual viper that my mom cooked and I ate.

By Adeline Djemene Siani, Watkins Mill High School

We’ve all wandered across the net and found the weirdest things: “Ten kids who were raised by wild animals” or “Eating scorpions in China.’’ I don’t know about you, but I never had a “wow, I should try that too,” moment…until I found myself eating a snake.

How in the world did I find myself eating a snake? Well, one thing’s for sure, it was definitely unexpected. Let’s rewind to that tragic Sunday morning. My mom was having her friends over that night, so we did loads of cooking and cleaning. At one point, my mom calls me down asking to bring her our sharpest knife, which was probably like two feet away from her, but hey, who’s counting? I laid down the knife without paying attention to what she was doing.

I tried to quickly disappear before she even THOUGHT of giving me something else to do, but of course that never works. As I attempted to escape, she calls me again and says “hold this,” so I turned around and looked at her hand. THIS LADY WAS HOLDING A SNAKE.

That was what went through my mind, but I’m pretty sure my face showed it too. “What is that?” I asked while pointing at it. Of course, I knew what it was, I just needed her to confirm it. And she did. The fact that she had no reaction to any of this told me she’d done it before.

As I stared at it, I was fascinated but disgusted at the same time. I finally decided to hold it. The scales were much softer than I expected them to be, and it felt really smooth. My mom then cut it into small pieces and seasoned it. The dish she was making was “Bouillon de vipere” which is basically viper soup. Yes, the snake was a viper. Eating a snake is one thing, but eating one of the deadliest of them all is just wild.

As I took pictures of it, my mom asked if I wanted to taste some. At first it was an ultimate no, but then it turned out to be “YOLO.” The time had finally come. The soup was ready, but I wasn’t. I grabbed a plate and picked the smallest piece from the pot, then walked over to the table and sat. Right off the bat, I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat the skin, it just grossed me out. I finally took my first bite, and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t bad at all. It tasted like fish, but not as soft. It’s reasonable to say it felt like beef, but tasted like fish…you with me?

Anyhow, all was well, and I made it out alive. I’m glad I decided to eat it and see what it’s like, you don’t get a chance to eat a viper every day. Later that night, my mom was telling me it was actually illegal for women to eat snakes in Cameroon. According to our culture, women aren’t good or “worthy”enough to eat snakes, therefore, only men ate and killed them. She then said my grandfather used to be a hunter, and killed multiple animals, including snakes. They all ate whatever he would kill, regardless of it being illegal or not.

I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor–or the other way around in this case!

My grandfather killed warthogs, monkeys, porcupines, alligators, gorillas, buffaloes and a leopard. Funny enough, we have the skin of the exact leopard my grandfather killed in our living room in Cameroon. My mom had a chance to eat all the animals he killed, which I think is really cool. Next time I go to Cameroon, I’ll have more animals on my “to eat” list. If you ever have the chance to eat something that seems weird, do it! You never know what you’ll miss out on.

This story was originally published on The Current on October 10, 2018.