Oddest Food

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Okay, I've freighted your mind with weighty issue enough today. So a poll, answer, if you please in the comments box:

(1) What is the oddest food you've ever deliberately eaten? (We're not counting swallowed flies or accientally ingested spiders here--this is food that you chose to eat.)

(2) What food do you really, really like to eat but many people around you find utterly revolting?

My answers:

(1)This is a tough one. On the plant side I've had stewed nettles, fiddleheads from maidenhair fern, and the cabbage palm "cabbage" and the stewed seeds of a local ground-cover cycad (I think--although it strikes me that they would be likely to be filled with taxine, so perhaps it was something else). On the animal side I've had fresh nautilus, Cassiopeia jellyfish (served as a sort of dried chip), scorpions, a bread made primarily from bees (and yes, surprising it was sweet), and most revolting of all holothurian. Google it and look for a picture. (In grad school we used to have "phylum feasts" to see how many phyla we could cover in one meal and throughout our career. My brave and intrepid little group managed a great many of the more common phyla--we balked at a few because of the rarity of the animals.

(2) Stewed okra, pickled okra, fresh okra, fried okra, gumdoed okra, fricasseed okra. People think of this as a southern thing, but I got into the habit from my Grandma who lived in South eastern Ohio at the time. She took me out to her garden and showed me one of the loveliest flowers I had ever seen and told me it was the flower of the okra plant. And later that season I got to eat my grandma's fresh cooked okra--yum!

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I'll take the last one first ... the food I LOVE that revolts most people is tongue. Mmmm, tongue ...

As for odd foods, they don't seem odd to me but I have to go by others' reactions. However, none of them can hold a candle to your choices I must say. Eel, Rocky mountain oysters (that might also qualify for the revolting food I LOVE to eat), squid, sweetbreads (another great favorite, my dad used to cook them occasionally and we thought they were great treats).

1: I once ate squid (no adventure here :-)

2: my likes are a subset of everyone else's. Reversing it, the utterly revolting foods that everyone but me likes are ham & beans and cooked cabbage. Ham & bean dinners are staple fundraisers in the midwest - the Masons, various churches - they get an impossibly large vat and fill it with h&b, then stir til... I dunno what criteria they use. I cannot approach a steaming vat of h&b for fear of catching a whiff. Gotta go shudder for a while...

For me, calf brains in white garlic sauce, eaten in a "women's restaurant" in New York City with two co-workers of a sapphic bent, sometime in the early '70s. Delicious stuff. I, too, have often enjoyed sweetbreads, in a brown truffle sauce, which were on the menu in a restaurant where I was steward of the kitchen, back in the day. Yum-yum.

1) Blood pudding, a sausage made of animal blood. Had that in Ireland.

2) I like what most people like, but a few find Guinness and/or dark German beers if not revolting then not to their taste.

Food I like which revolts others - black olives. When I was a child I took olive sandwiches to school for lunch and the my class mates were revolted - "yuk that's wog (not native born Australian) food"!! It was a long time ago. lol

I once ate cooked snails - too greasy for my taste!

I am not an adventurous eater, by any stretch of the imagination, so I cannot answer the first question!

But I do have several things I like that the rest of my family simply looks at me with horror in their eyes when I eat them. The main one being canned Vienna sausages. The taste for them is a leftover from an unprosperous childhood, with a mom trying to put food on the table. I still like 'em. But when I buy them, PapaC looks at me and says, "You're not actually going to eat those little slick weenies are you?"

Yes! Canned Vienna sausages and an unprosperous youth! They were a treat, back in the day. And they retain their appeal. Similarly, my father came back from WWII having developed a taste for (gasp!) Spam. As well as for chipped beef. I was also treated to "city chicken", which was chunks of scrap veal on a wooden skewer, and had the consistency of dried rubber cement. To all of these things, I once developed a liking. But today, only Vienna sausages retain any appeal.

Pickled pig's feet, anyone? My dad used to bring home large, glass jars of this delicacy and I loved them! I can't handle the thought of eating a pig's foot today. I do wonder what becomes of the feet in the slaughter house. Hotdogs?

1. Sea cow (or manatee). It was in a tapas bar in Spain. I did not know what it was, but it looked good. It tasted terrible (and I think that this is just the way it tastes, because this place did a great job on everything else), sort of a mix of the texture of tough beef and the flavor of old hamburger combined with the oil strip on a cod.

As for unusual things that I like, percebes, or goose barnacles, probably top the list. The flavor and texture is somewhere between sea scallop and European lobster. Yum.

2. I love variety meats of all sorts, especially tongue, tripe, sweatbreads, head cheese, kidneys, etc. I used to have a variety meats festival every year, where I would cook all this stuff up and serve it to my friends. We haven't done this for awhile, but I should do it this fall, as it is a fun party.

I also love really stinky cheeses, raw seafood of all sorts, particularly sea urchin gonads (uni, for those of you who have wondered what that was in the sushi bar), foie gras, and all of that fun stuff.

About the only thing that really grosses me out is a hard cooked egg. Other than that I will eat just about anything.

The third (implied) question is, "what have you not eaten but would like to try?"

3. Dog. I have absolutely no sentimental attachment to the beasts, and am intrigued by a dish that has made it into so many cuisines. I have a hard time believing that the filthy things could be tasty, but I am willing to give it a try, particularly if cooked by a good Korean cook, and especially if they would start with my neighbor's pit bull.

1) Steak Tartar on New Years Eve in what was at the time West Germany.

2) Liverwurst and onion sandwiches. The only people I know who like it are twice my age or dead. I also like pan fried lamb kidneys for breakfast but haven't had any for at least twenty years. Chicken gizzards are good, too.

mine is the same as Julie Ds! LOVE tongue. MMMMM.

i guess that's also really the weirdest thing i've eaten. that and menudo. :) i'm so wild. hah.

I had Ostrich, which to some people isn't that weird I guess. It wasn't really very good either.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 7, 2006 7:48 PM.

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