So, I just read there’s a great new snack on its way to America via Scotland: Mackie’s Haggis and Cracked Black Pepper Chips.
For those of you lucky enough not to know, haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made by stuffing a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, along with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, into the animal’s stomach (therefore ensuring you’re eating every single thing but the meat, which is actually pretty yummy), and boiling it for three hours.
Not only did the Scots defile the very concept of potato chips by making them taste like the boiled major organs of Lambchop,
they loved it so much they awarded it “Product of the Year” at the 2010 Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards. This leaves me no choice but to assume the only other entrants were “Pickles n’ Turds” brand snack mix and “Hot and Spicy Leper Cracklin’s.”
In honor of this new culinary travesty, here are a few real foods from cultures around the world that like to mix something good with something unspeakable/inedible and then serve it for dinner, gleefully licking the drippin’s from their fingers afterwards:
Most everything you need to know about Casu Marzu is that the literal translation is “rotten cheese.” It’s made by taking what might be otherwise perfectly good, if a little pungent, pecorino cheese, and lovingly cultivating rot and decay until it reaches maggot-riddled perfection. The entire process and finished product are so unsanitary and disgusting that it’s been outlawed, although you can still get it…if you know who to ask..
If the thought of picking up a lump of stinky, rotten cheese with the insect equivalent of snot squirming around in, on, under, and through it doesn’t sound appetizing, I believe I have a solution. Just serve it in one of these:
No muss, no fuss, and hopefully the propellant will kill the fly larvae before you have to eat them.
I love fish. All kinds’a fish, done all kinds’a ways. Salmon in particular. I’ll eat it grilled, smoked, on salads, on rice, on a bagel, even raw. I don’t, however, do fermented. Especially when “fermented,” as here, is merely a polite term for “rotten as all hell.”
Stinkheads are mostly eaten in Alaska, where the people’s taste buds and odor receptors don’t see sunlight for eight months a year, thereby becoming atrophied and making such a culinary abomination possible. Making this “dish” is a simple 3-step process:
1. Bury salmon heads in ground, or just throw them into a rain barrel if you’re too lazy to dig a pit.
2. Wait until well past that time at which you would have thrown the fish out if it had been stored in your clean, sanitary refrigerator.
3. Dig up/scrape from the sides of the barrel with a putty knife.
According to one website,
“What has struck the ‘gross-out’ nerve is the overriding fact that much of the stinkhead prep process is less about fermentation and more about rot and decomposition. The dish…is nothing but rotten salmon heads….”
I can only imagine what a putty-like, disease-ridden mash of decomposed fish heads smells like, but you can assume it’s rough when, given its many other unpleasant attributes, the one that stuck out enough to name the dish after was the smell. Ever left town in summer and forgotten to take out the full trash bag in the garage? Then you come back in a week or two and dry-heave your way to the curb with it, praying to a merciful God that it doesn’t rip and send a stream of garbage water into your shoe? I imagine that’s a similar smell to stinkheads. I don’t think I could even get it close enough to my mouth to even attempt to taste it.
So how to make this culinary equivalent of a lost bet more appetizing?
Ever had a “Chicken in a Biskit” cracker? No? Run on to the store and get some. I’ll wait here.
Hm hm hm hmmmm. La la la la la….
Oh, you’re back. Not eat one. Taste that? That’s what “happy” tastes like, and not even stinkheads can take that away from me.
Boodog is a traditional dish in Outer Mongolia. And before you get too pissed/creeped out, there’ s no actual dog in it. It’s merely an otherwise delicious goat that’s had its legs broken and been hung upside down and drained of blood before being stuffed with hot coals to cook from the inside out. That’s boodog, and the most disturbing part of it is the way it looks, as if Ethan Allen got into the goat-cooking business. Really not all that nasty, but I believe it could be made even more appetizing by setting it in front of your Laz-E-Boy, propping your feet up on it, and enjoying a Big Mac like a normal freakin’ human being.
One of the more famous delicacies in Japan is raw fugu, or “puffer fish.”
Not content with the health risks associated with eating regular raw fish, the Japanese decided to man it up a notch by heating highly poisonous raw fish. It seems the fugu’s vital organs are just sloppin’ over with tetrodotoxin, a naturally occurring, well, toxin, I mean it’s right there in the name, which paralyzes any and all threats (i.e.: you). get a sushi chef with a shaky hand, and some of that toxin may end up in your bite of puffer, rendering you not just paralyzed, but asphyxiated and dead.
Just to make it more exciting, there’s no known antivenom for fugu poisoning, so if you get it, you’re pretty much S.O.L. A chefh as to have tons and tons of training to even be allowed near the fugu, which still doesn’t stop several people a year from dying of fugu poisoning.
If that’s not bad enough, the”best” chefs, and we mean that here in the sense of “most insane,” intentionally put a trace amount of the fish’s toxin on the dish before it’s served. This produces a tingling sensation in the diner’s tongue, an effect known as the “taste of death.” Yeah, I’ve tasted death. It’s called jr. high. No need to revisit that feeling again.
So how do you make deathly poisonous food even better?
I mean, if a highly-trained, elite chef can do it, why can’t the mechanized, assembly-line process of bulk food preparation?
Here in ‘Merica, we men like our eggs like we like our women: unfertilized. Not so much in the Philippines and Vietnam, where balut is a common street food.
What is balut, other than something to scar my eyes and my dreams forever, you ask? It’s a fertilized, partially-matured, soft-boiled duck egg/fetus. Aaand, to a lot of people, it’s what’s for dinner. Or at least a snack.
Not gross enough, you say? Did I mention you eat it by basically punching wide-bore straw through the shell and sucking out the insides, like Satan’s Capri Sun?
And how does one make this more appetizing? Well, you can’t. You…you just can’t.
After taking part of this smorgasbord of food, culture, and “this is exactly how many %#*’s I don’t give about what goes into my mouth,” you’re bound to be thirsty. So what pairs well with maggots/fetuses/poison? I’m glad you asked…
Baby Mice Wine
Finally, what could be better after a fine dining experience than chasing it all with a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee?
Selling for up to $600 a pound, Kopi Luwak is the Kobe beef of coffees. If Kobe beef came pre-digested and dug out of its previous owner’s feces. That’s right: Kopi Luwak is coffee beans that have been eaten, digested, and “dropped off at the pool” by civets.
According to one source, the beans are washed but “given only a light roast so as not to destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process.”
I’m sure my butt babies develop “complex flavors,” too, but I don’t presume others would want said flavors in their coffee. In fact, given an unfortunate episode at a former job involving a break room, a security camera, and me getting pissed off ay my shift manager, I’m certain others don’t want them in their coffee.
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