Thursday, May 13, 2010

Weird/Strange/Odd Food

Andrew Zimmern recently won a James Beard award for being a "TV Food Personality." Zimmern, as you may or may not know (or care about), is the host of Bizarre Foods, on the Travel Channel. He makes his money eating weird stuff like tarantulas, dung beetles, and fermented shark. That's a little too edgy for me - I'll stick to "average" weird edibles, like scrapple and squid.

Of course, one man's weird is another man's normal, and vice versa. While I wouldn't blink at eating a nice chunk of kishka (blood sausage), someone else might get queasy at the mere thought of it. Like you random vegetarian readers. Rest assured I feel the same way about brown rice and lima beans.

I've eaten abalone, alligator, beef tendon, blood sausage, buffalo, carambola, chicken feet, crawfish, cuttlefish, dragon fruit, duck tongues, eel, foie gras, frog's legs, gjetost, goat, huitlacoche, jellyfish, kidneys, liver, octopus, ostrich, quail, rabbit, salicornia, scrapple, shark, snails, squid,
sweetbreads, turtle soup, venison, and wild boar. Pretty tame stuff compared to what Zimmern eats on a regular basis, nor is it quite like the infamous warthog anus-eating of Anthony Bourdain, but still weird to a lot of middle Americans. I haven't yet tried tripe, or Rocky Mountain oysters, but they're on the list. And the "bullwhack" from Hunan Taste is intriguing, although this Serious Eats article makes it seem like it's not worth the effort.

Ordinarily I'll try anything once. However, I'm not sure if I'd be willing to try live lobster. (Not too long ago, I wouldn't eat raw fish at all, much less raw fish that was still alive.) Other things you won't find me eating: balut, live shrimp, cockroaches and other creepy-crawlies. And lima beans. What about you? What will you never ever eat? What oddities are you willing to try?