You Are What You Eat

I’ve seen this a bunch of places, but the most recent was Skwid’s LiveJournal: below the fold is a big long list of foods (exotic and otherwise), with ones I’ve eaten marked in bold face. The standard instructions call for striking out anything you won’t even consider eating, but I can imagine circumstances in which I might end up having to try any of these, even things I’m not likely to enjoy.

The striking thing about this, to me, is not the gourmet stuff that I have eaten, so much as the non-gourmet things that I haven’t.

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros (I don’t like eggs)

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich (I don’t really like peanut butter, but I have had it)

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart (It’s a must-have in NYC…)

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns (Mmmmmm….)

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries (Every summer growing up)

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters (Snot in a shell)

29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea

38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (I did go to college, you know…)

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects (In chocolate)

43. Phaal

44. Goat’s milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu (No deadly neurotoxins for me, thankyewverymuch)

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel (Several varieties)

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (I don’t get the attraction. Too sickly sweet.)

50. Sea urchin (Not my favorite)

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Mayonnaise (excuse me, “special sauce”) on burgers is socialist)

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV (Mmmmm….. Beer…..)

59. Poutine (Definitely at Worldcon next year)

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin

64. Currywurst

65. Durian (Not in a real big hurry for this…)

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (All four, actually)

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette

71. Gazpacho (Like eating salad dressing)

72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe (I’m not hip enough to drink wormwood)

74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill (Not to the best of my knowledge)

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse (Raw, even)

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (I didn’t like coffee even before my stomach problems.)

100. Snake

I make that 64 out of 100, which isn’t too bad.

This list is missing a number of obvious we-dare-you-to-eat-it foods, though. Where are natto, lutefisk, squirrel, “thousand-year-old eggs,” shark fin, retsina, and shochu? You could probably come up with another list of a hundred just as odd as these…

Comments

  1. #1 Aaron Bergman
    August 15, 2008

    1,3,4 (think so-carpaccio certainly),5,7-15,17,19,20-24,26-29,31-32,34,39-41,44,47-56,61-62,66-67,69,71-72,78,81-82,83 (maybe — I think it was a conference snack),84-88,92,94-96,98

    I think that’s 63. There were a couplie I was unsure about, and not drinking took a way a bunch of them. And, what on earth is kaolin? Google seems to think it is clay.

    As you say, there are a lot of fun things one could add. Everyone should try a feijoa, for example. And a mangosteen (now legal in the US!). And Sizchuan peppercorns. And, and, and….

  2. #2 Skwid
    August 15, 2008

    Someone else who’s non-allergic but doesn’t like peanut butter! I am not alone!

  3. #3 tceisele
    August 15, 2008

    Yes, kaolin is clay. Some people eat it, but more as a result of a mental disorder (it’s called “pica“) than as a regular dietary staple.

    Although, I would not be at all surprised if, say, certain off-brand creme-filled cookies added kaolin as a whitener and extender. Some of them already add titanium dioxide as a whitener, after all.

  4. #4 Uncle Al
    August 15, 2008

    “Mann ist was man ißt!” is a German pun. To ascribe deeper meaning to a play on words is Liberal Arts agenda expoited for gain. Eat long pig, PhD or Olympic gold medal winners dinners.

    KIMCHI! Where is the kimchi? Visit your decent food perveyor, refrigerated case, look for Cosmo-brand kimchi. On that jar, big bold sidebar, is the finest food slogan in all gastronomy. It ends “…safe to eat.” Crunchy, too.

    Locusts must have removed wings and hind legs or risk intestinal blockage and perforation (distal leg segments). Bagna càuda was featured in Babylon 5, “A Distant Star”. Durian is a custardy cross among strawberry, watermelon, and sauteed onions – quite interesting and best fresh not frozen and thawed.

    Borscht is unpleasant and non-nutritious, abalone must be pounded, eggs Benedict in Vegas served right from the kitchen. Macdonalds ingestion is unpleasant. Hit Carl’s Jr. for a giant juicy jalapeño burger and fries. It isn’t real food but it is Schadenfreude real close.

    Lab rabbit (no added pharma) is glorious. Those kept in cedar hutches have a cedrene undertaste. Eating clay is a sub-Saharan Africa (pregnancy) food fetish (or Kaopectate. More effective therapies are available).

  5. #5 arby
    August 15, 2008

    Durian tastes better than it smells. Much better, but then it would need to. And some clays are used for parasites. There was a French study, I think, in the last couple of years showing very specific antibiotic effects from some clays. Identical looking clays from different regions had no activity. Markets in Africa sell a variety of clays for different ailments. It isn’t just because of mental disorders or a food fetish. Pica may be a result of dietary deficiencies or parasites, not psychological problems, at least not always. rb

  6. #6 John McKay
    August 15, 2008

    Koalin clay is used in pharmaceuticals (Kaopectate and as a pill coating, I believe). I claimed that one because I’ve taken pills with kaolin clay in them.

  7. #7 chezjake
    August 15, 2008

    I made 77, if you’ll accept that I’ve had both blini and caviar, but not in combination. My snake was rattlesnake (tastes like chicken). I share your opinion of oysters. Lobster Thermidor is vastly overrated — lobster should be simply boiled or steamed and eaten with drawn butter (or cold in a lobster salad).

    Another one missing from the list is Moxie, the old New England “tonic.”

  8. #8 CCPhysicist
    August 15, 2008

    I may have to do this one, but I was also surprised that lutefisk, kimchee, and a few other things weren’t on there. I rather enjoyed some roasted ants a colleague smuggled in from South America.

    I don’t see the big deal about hot dogs from a street vendor. Is that supposed to be risky? The curried goat I had was prepared by my next door neighbor and the kimchee was homemade by a grad student. Borscht? It’s great if made well.

  9. #9 Thony C.
    August 16, 2008

    Mann ist was man ißt!” is a German pun. To ascribe deeper meaning to a play on words is Liberal Arts agenda expoited for gain. Eat long pig, PhD or Olympic gold medal winners dinners.

    I know one shouldn’t feed the trolls and as far as Prof. Orzell is concerned you are a troll but this time I couldn’t resist.

    The remark does indeed produce a witty pun in German but the original quote is from Brillat-Savarin’s Physiologie du Goût, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante; ouvrage théorique, historique et à l’ordre du jour, dédié aux Gastronomes parisiens, par un Professeur, membre de plusieurs sociétés littéraires et savantes. and is French. In English translation the original is, “tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”

  10. #10 Salad Is Slaughter
    August 16, 2008

    Sea urchin is an acquired taste, and it helps if you can get a top chef to prepare it for you.

    Do number 84 and you can probably get several on the list checked off.

  11. #11 Kaleberg
    August 17, 2008

    That’s a culturally interesting list. Twenty years ago it would have included more exotic animals (snails, kangaroo, ostrich) and at least some offal (brains, tripe, sweetbreads). Forty years ago the emphasis would have been on international origins (fondue, peking duck, foo foo, curried lamb) or European preparation (coq au vin, fresh pasta, souffle, quenelle). Also, where are the down market favorites (deep fried turkey, fried oyster sandwiches, jam butty sandwiches, periwinkles)?

    Our idea of exotic food changes with the times.

  12. #13 JW Tan
    August 19, 2008

    I make it 91. Hope to cross off poutine and andouillette next year.

    The most difficult thing I’ve ever had to eat was a parmo from Middlesbrough.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Parmo

  13. #14 BruceH
    August 19, 2008

    I should be ashamed that I know this, but McDonald’s “special sauce” is not mayonnaise but Thousand Island dressing. It has no business on a burger.

    Texans will tell you that the only condiments that belong on a burger are mayonnaise and mustard. Never ketchup. We also enjoy bacon, cheese, lettuce, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions as toppers.

  14. #15 Calli Arcale
    September 2, 2008

    Odd to see gjetost on the list but not lutefisk. The latter is much less appealing to the unintiated, since gjetost is basically just a rather sweet cheese, usually goat cheese. It has kind of an odd counterpoint of sweet and bitter to it. On the other hand, you’re more likely to have *heard* of lutefisk than gjetost, so the relative obscurity of gjetost probably got it onto the list.

    I never cared much for gjetost when I had it as a child, but I wonder if I’d like it now. My tastes have changed considerably since then. I should try it again. My grandpa loves the stuff on flatbrød, and he even got me liking pickled herring cutlets. They are seriously addictive!

  15. #16 Rich
    August 1, 2010

    Gulf of Mexico oysters are not “snot in a shell,” they actually are worth eating. Or at least, they were when I last had them a few years ago; I think BP has probably put them out of reach for a generation or more. :-(