I found a fun meme via Rev. BigDumbChimp, involving food. I'm a sucker for anything involving eating.
- Venison: Nope.
- Nettle tea: yes. Didn't like it.
- Huevos rancheros: Yes, yummy.
- Steak tartare: nope.
- Crocodile: Yup. Mediocre. Not a bad flavor, but it had a nasty texture.
- Black pudding: Gads, no.
- Cheese fondue: Yup.
- Carp: Yup.
- Borscht: I'm an Ashkenazi Jew, of course I've had borscht. Out of a jar, it's absolutely, mind-bogglingly horrible. Cooked fresh, it's at best mediocre.
- Baba ghanoush: Yum!
- Calamari: Tried it once. Turned out that I'm violently allergic
to it. Not one of my more pleasant food experiences.
- Pho: Nope, but I've had the chinese version (Nu Rou Mien).
- PB&J sandwich: of course.
- Aloo gobi: Yup; in fact, I make it myself. Great stuff - one of the
very best things you can do with a cauliflower.
- Hot dog from a street cart: of course. I'm a NYer.
- Epoisses: One of my favorite cheeses! Nothing compares
to Epoisses washed in Sauvingon blanc. Yum.
- Black truffle: yup. Overrated. They're very good, but
considering what they cost, they need to be *better* than just very good.
- Fruit wine made from something other than grapes: I've had hungarian
brandies made from peaches, but that's not wine. I've had something
that's called blackberry wine, but it's really blackberry juice mixed
with neutral brandy and sugar, so I assume that doesn't count. So I guess
that's a no.
- Steamed pork buns: Nope. I don't like pork.
- Pistachio ice cream: yes.
- Heirloom tomatoes: Oh, yes. Really good, fresh, vine-grown
tomatoes - not the commercially bred shippable kind, but the kind
that you get from the farmer, and have to carry carefully because
they'll bruise - are one of the greatest culinary treasures of the
world. The things you buy in the store simply are not
- Fresh wild berries: Yup. As a kid, I lived in a house on a wooded lot,
and there were wild raspberries. The wild ones really do taste better.
- Foie gras: Yes. Another favorite. Yeah, it's not particularly nice for
the duck. I don't care; it's too damned good. Not something I'd
eat every day, but it's a treat when I can get it.
- Rice and beans: Yes.
- Brawn, or head cheese: No. And I hopefully never will!
- Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper: Yes, accidentally. My grad-school roommate
bought some, not knowing what they were. And then he made me taste one.
The heat was mind-boggling, and my eyes starting burning, so I rubbed
them. Wound up spending the next half-hour or so in the the bathroom soaking my eye in cold water.
- Dulce de leche: Yes.
- Oysters: Yes. I love oysters.
- Baklava: Yes.
- Bagna cauda: Yes, I've made it.
- Wasabi peas: Yes. Eh.
- Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl: a favorite of mine.
- Salted lassi: nope.
- Sauerkraut: NY Jew - of course!
- Root beer float: yup.
- Cognac with a fat cigar: I don't do the smoking thing. Cognac, yes;
but it's not my favorite. I prefer the subtler Armagnac in the french
grape brandies, or Calvados if I can get away from the grapes.
- Clotted cream tea: Yes.
- Vodka jelly/Jell-O: No.
- Gumbo: Yes.
- Oxtail: No.
- Curried goat: Yes. I worked for a computer store owned by an
Indian family during college. They had a party that they invited
all of the employees too. The only thing that wasn't too hot for us
to eat was goat. Not thrilling, but not bad.
- Whole insects: Nope.
- Phaal: looked it up to see what it was. I'm honestly not sure.
See my story two up - I tried nibbles of a few things there, which were
considerably spicier than goat vindaloo. So maybe. But since I don't
know, I'll count this as a "no".
- Goat's milk: Nope. Lots of goat's milk cheeses, but not the milk itself.
- Malt whisky from a bottle worth Â£60/$130 or more: Once. Didn't
much like it.
- Fugu: Nope.
- Chicken tikka masala: Who hasn't had this?
- Eel: One of the most wonderful tasting fish in the world. I adore
- Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut: Yes. Not impressed.
- Sea urchin: No.
- Prickly pear: Yes. Eh.
- Umeboshi: Yes. Eh.
- Abalone: Yes. Eh.
- Paneer: Yes. Eh.
- McDonald's Big Mac Meal: Yes. Ick.
- Spaetzle: I've never had German spaetzle; I have had the hungarian
galushka, which are supposedly pretty much the same. It's wonderful.
I've also had Da Sha Mien, which is sort of the chinese equivalent, also
wonderful. There's nothing quite like the texture of a fresh dough
- Dirty gin martini: Nope. I'm not a huge martini fan, and a martini
with the olive juice mixed in just sounds awful.
- Beer above 8% ABV: Oh, yes. In my opinion, most of the beers worth drinking are up there. I tend to like Belgian bottle-fermented ales,
and they can get up to 12-14% ABV. I also once had a fantastic
barley wine, which is basically a strongly hopped beer coming in at 18% ABV!
- Poutine: Yum! My wife is Canadian, and she introduced me to it. If you've never heard of it, it's french fries with fresh cheese curds
and brown gravy. It's really, really fantastic stuff. We mail order
cheese curds from Wisconsin so that we can make it at home!
- Carob chips: Yes. It's no substitute for chocolate.
- S'mores: of course.
- Sweetbreads: Nope. Very few organ meats appeal to me.
- Kaolin: Not sure what this is... A quick search suggests one of the
ingredients of kaopectate - a horrific substance with which I have
had entirely too much experience. (I've got some really awful stomach
- Currywurst: Like I said, I'm not a fan of pork. If you could make this with some other meat, it sounds yummy.
- Durian: Nope. I'd love to try it. Another grad school roommate of mine
was from Bangladesh, and raved about how good it was despite the smell.
Since when it comes to cheese, the stinkier it is, the more I like it,
I suspect that I'd really enjoy it.
- Frogs' legs: Yes. Greasy, bland. Not thrilling.
- Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake: all of the above.
- Haggis: What am I, crazy? Hell no!
- Fried plantain: Yes. Ech.
- Chitterlings, or andouillette: Nope.
- Gazpacho: Yes! Love it when it's a bit chunky and nice and spicy!
- Caviar and blini: Yes. Overrated.
- Louche absinthe: Nope. Definitely want to.
- Gjetost, or brunost: Yes. Some friends are big fans of it, and they've
gotten me to try it. It's very peculiar.
- Roadkill: No.
- Baijiu: I think so. When I went to Taiwan to meet my in-laws, we went out to dinner with some of their friends, and we had some kind of very
strong, warm stuff. I think it was Baijiu, but I'm not sure. I definitely
did not like whatever it was.
- Hostess Fruit Pie: Yes.
- Snail: Yum!
- Lapsang souchong: never tasted it. Smelled it, because of another
guy I knew who drank the stuff constantly, but every time he brewed
a cup, the entire room would stink like stale cigar smoke. Ech.
- Bellini: Yup, at one of Mario Batalli's restaurants. My wife ordered
it, and I had a taste. Very nice, refreshing.
- Tom yum: Oh, yes. One of my favorite soups!
- Eggs Benedict: Yes. As I keep saying, I'm not a big pork fan, so
I prefer many of the numerous variants better than the traditional.
Benedict with fresh cold-smoked pacific salmon is my favorite.
- Pocky: Yes. Eh.
- Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant: Nope. Until
very recently, I was a non-meat-eater, and I still can't stand most
Pork or most organ meats. So there's not much point in the great
French restaurants. I have done chefs tasting menu at Nobu, which
deserves to be a three-star.
- Kobe beef: Nope.
- Hare: Nope.
- Goulash: Yes! I really like Hungarian food. Goulash, paprikash,
roast goose with red cabbage, etc. Hungarian food isn't fancy, but
it's really wonderful.
- Flowers: Yes, in many forms. I've had candied flowers, flowers in
salads, flowers in cookies, stuffed zucchini flowers, etc.
- Horse: Nope.
- Criollo chocolate: I'm not sure. I've had a lot of very fine chocolates,
but I'm not sure if any of it was Criollo. Probably not - the makers
generally flaunt it if they use it, so I'd probably know.
- Spam: Nope.
- Soft shell crab: One of my favorite foods in the entire world. There is
absolutely nothing as wonderful as a Maryland Blue softshell.
- Rose harissa: no. I've had harissa, but never rose. It sounds wonderful!
- Catfish: Yes. I love farmed catfish; wild is a bit overwhelming.
- Mole poblano: Yes, yummy.
- Bagel and lox: New York Jew. Of course!
- Lobster Thermidor: no. I'm not a huge lobster fan. It's good, but
not my favorite thing. Every time I've had a chance to order it,
there's been something I'd rather have.
- Polenta: Yes. Ick. I hate polenta.
- Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee: Yes. Overrated. I think that many
of the really top-quality Indonesian coffees are better.
- Snake: Nope.
The Rev also added a few extras.
- Elk: No.
- Ostrich: Yes. Several times. I really don't like it. I keep trying it
cooked different ways, because people who's taste I trust keep
telling me that it's something I should really love. But every time
I've tried it, I've been disappointed.
- Moose: No.
- Whole hog BBQ. I've been to BBQs where they did it, but since I don't
like pork, I didn't have any. (Just the smell of it cooking was
unpleasant to me; there's just something about pork that I can't stand.
It's not a kosher thing, because there's plenty of non-kosher stuff that
I eat all the time.)
- Wine @ >$400/bottle.: Nope. I'd like to, but I can't afford it.
- Home made bacon/sausage: again, no pork.
- Chocolate and chilis: an amazing combination. I found a south american chocolate bar with chilis in it. Strange from an american perspective - they didn't do the kind of very smooth chocolate that we tend to like. This was brittle, with hard crystals of sugar in it, and visible flecks of chili pepper. It was fantastic.
- Chittlins: Nope.
- Moonshine: Nope.
- Quail eggs: Yup.
And I'll add a few of my own that I've tried:
- Monkfish liver: nice, but not exceptional.
- Live scallop: amazing!
- Fried chicken giblets.
- Duck cracklings. Yummy! This is what you get when you take duck skin,
and render it for duck fat. You cook it very slowly to get out the fat
without getting any burned skin flavor in it. When you're done, you've got
these crispy little bits of duck skin fried in duck fat. A sprinkle of
salt, and you've got something amazing.
- Grappa: amazingly wonderful.
I always imagined Google Coders made enough to afford $400 wine bottles once in a while.
We are definitely well-rewarded... But I live in NY, with two kids. My property taxes are more than most people's mortgages! So it comes down to priorities. And I'd rather go to a fantastic restaurant with my wife, and spend $400 on a full dinner, than spend the same on just the wine.
Chitterlings is listed twice, once as "chitlins". I've had alligator but not crocodile. Likewise, I've had rabbit but not hare.
If you've got a little extra space on your balcony or some other similar well lit and sufficiently warm place, it's well worth the small amount of trouble to grow your own tomatoes.
I'm in complete agreement on the foie gras. Astonishingly tasty. My wife and I had a treat in France several years ago made from foie gras and creme brulee. An odd combination, to say the least. Goose liver and thick cream...hmm...blech, is what I remember thinking to myself. But then I found myself scraping the sides of the dish to make sure none of it was wasted. It was that tasty.
Kaolin is a clay mineral, a hydrated aluminium sheet silicate. Aside from pottery, it's used industrially as a thickener and similar, particularly in toothpastes, and also at some points in the eighties and into the nineties in things like thickshakes and some other pseudomilkproducts.
I was in England some years ago and visited a chemist's when I was having some problems with diarrhea. The proprietor gave me a bottle that contained a mixture of kaolin and morphine (!). I figured the kaolin was for the diarrhea, and the morphine was so you didn't care all that much whether the kaolin worked or not.
My addition to the list: salty liquorice. With ammonium chloride for added potency! I've eaten it. It's ... interesting. Not too bad, but not exactly more-ish.
Hungarian food fan, eh? What a wonderful country to visit, just for the food, and the wine.
As for the Baijiu, it could have been - in Taiwan, this is likely - Gaoliangjiu, which is seemingly only made on Jinmen (Kinmen) island. When I lived in Taiwan, I bought a bottle at Christmas in a 7/11 when the party was running dry, and I have never seen people so desperate for alcohol also incredibly desperate to avoid a bottle. And durian... What a delicious fruit. It's actually illegal on public transport in a lot of south east Asia, but that is one taste sensation right there.
This is a good list, IMO. A lot of tasty food. I love haggis, and being English, black pudding is just a delicious breakfast addition, and I'd suggest that if you like eel then snake might be reasonable. Obviously not quite as fishy, but the texture is similar.
Actually, morphine is a very good anti-diarheal. The best current anti-diarrheal on the market is loperamide (I think that's the name), which is an opiate derived from morphine. It's been changed so that you can't get high on it, but it's still pretty close.
You must be doing all your thinking and working while you eat. I don't see how you could have sampled so many different things!
I was actually disappointed at how many things on the list I haven't tried!
I am definitely a food fiend. It's one of the non-work reasons why I love working for google - the food I get to eat in our cafe!
I'm enough into food and cooking that during a rough patch in grad school, I seriously considered dropping out and opening a restaurant. The only reason that I didn't is because my wife and I went to talk to some friends of her family who owned a restaurant in the Philadelphia suburbs, and they basically told us that if we wanted to have kids, we shouldn't open a restaurant. I don't know if I could have managed the business side of running a restaurant, but I'm sure that I could have happily run a kitchen. I really love to cook - even stuff that I don't eat! There's something so satisfying about preparing something that people are going to enjoy eating - especially when it's your own creation.
Heh, the last thing you listed, grappa, reminded me of a story my wife tells: Her mother didn't have wine to hand for a recipe, so thought to substitute grappa. She incinerated the drapes over the kitchen window, and was darned lucky not to burn down the house.
I'm not surprised. Grappa is extremely high alcohol - typically 50 to 55%, compared to 12% or so for wine. It'll flame right up. I don't cook with grappa, but I frequently cook with vodka and tequila, which are in the same range of alcohol content, and it flames up really easily. Recipes that cook with wine don't count on having large quantities of highly flammable liquid! You can throw a cup or two of wine into a pot, and not worry about it at all; but 1/4 cup of grappa, and you've got flame.
On liking grappa, I give a hearty "harumph"!
In days past, I would try to find a vintage port thrown on the year of my birth (1960). It goes without saying that the search gets harder and harder as the years go by...and pricier! So far, I have not had to miss a year. When that happens, I'm pretty sure the Universe will end.
Haggis? Crazy? It's just a sort of loose meatloaf. I'm a vegetarian and my co-workers thought it would be funny to offer me haggis when I went to Aberdeen on a business trip. Well, I had some... then I declared it an honorary vegetable and had it every time I got the chance for the next week and a half. I miss Aberdeen.
Which reminds me. Here is a list of vegetarian "sport cuisine" foods:
Soft tofu (Japanese)
Firm tofu (Chinese)
Wheat gluten (aka seitan)
TVP (soy) granules
Flaxseed as an egg substitute in cooking
Agar (seaweed-based gelatin substitute)
And other vegan meat, dairy, and egg substitute recipes too many to list. I've even made vegan haggis. :D
I don't consider tofu or seitan to be substitutes. In fact, I think that the reason so many people think that they hate tofu
is because they've only had it as a meat substitute.
Chinese chefs use tofu as a real food ingredient in its own right, not as a substitute for something else.
Also, chinese tofu isn't firmer than japanese; both use a full range from ultrasoft (which chinese call dou hua), to fairly firm. But there's no equivalent in either for what americians call firm tofu. That stuff is just gross; tofu is made from soy-milk by adding the same ingredient that makes plaster-of-paris. But it takes so little of it to make the tofu firm up normally that you don't really taste it - the tofu has the gentle almondy flavor of soymilk. But to make it into the really firm stuff that works as a meat substitute, you need to add a *lot* of the firming agent, and then press it to get water out. By the time you're done, it tastes like plaster.
Seitan is even better than tofu. I absolutely *love* seitan. But it's not a meat substitute; it's really something different. I love the stuff.
In the same general family, there's something called rice-cake, which is made from sticky rice flour in roughly the same way that seitan is made from wheat flour. It's absolutely fantastic stuff. Chinese chefs use it sort of like a noodle.
I've had snake - rattler - and it tastes more to chicken than anything. I've had bear with a melted cheese glaze (blech!), wild turkey (way too stringy) and smoke venison keilbasa - now this was amazing. Unfortunately, the person who mde it was in his mid 80s when I found him and passed a couple of years later.
Hey, I'm a tofu pro. I make my own from scratch. I didn't mean everything on the list was a meat substitute. I'd look pretty funny trying to pass off miso and nutritional yeast as meat substitutes. LOL.
I've never had nettle tea, but I LOVE nettles. We pick 'em with heavy gloves, chop them up, and throw them into a stir-fry. The stings wilt harmlessly when the plant is cooked, and the leaves give a delightfully lemony taste to the dish. I also like nopalitos -- sliced cooked cactus leaves -- for their tart taste. Oh, and I've eaten peeled thistle stems, which are crunchy and juicy like very mild celery.
It's funny that I love so much weird food. It's the "normal" stuff that I often dislike. Three things I can't stand are Oreo cookies, soft pretzels (they taste like painfully salted cardboard to me,) and movie-theater popcorn. I do like homemade popcorn very much, but there's something about the flavoring they put on popcorn-machine popcorn that, to me, smells like an outhouse. It utterly turns my stomach.
Your comment on the Hungarian Peach Brandy brought back fond memories of drinking some Bulgarian Apricot Rakia (basically a brandy) -- those are really good drinks... in moderation.
Lapsang Souchong -- no; I think my folks turned me off of ever trying it when they described its flavor thusly: "Take a Mongolian pony, drape it in a heavy wool saddle blanket, then ride the pony for a full day through a forest fire. On the other side, take the blanket, wring it into a cup and drink it. That's what Lapsang Souchong tastes like."
Stuff not on the list:
Bulgarian Sirene cheese -- it's a light sheepsmilk feta. Need to soak out the salt (stored in brine like most) but not as heavy a flavor as goatsmilk feta; tangy and wonderful grated over french fries.
Yak's milk Yogurt -- Oh. My. God. Best yogurt I've ever had in my life. Tried it once on top of a mountain near the Shipka monument in Bulgaria and have yearned for more ever since. Of course, most yogurts I've had pale in comparison to the Bulgarian stuff -- but this is the best of the best.
Silly story -
I lived in Singapore for a while (miltary brat) with my parents and sister. One day, our amah brought home some durians, cut them up and put them in the fridge for us to taste. We'd heard that they were supposed to taste better than they smelled but we were still wary of eating any. When the fridge started to stink, my mother made me eat a piece, which I did literaly with a clothespeg blocking my nose. It tasted worse than it smelled - whether because it had gone rotten in the fridge, or because that's the way it was supposed to taste, I don't know. Anyway, honor having been done, we trashed the rest of the durian while our amah was out visiting relatives. That was 40+ years ago and I've never tried durian since.
Link in URL to my own list.
If nothing else, it proves I'm not as exotic a foodie as I'd like to be. Though I will say -- I've had Durian ice cream. There's a large southeast Asian community in Eastern MA (especially north of Boston in the Merrimack Valley), and there's one company that makes quite a lot of it. I find it unbelievably foul and couldn't finish the sample -- was like bananas mixed with rotten onions.
I would add real Chicago deep dish pizza. The stuff the Uno's chain makes is pretty good, but it's kid stuff compared to the original at Uno and Due, and I make a pretty kickass clone of the stuff. (Now someone from Chicago is going to rip me a new one for not going to Malnati's, or Gino's, or some other less touristy place...)
I'd also consider some historical dishes -- rye and indian bread, cameline sauce, Roman banquet food, and a few other Ren Faire and US colonial specialties come to mind.
Currywurst is nothing but a grilled sausage, chopped up into 1 inch chunks and covered with a curry flavored ketchup. You can easily use a nice kosher beef hot dog for the purpose of trying it.
My list includes a lot of the "yuk" items you declined to try, from haggis to black pudding (so you have all of the ingredients in your average bologna sandwich).
Noting beats a nice slice of fried blood sausage over potatoes and apples on a cold winter day. Add some fried onions while you're at it.
I'm surprised that tempeh hasn't been mentioned. An Indonesian food, soybeans knitted together and semi-digested by a domesticated fungus, it's one of my favorite foods. Tempeh is wonderful in a vegetarian stir-fry!
If the frog's legs were greasy, it's likely that they were just badly cooked. A good Sichuan or Hunan dish with frog can be wonderful, if a little bony.
It sounds like what you had in Taiwan may have been a yellow Chinese wine, which is often served warm - sweet but strong.
and I feel your pain with the scotch-bonnets. I made a batch of lime pickle once from scotch-bonnets. It took two years for the taste to mellow enough to be palatable, but after that it was stunning! During the making of the pickle I also managed to get some in my eye which was truly agonizing.
I don't remember the frog legs being greasy either. It has been years since I had them, but from my recollection it was a "tastes like chicken" thing.
My family ate some really gross things when I was a kid.
For example, cow brains for breakfast was really gross, and watching my grandmother suck on pickled pigs feet was pretty gross too.
However, I wasn't forced to eat most of the gross stuff, and I refused to even try the cow brains and pigs feet. The one exception was liver & onions. When my grandma made it, I had to eat it, and I hated it. The worst part is that I liked the way it smelled, so my smelling it made me hungry. Too bad it tasted like rancid meat, and it took 2 days to get the taste out of your mouth.
BTW, black & white pudding is also pretty gross if you know how its made, but I love the way it taste. It's not an Irish breakfast if you don't have black & white pudding.
I'm curious why you seem so averse to trying Haggis and black pudding. While they may be slightly gross as it comes to the ingredients, the taste is fairly harmless IMHO.
Another fun addiotion to the list would be surstrÃ¶mming, Swedish fermented herring. Smells absolutely awful, but tastes kind of ok. Not recommended to eat inside.
My revulsion at black pudding is eating blood. It comes back to my being jewish - Jew's consider eating blood to be absolutely unacceptable, for anyone. I've got a very deep-seated revulsion to the idea of eating blood.
Haggis - well, like I said in the post, I really don't like most organ meats. My understanding of haggis is that it's basically a sort of sausage made from all of the organ meats that no one wants to eat by themselves, mixed with oatmeal. Combine my basic dislike of organ meats with my revulsion at anything containing blood, and the fact that haggis contains the heart with congealed blood in it, and you've got something that's pretty much guaranteed to disgust me.
Why isn't lutefisk on the list? It is the reason I dread Christmas, even 25+ years later.
I can understand the aversion to both organ meats and blood. I pesonally don't like organ meats at all, but I think Haggis works (as does the Swedish version PÃ¶lsa, even though it is even more unappetizing, see the wiki-article) since the taste is really bland.
As for black pudding, I was happily unaware of the main ingredient until I'd developed a liking for it :)
If you gave paneer an "Eh," and you like indian food, then I'm pretty sure you haven't had really fresh paneer. I did once, and it was incredible. All paneer since then has definitely rated an "Eh," except for the fact that it reminds me of the good stuff. Its not surprising that you haven't had a better experience, since I find most paneer to be a bit stale by the time it gets to me.
Also, since you are a New Yorker, and your taste seems to agree with mine, you might like this little polish restaurant on 1st ave, someplace south of 11th. I forget the name, its something like "polania." They will make pirogies fresh to order stuffed with anything you want. I'd suggest sauerkraut and potato, and then dip them in the sour cream and onions. Delicious. Oh, and avoid the fancier polish place across the street. It's not worth it.
Wine @ >$400/bottle
Isn't there a decelerating rate of return?
Also there is much grosser stuff not on this list like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut