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…

16 thoughts on “You Are What You Eat

  1. 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. 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.

  3. “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).

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.”

  7. 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.

  8. 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.”

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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. 🙁

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