A Brief History
On October 3, 1964, the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York first served Buffalo Wings. Most people, like many of us here at History and Headlines, celebrate this day as one of the greatest days in Food History, and some of us even made a pilgrimage to the Anchor Bar to eat the original hot wings. Of course, there are also people who refuse to believe that others eat Buffalo Wings, especially the extra extra hot ones.
Just as with art, one person’s likes and preferences are not necessarily shared by the next person. Back on July 5, 2014, our article “10 Things You Cannot Believe Other People Eat” generated some angry responses. Please keep in mind that we are not saying we hate the foods listed; just that the listed foods are considered gross by some people.
9. Coffee Beans from Poop.
Incredibly, coffee beans that have been eaten and passed through the digestive tract of a civet or a goat and then defecated out are gathered up, washed off, ground and sold as some sort of premium, out-of-this-world coffee. As if Starbucks were not expensive enough, this “Kopi Luwak” as it is called in Indonesia, costs as much as $700 per kilogram (kilo), making it the most expensive coffee in the world. Normal prices are more in the $100 per kilo range, and in the Philippines the price may be as low as $20 per kilo. Not content to simply follow wild civets around, Indonesian coffee farmers keep civets in cages and force feed them the beans. In case you were wondering, no, the author does not drink this stuff.
It is hard to for the author to believe that anybody would refuse to eat onions, but those folks exist. It is understandable if you are trying to avoid bad breath for special occasions, but otherwise you are missing out on one of life’s main flavor enhancers. (Honorable mention to Garlic.)
This Scottish delicacy is comprised of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs that have been ground up and then spices, oatmeal, onions and perhaps some mystery items are added to the mixture. It is served in the sheep’s stomach, which may in itself turn some people off. Whatever Scot dreamed this one up must have had a little too much of their famous whisky. This is considered the national dish of Scotland, but might have the effect of keeping some tourists away.
6. Steak Tartare.
This dish is raw beef that has been minced and mixed with onions, capers and spices. S ometimes Worcestershire sauce and raw egg yolk are added to it. Many people refuse to eat it because of the raw ingredients. Properly handled though, the dish should be safe, but careless handling of the meat and eggs could indeed put the eater at risk for parasites or gastric distress (from e. coli or salmonella and the like). For reassurance, the preparation can be fried.
5. Czernina (Duck Blood Soup).
Many nationalities have their own varieties of blood soups, and this one is Polish. There are many variants of it, but the standard recipe commonly includes: poultry broth; sugar; vinegar; plums; cherries; dumplings and or noodles; and of course, the blood of ducks, pigs, chickens or rabbits. The author gagged on it as a child, and tried it a couple times as an adult just to see if his tastes had changed. They had not. Most people who will not eat it will not try it because of the main ingredient. Perhaps the vast following of True Blood and Twilight will find this soup tasty!
Usually when brains are mentioned as food, cattle brains are what is being referred to, but some people will eat the brains of just about any critter. Unfortunately, this is how you can contract Mad Cow Disease, a horrible nightmare of a fatal illness. People in Appalachia who were accustomed to eating squirrel brains have died of a similar brain-debilitating disease. It is common practice in many cultures to eat the brains of various animals, and in New Guinea it used to be tradition to eat the brains of deceased loved ones, which is also a health risk. Eating the brains of game animals is also not recommended.
3. Rocky Mountain Oysters.
On our other list, we mentioned real oysters, but this time we are referring to the testicles of young bulls! Sometimes, the testes of pigs or sheep are used instead (as if this makes it any better). These gonads are often, but not always, first pounded flat and then are usually seasoned and fried and served with a dipping sauce. Do not ask what the dipping sauce is! Other euphemisms for this “treat” include Cowboy Caviar, Tendergroins and Dusted Nuts.
This entry is fermented fish from Sweden that takes 6 months to get sufficiently repulsive to eat. Said to have an overpowering odor when the package is opened (friends, that is a “clue”), it also has a strong “acidulous” taste. A Japanese study found that it has one of the “most putrid food smells in the world.” The amazing thing is that this horrible crud is made this way on purpose! No, the author would not eat it no matter how large the bet. A Swedish tradition since the 1500s, the annual production is not allowed to be sold until the 3rd Thursday in August. By the way, this is strictly an outdoor food as the smell is a bit too much for the indoors (understatement!). As if Swedish cars are not quirky enough, the Swedes also have a museum dedicated to this stinky food.
1. Jalpeño Poppers.
Filled with cream cheese or cheddar cheese, breaded and fried, these hot pepper treats are delicious. Unless you do not like them of course. Many people have grimaced as they watched the author pop these little morsels into his mouth. Hot peppers just are not every person’s thing.
Question for students (and subscribers): What are some of your unusual likes or dislikes? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Zimmern, Andrew. Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater’s Digest. Feiwel & Friends, 2012.