Oh the Things We Put In Our Mouth!

by DavalosMcCormack on July 15, 2008

The other day I was reading that the hot new treat at the Minnesota State Fair is the “Pig Licker”. It’s deep-fried bacon, covered in chocolate, and dipped in sea salt. It sounds disgusting, but I’m guessing it tastes sinfully delicious. After all it has all the basic food groups; fat, slime, salt and chocolate. Yum. But it also got me to thinking about all the other really disgusting things we eat. And love.

Now I grew up in England where one of the most popular pub snacks was a thing called ‘Pork Scratchings”. They were pig skins, deep fried, dipped in salt. They were hard as a rock but after a pint or two of Old Bodkins Strong Ale they tasted delicious. Horrible of course. Absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. Unbelievably bad for your heart and arteries but who cares eh!

Of course this was the same country that considered Marmite a tasty treat. Now Marmite, if you have never tasted it – and count yourself fortunate if you haven’t – is essentially yeast extract. It is a sticky, dark brown paste with a really pungent, salty taste. Some people love it, think it’s wonderful. But then some people think Paris Hilton can sing. There’s just no accounting for taste.

But the worst thing I ever tasted was jellied eel. Imagine a slithery, slimey fish, covered in goopy, slimier jelly that breaks up into globs of goo when you put it in your mouth. It’s quite appallingly, revoltingly, disgustingly awful. You should try it if you ever get the chance. You’ll appreciate life all the more afterwards!

But the British are not the only ones who are skilled in creating disgusting foods. Here in America there are things that have to be tasted to be believed. I went online and found a few that left me breathless.

One is Meeter’s Kraut Juice. That’s sauerkraut juice. Juice from sauerkraut. Which is fermented cabbage. Just saying it makes my mouth pucker.

Then there’s Armour Pork Brains in Milk Gravy. As if the idea of eating pig brains in cows milk isn’t repulsive enough here’s another appetizing fact; a single serving of this has an astonishing 1,170 percent of the daily recommended intake of cholesterol. Boy, fry that up with some eggs and you’ve got a date with a cardiologist.

You could wash that down with a delicious can of artichoke soda. You read that right. Artichoke soda.

Then there’s the infamous Lutefisk. Here you take a very fine piece of white fish, soak it in water that you change daily for several days, then soak it in lye. This produces a fish with a jelly-like consistency that, because of the lye content, also happens to be too caustic to eat. So you soak it in water for several more days to water down the acidity so you can actually eat the fish. So, to recap. Take a very edible fish. Soak it in stuff that makes it inedible. Then soak it in water to make it barely edible. Eat. Enjoy. Who comes up with this stuff.

Now, one of the peculiar things about food is that what one nation thinks of as a tasty treat, another will react to with disgust. It really can be quite cultural. You may not think the idea of clam jerky very appealing, but in Japan it’s quite acceptable.

Which brings me neatly back to jellied eels. They are very popular in the East End of London where I grew up. There used to be a stall near me that sold them on the weekend evenings. It was sandwiched between a pub and a church. It always struck me as the perfect location for the stall because you’d have to be three sheets to the wind to want to eat jellied eels in the first place, and once you’ve tried them you’ll appreciate the need to have a priest nearby to deliver last rites. Bon appetit.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: