December Monthly Mouthful

It’s that time again…time to hear what our fellow food bloggers think about various intriguing questions with the Monthly Mouthful!

This month, we asked all our favorites:
What is the most adventurous food you have ever eaten?

From downright nauseating to some of the more unique eats out there, take a look at what they had to say for themselves.


David
from David Lebovitz:

The most adventurous food I ever ate was a big bowl of something red, and organ-y. I was in Madrid, trying to act cool, so I bellied-up to the bar and just nodded in the direction of what all the rough-and-tumble men were eating there. It looked like a nice steaming bowl of something-or-other and figured, “Well, everyone’s eating it. It must be good!”

When the barman brought me my bowl, I looked down and found it was a mess of organs and innards. A big mess of ‘em. Yes, it was steaming, but no…it wasn’t nice. At least not to me. I swirled my fork around, looking for something less-recognizable; I saw something kidney-like and another thing that was perhaps testicular.

But…yuck!….what a mess. And there I was, standing amongst the men, all digging in. So I ate a few bites, pushed everything around a bit more, then picked through and yanked out another piece of something that had only a 80% chance or making me gag, rather than the 100% of the other things I pushed around in the rest of the stew. I didn’t want to be rude and not make a good show of it, but I couldn’t.

I was never sure what it was, but now I ask lots of questions first if I’m not sure. Even if I don’t speak the language, I try to get a pretty good picture of what’s coming my way.

Radish from Sassy Radish:

It’s a tough one – because I rarely think of foods as adventurous, so what might seem like a fun ‘experiment’ for me, won’t register in my brain as ‘adventurous’ per se. I think people who really like to eat to a certain point will not consider much weird food adventurous.

When I was about 13, my mom came home with some leftovers from a Chinese food lunch hosted by her then coworker – who was an exchange student from China. One of the leftovers boxes contained gray snails, still in their shell, covered with a mud-like brown sauce. This was before my gastronomic expansion, so I was a bit hesitant to try the snails. My father flat out refused – and my mother decided it was somewhat gross. So it was up to me – I tried the snails and they were delicious!! The sauce was spicy and rich in flavor and for me it was a love at first bite! It was years later that I found a similar dish at a Chinatown restaurant in NYC.

Jennifer from Last Night’s Dinner:

My most adventurous meal is soon to come – my husband just brought home a pig’s head! We’re not sure yet how we’ll use it, but we’ve made the decision that we want to go beyond just eating sustainably raised meats, and get comfortable with the “less desirable” parts of the animals we eat. One thing’s certain – it’ll be an adventure!

Melissa from Alosha:

I’m very adventurous, and always have been, so there have never been a lot of things I hesitated to try. But I can’t help call to mind the whole shrimp I ate at a local sushi place here in Orange County. The idea of eating a whole shrimp – really, the antennae and the eyes – seemed pretty intimidating to me at that point. But I went for it. And I will admit it tasted crunchy and rich and I enjoyed it. Still, I haven’t eaten one since (they’re not common even in the authentic Asian places here) and I don’t know how I would feel about doing it again. I still get a little uncomfortable thinking about eating the eyes!

Gilli from So So Simple Food:

Winter is the snake season in Hong Kong. On a trip there in 1990, it was suggested by our host that we go on a hunt for the best snake meal. One of the guests who was a regular visitor to Hong Kong said he would take my friend Lana and I to taste this delight. Most people would probably go to street stalls but he took us to the Mandarin Hotel (he paid thank God).

I was a little nervous and I thought it might be served up like eel. But apparently what they all crave is Snake Soup so that was not too challenging. It was nice quite gelatinous and stringy…once again as with alligator, frog’s legs etc it could be compared with chicken and I must say I’m glad I don’t have to do it again.

We were so pleased that we were there in December as from the next season was the Bear Paw season. They make a soup from that. That would be gross.

Maki from Just Hungry:

I’ve eaten a lot of foods that were foreign to me to start with, but in the end I don’t really think I was being adventurous. After all, a food that is weird to me might be a delicacy in another culture.

Once you start labeling foods ‘odd’ or ‘weird’ you establish a barrier between ‘me’ and ‘them’, and I try to avoid that as much as possible. For instance, for my father’s generation (growing up in post-WWII Japan), a banana was really exotic, as was ice cream. He still vividly remembers the first time he had ice cream, in his late teens. Does that make ice cream weird? Not really – it was just new for him.

Cate from Sweetnicks:

OK, this is probably going to be very tame as compared to other food bloggers, but I think my answer is escargot. A year and a half ago, we were on a cruise with friends of ours, and one of the nice perks of dining while on a cruise, is that because it’s inclusive, you can try whatever you want, and if you don’t like it, you can get something else. As soon as I saw Escargots with Herbed Butter on one of the evening’s menus, I knew I wanted to try it, and convinced one of our friends to try it with me. We were hooked after the first bite … smooth, buttery and oh so good. I ended up purchasing the ship’s cookbook, and they include their recipe for the escargots … now to just track down the snail dish they serve it in. It would make a great addition to our New Years’ Eve Seafood Feast.

Tina from The Wandering Eater:

I guess the most adventurous food I’ve ever eaten so far was the periwinkle dish from Tia Pol. It’s basically sea snails cooked in a ginger-scallion sauce with the shells on. It’s a hands-on dish to eat since I had to pick each snail up with my hands, getting my fingers smeared with a gray-green sauce; and have to use a toothpick and dig in for its meat.

My dining companion who accompanied me that day actually remarked that the snail’s “face” looks like the creature from the movie “Aliens,” with the open mouth or jaw of sorts but it doesn’t really have a mouth. Eww… After eating that, I don’t think I would eat snails with him for a while. Adventurous? Not really, but it’s definitely the most strangest occurrence I’ve had with food.

Kris from To be Mrs. Mary:

I’m not really sure that I can name something I’ve eaten that’s the most adventurous because we don’t really look at food that way. Mary and I tend to wander into grocery stores the world over and just try things we’ve never seen before. However, the most adventurous food I’ve ever brought to a potluck would be a durian. It was just beginning to get warmer here and we all went out onto the porch and sorta passed the durian until it was gone. (Well not actually the durian as the spikes on the thing would have made that dangerous to pass around, but spoonfuls of it!)

Adam from Men in Aprons:

There comes a point in everyone’s lives when someone holds out a piece of food that is new, interesting, vile, disgusting, weird, strange, gross, or otherwise off of our normal repertoire of ingested stuff. Not everything is for everyone, and not everyone will consider the same things adventurous. There was a point in time where I would never have even let a piece of raw fish cross my lips, but now Sushi is one of my favorite foods and pasttimes.

There is nothing more satisfying to me than to feel the tender, almost butter-like consistency of raw Ahi tuna. When it is fresh as can be and prepared properly, it will melt in your mouth. For some, that’s gross. For others, it’s normal.

So, onto the subject of the most adventurous thing I’ve ever eaten.
About seven years ago, I was Assistant Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop in Austin. There was another Assistant that was an outdoorsman and survivalist. He was doing research for a book about the psychology of eating things outside of the norm. For instance, he would regularly eat bugs and various things from the trees and ground on our campouts. He also bragged of eating dog meat and other animals. His point was that we have this thing in our mind that won’t let us get past eating animals that we see as cute or domestic.

One a campout, he even brought a live possum and squirrel, killed them, butchered them and put them in a stewpot. Tossed in some carrots, taters, and broth, and we had a tasty meal. The possum was kind of greasy and fatty, though.
But that’s not my most adventurous food.
This Scoutmaster was also a maker of his own jerky. He did beef, venison, turkey, and any other animal he could get his hands on.
One day he brought two bags of jerky to a meeting and I tried some. I’ll give you a hint of what animal it was.
The ancient Egyptians revered and worshipped this animal. Pepe Le Pew. Meow Mix. Garfield. Morris. HEEEEEERRRREEEE KITTY KITTY KITTY!
That’s right. Cat jerky.
I ate it and it wasn’t bad. Kind of stringy, but not tough. He had put a nice marinade of Cholula hot sauce to give the feline a good flavor. Otherwise, I fear it would have been gamey.

Rose from 64 sq. ft. kitchen:

I don’t really consider my self a very adventurous person when it comes to food. What seems adventurous to people can be part of a culture to others. In my case, I do eat Lamb entrails since I am a kid (I like it in a stew), and lamb heart (which is my favorite, I like it grilled), lamb liver (I don’t like it. In fact I don’t eat liver at all. Unless it’s in a pâté), lamb lungs (I don’t like the spongy texture), lamb brain (I like it only if it’s well cooked), lamb head (grilled whole), lamb feet (we grill them and then we dice the meat and serve it with a tomato and red onion salad).

I eat snails. I eat them with a spicy stew and lots of thyme. Delicious! I also eat veal tongue, which is, I must admit, my favorite veal part, and my favorite “adventurous food”. I cook the tongue in a broth and I love to serve it with a tomato and capers sauce or the following day, cold with mustard vinaigrette.

Jaden from Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen:

I’ve got 3 for you:

Shirako Soup at a Japanese sushi bar – its Cod fish sperm sac. Sushi chef say good for kinky kinky in bed. Did it work? No. All hype. Maybe a little barfy barfy in toilet but that’s it.

When we were little, Mom used to tell us to eat the Jelly soup. She called it Chinese Jelly. It took me 15 years to finally figure out what the Jelly was…..something about when the frogs spew eggs – the sac that the eggs all stay in is the “jelly.” Why on earth would my mother feed me such stuff?

The last time I went back to Hong Kong, my dad served an amazing feast to celebrate. Nothing says “Welcome to Hong Kong!” than a bowl of regurgitated bird saliva. Mmmm mmmm good. Now, I just want to know what my ancestors were snorting when they decided to climb up a dangerous mountainous cliff, scale the cave wall, sneak in and steal a bird’s nest, shimmy on down, run home and pick out the unwanted twigs to be left with the prize…..a glob of bird vomit that holds the nest together. Hmmm…lets make SOUP! Lets charge $1000 a pound for bird spit! Lets tell people its supposed to help your skin complexion! I think I’ll stick with my Oil of Olay. Smells better.

Anna from Sunday Night Dinner:

That’s one of the first questions I ask when I meet someone new! It’s a good way to weed out the undesirables – if a person’s most adventurous meal to date is a rare burger, it is likely that we will never be friends. I find it difficult to answer the question myself because I eat… everything. Without pause. One thing that grosses people out a lot is my favorite snack when I was growing up in Moscow - salted pork fat studded with garlic. Pure white, salty, garlicky, and creamy… would have been perfect with a beer, if I drank beer at 6 years old. Not gross? Ok. How about crunching though a cold jellyfish salad? Pig tails, with thick, crisp skin that shatters when bitten? Still no? Well, I guess I am still working on it, keeping my options open, trying to up my adventurous eating IQ.

Margaret:

Dog–Adobe style. Spooned over rice and offered with chili oil.

Lydia from The Perfect Pantry:

No contest! On a visit to Australia twenty years ago, while spending a few days in the outback near Alice Springs, I ate a witchedy grub. Seriously. I put a bug in my mouth and ate it. The grub was three or so inches long. As the aboriginal people we were with explained, grubs retain water, and when you are in a desert climate, you learn to find water wherever it hides. I’ve never eaten a grub since.

Veronica from Veronica’s Test Kitchen:

This question is kind of tough because what might be adventurous in the American Culture is just normal in the Philippine culture that I come from. I have eaten fried pig’s ears, pig’s intestines and pork tongue which is classified not too adventurous back home. But the fertilized duck egg, known as Balut in the Philippines, is one I have dared to eat wholly only once . Other times I would eat the yolk part only and skip the duck embryo part.

There you have it readers! Looks like snails/escargot or grubs were a popular choice. And frankly, if I were to answer this question, I probably would have had the same answer! Be sure to tune in on the first Wednesday of every month for the latest Monthly Mouthful, or now you can see the question and answer featured on the left rail!

Feel free to respond to the question yourself in the comments! And if you were not asked to participate but would like to be, please feel free to e-mail us at chewonthatblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

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  • http://aloshaskitchen.blogspot.com melissa

    I think jaden wins. yikes. O_o

  • http://www.steamykitchen.com steamy kitchen

    haha! Thanks for the aftn laugh!!!

    xoxo,j

  • http://eat-me-drink-me.blogspot.com abulafia

    Testicles. Fried up in a coating of ginger, sugar and chillies, served with with fried spring onions, to get me through service one night when I was down with flu.

    Quite delicious actually. Too iron tasting to eat many of them. But hell. Nose to tail eh?

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com veron

    Yummy…Yummmy. Jaden…shame on for thinking bird’s nest soup is yucky!

  • http://figswithbri.com Bri

    Boy, being vegetarian the majority of my adult life, I’ve missed out on what most people think are adventurous. I did have a couple experiences in Mexico that were quite ballsy at the time. One paid off, the other…did not. When I was in a small town in Oaxaca at 17, the town nurse brought my friend and me little cups of prickly pear (tuna in Spanish) slushies. It was hot and I really didn’t want to offend her, so despite dire warnings about ice and slushie things in Mexico, I ate it. It was so tasty, but better yet, I didn’t get Moctezuma’s Revenge.
    A few years ago when I was in a little town called Tepoztlan, I had quesadillas with my beloved combination of cheese, squash flowers and onions. I went out on a limb and tried huitlacoche (black corn fungus they fry up and put in a tortilla). It didn’t taste very good to me, and I was horribly sick for days, and had last effects for a month. Oh well. You win some you lose some. Here’s to adventurousness in eating!!

  • JEP

    Boy, I just realized what a sheltered life I’ve lived :) This was a great post!!

  • http://mmana.blogspot.com Noir

    Balsamic Modena Vinegar Ice-Cream with Strawberry Sirope and Cactus Ice-Cream!

    And, yes, they deserve the uppercases.

    Gosh, reading the precious replies I realize how adventurous humans can be. This encourages me, I’d really like to have a try to the snakes.

    Looks like “pig”,”entrails” and variations over the theme of “something like” are popular.

    Congrats everybody for being adventurous! ;)

  • http://masterstokeent@bellsouth.net samuel wiley

    IWOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW TO COOK DEEP FRIED PIG TAILS.

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