What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
This is a very subjective question. What’s weird to some is normal to others. Some cultures eat animals that we keep as pets as a normal part of their diet, while others view delicious bacon as evil. Some people don’t eat meat, others don’t eat vegetables. It’s all a matter of perspective.
That being said, I’ve eaten most parts of a lot of animals except for the brains. I just don’t feel right about eating brains. I’m not a zombie. I’m not all that fond of tongues, eyeballs, feet or livers either.
Humans don’t just eat food with our mouths. We eat with all five senses and our brain, too. If we don’t like the way something looks, smells or the texture on our tongue, we probably won’t enjoy eating it. When a plate is put in front of us, our brains reckon all the past encounters and associations we’ve had with that particular dish, the way that chicken soup for most people reminds them of being sick. If you can get around the associations and the appearance, then there’s the smell. Subconsciously, smell is the most important factor in whether we’ll find something delicious or not. If you don’t like the smell, you probably won’t like the food.
Some food items, like anise or black licorice, are black and white. There is no middle ground with black licorice. You can’t sort of like it; you either love it or hate it.
Probably the strangest taste to me is the artichoke. Nothing else tastes like an artichoke. It has a flavor unto itself. However, whenever I have it, I can’t help but think that it tastes a little like something else to me, but I cannot put my finger on exactly what it is. Perhaps it’s just human nature to try to compare one food item to another. We like to categorize things into nice, neat packages. “It tastes like chicken.” The fact is, artichoke tastes like artichoke and you either like it or you don’t.
My attitude with food has always been I’ll try anything once as long as it’s not still wriggling. I draw the line at eating living things. I like to keep an open mind on all things, even food. This culinary adventurousness has led me down some very strange paths. If I like it, I’ll even try it more than once.
The exception to that rule might be longpig. I’m not sure that I could eat human. If, for example, my plane crashed in the Andes and it was a choice between eat Bob’s arm or die, I would probably eat Bob’s arm. But, under normal circumstances, I don’t think I could eat human. That’s just one taboo I’m not willing to break unless my life depends on it.
When I eat animal, and I admit that I am an unrepentant carnivore, I try to remember what it is that I’m eating. A lot of people like to dress up their meat in such a way that they can pretend they’re eating a zucchini or some innocuous tuber. A lot of people try to ignore the fact that the food they are eating was once a living animal. I try not to do that. I try to remember that, like all other animals, I’m part of the food chain. Eating meat is how the Homo sapien evolutionary chain has survived as long as it has. The fact that my monkey ancestors had roast beast over a fire pit in a cave has allowed me to be here. Having a nice, fat, juicy steak is no different than a lion taking down a gazelle on the plain. We are lions. I try to acknowledge that animal, and thank it for being part of my personal food chain and allowing my evolutionary link to survive for one more day.