Weird Foods: Mammal
- Monkey Toes (Indonesia): Deep fried monkey toes, eat it off the bone.
- Hot Dog Circles (USA): Cut slices into a hot dog, cook, and you get a hot dog circle. Now make a sandwich with that. Hot Dog Circles.
- Borewors (South Africa): Borewors - sheep,pig,cattle intestines stuffed with meat and offcuts, spiced with herds and cooked on an open flame (barbeque) and served as a meal or snack.
- Pig Blood (Hungary): Pigs blood with eggs. In Hungary, it is a big deal to kill the first pig of the season. So there I was in the morning watching some of my co-working chasing a pig around in the back yard. they caught it, slit it neck, and colleted the blood in a frying pan and then added scrambled eggs.
- Nutria (USA Louisiana): Nutria are large semi-aquatic rodents indigenous to South America... In the 1930's nutria were imported into Louisiana for the fur industry and were released, either intentionally or accidentally into the Louisiana coastal marshes. Nutria have caused extensive damage to Louisiana coastal wetlands due to their feeding activity. Due to this damage, officials in Louisiana are now promoting Nutria as a food source, even posting recipes. From what I've heard, they don't taste good enough to eat. www.nutria.com
- Biltong (South Africa): Animals ranging from cattle to wild animal - springbok, eland or even elephant, get cut up into strips and hung out to dry. Once it is dry it is ready for consumption. National snack for all rugby supporters.
- Squirrel Brain (US South): Yes, the brain of the small tree climbing rodent. You cook the head with the rest of the body (after cleaning of course), then, using your fingers and a fork, you crack the skull open and dig the brain out. Tastes kind of like mushrooms to me.
- Salo (Ukraine): Salo is pig fat stored in vats and eaten cold, either raw, smoked, fried or boiled. I guess you could compare it to fatback. It's a delicacy over there. Making fun of the invasion of Snickers bars since the fall of the USSR, the Ukrainians jokingly call chocolate-covered salo "Ukrainian Snickers." Worse yet, some enterprising (?) Ukrainian somewhere decided to actually market the stuff! I have not eaten it in its intended form, but used it to grease my iron skillets, for which it is very effective. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3825221.stm
- Scrapple (USA): Good Lord! Has no one written about the joys of Scrapple? My mom used to say that it was made of all the leftover parts (scraps) of the pig except the oink. It's sort of a gelatinous mass made up of the aforementioned strange pig parts (lips, snout, organs, etc.) plus a bit of cornmeal and ???. This grayish mash is apparently cooked for a while before being poured into brick-sized molds to solidify! Sliced and fried, it's part of a healthy Pennsylvania breakfast. My wife and I have a theory that the only way you can eat SCRAPPLE is to have done so as an unsuspecting child so that you acquire a taste for it before you truly understand it's components. Otherwise you'd just throw up.
- P'tcha (East Europe): It's a classic Eastern European Jewish dish that's made from calves' feet and ends up looking like translucent Jello, with a garlicky flavor. It wobbles like crazy, which scares me to no end.
- Beuschl (Austria): Pig liver, kidney, and heart cut in small pieces and cooked together with some spices.
- Rat (Thailand): Rat (Northern Thailand, Karen Hill Tribe) When I visited a Karen Hill Tribe village in northern Thailand (near the Mayanmar border) I was invited to try my host's breakfast with them. This consisted of what was described to me as 'small animal' which when I saw it was clearly a rat, cooked whole over an open fire, then served in a bowl of extremely hot chili stock with a bowl of glutinous sticky rice. The whole family shares this one dish. The Karen people do keep domestic farm animals like pigs, chickens and buffalo, but these are only slaughtered for food on very special occasions. Everyday food is sourced from hunting in the jungle, so consists of whatever small animals end up on the wrong end of a sling shot (and these guys are good with a sling shot!). Rat was quite a tasty way to start the day, the meat tastes a bit like rabbit (and those chilies are HOT!), but needless to say I didn't eat too much...
- Calf's Head (France): Tete de veau (Calf's Head). A delicacy in France. A British relative living in France raved about it so I ordered it in a restaurant. I was green until the waiter took it away. Basically, the fleshy bits of a calf's head, cooked for a long time and cut into squares, each consisting of a few strings of slimy meat and a 1cm thick layer of fat/gelatinous glop. The brain is served in the corner of the plate.
- Scrapple (USA): Variations on this include hog's head cheese and souse meat. Scrapple originated among the Pennsylvania Dutch and basically involves boiling a pig's head and grinding that meat up with some organ meat, mixing it with corn meal, and adding some spices. This mixture is formed into loaves and chilled. It's sliced and fried and eaten for breakfast in the mid-Atlanta areas. The best scrapple is Rapa Scrapple, made in Bridgeville, Delaware. I love the stuff, but lots of people read the ingredients or look at the gray loaf and excuse themselves. The people who aren't from DE/MD/PA who I can get to try it usually end up liking it, however.
- Jellied Cow's Foot (Poland): (Called "nozki" in Polish). Buy a cow's foot in a butcher shop, chop it up and cook for hours & hours in water with spices, garlic, salt, pepper, etc. It is a good idea to evacuate the house during cooking time to avoid the overwhelming smell. Then pour this mess into a large flat pan and refrigerate. It sets to a nice translucent grey jelly with a layer of fat on top. Cut into large cubes and serve with lots of horseradish to kill the taste.
- Beef Tatar (Austria): Raw hamburger with raw chopped onion, salt and pepper
- Pig Head (Hungary): Ok one more story from Hungary. This is called cold soup. Here I was out in the countryside, with my girlfriend and we were going to visit her aunts who had never seen someone from the states. As I walked in to the house there was a pig head with a rod driven though its head. The head was dripping a jelly-like stuff in to a pan on the floor and there were bits of something in the pan, also about 12 cats were also there. So the girlfriend asked me do I want so cold soup, my answer was no thanks, she then scooped out a big helping and started to eat it I was all most sick and as she had a big smile on her face a gloss on her lips she wanted to kiss, I didn't for at least a week. (flashbacks still haunt me)
- Pork Brains (US South): It's exactly what it sounds like and is extremely common (but very seldom spoke of) in the south. For some reason pork brains are canned in milk gravy and sold in many grocery stores around the south. Unlike many "specialty foods", you are more likely to find pork brains in a small-town grocery store. It can usually be found in the same vicinity of potted meat product or other canned meat/meat parts. On the front of the can pork brains are being served atop scrambled eggs... and that's just how I had them (ahh... the power of advertising). When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was forced fed a heaping spoonful of this grey matter w/scrambled eggs by my "best friend". It looked like fried cat food and tasted even worse. I guess it's an "acquired" taste.
- Sheep Head (Norway): Smalahove is the head of a sheep that is smoked for a couple of days and is served half. You eat all of it, incl. the sheep's eyes and tongue. Smalahoved
- Pig Blood (Trinidad): Blood pudding: Pig blood + breadcrumbs + rice. When my grandfather slaughtered a pig, all the men would have to take a swig of blood
- Pig Blood with Scrambled Eggs (Hungary): In Hungary, it is a big deal to kill the first pig of the season. So there I was in the morning watching some of my co-working chasing a pig around in the back yard, they caught it. Then slit it's neck and colleted the blood in a frying pan and then beat some eggs and cooked it, It had a brain like look.
- Cat (Hong Kong): Cat meat with steam bread (siopao)
- Horse (Japan): Horse sashimi is a fairly common item on menus in Kyushu.
- Blood Dumplings (Sweden): Made of flour, reindeer blood and salt, served with bacon, butter and lingonberry jam. Cooked or fried. yummy!
- Myseost (Norway): Myseost isn't made from mouse milk. It's goat cheese and it smells horrible. Only Norwegians eat it.
- Blubber (Arctic): Raw fat from sea mammals
- Blood Sausage (Europe): Called Boudin in France, Blutwurst in Germany, and Blood Pudding in the UK. Also called black pudding, made of blood, fat & offal, tastes marvellous cut up and fried. Try blood pudding/sausage/polser in with some baked beans. Skin the sausage first. The sausage should gradually dissolve as the fat melts leaving you with a dark brown crusty glop, with lumps in it. It tastes great on buttered toast. I usually add a drop of milk, and a little cheese at the end of cooking (15 mins or so.):
- Jelled Blood (China): Duck or pig blood; looks like Jell-O, but opaque and salty.
- Blood (Masai in Africa): The Masai subsist largely on milk and the fresh blood drawn from the neck veins of livestock.
- Chicken-Fried Steak (USA South): Steak covered with a flour batter and fried, like chicken. This region is famous for frying everything. Journalist Bill Moyers, in his TV series "Healing and the Mind, " interviewed a heart patient in Dr. Dean Ornish's radically low-fat diet program, who said he was in complete denial for years after his first heart attack. "I refused to even look at my cardiogram." "What is your profession?" "I'm a cardiologist, but I'm a good ol' Southern boy first! Grits 'n' gravy, chicken-fried steak..."
- Bats (Indonesia): In the covered market in Jogjakarta they sell them, smoked. They're only about three inches long, like skeletal brown mice. I ate one, because I'm constitutionally unable to pass up things like that, but for the next six months I woke up checking for symptoms of something unimaginable. Never happened. Tasted like beef jerky.
- Brawn (England): See Head Cheese
- Brains (France): When I was a kid, the med student couple upstairs used to make brains. First year, took it to the department picnic, everyone ate it, asked what it was, they didn't say. Second year, ditto. Third year they figured what the heck, told folks they'd been eating sauteed brains in bread crumbs for two years already. No one ate a bite.
- Dogs (Philippines): Dogs are not the pampered pets found in Western homes, except for Chinese Filipinos, who love their cute doggies. Dogs in cities, towns and villages are effectively camp-followers - scavengers who eats scraps around the floors and garbage-cans. Philippine dogs are a sorry sight, often skinny and nervous, shedding parts of their coats, with sores, scabs and sunburn. 'Owners' can't afford medical care for them, so they have worms and all sorts of defects, some are deformed by beatings. The dogs breed and scavenge uncontrolled, neglected and are hardly more than accidental guard dogs. But some of them serve a higher purpose - being bred for the table. Dog-eating is common in many homes in the Philippines. In Batangas, I once ate a Philippine stew dish, Caldereta, which usually contained kambing [goat meat]. It was delicious. However, one time I ate it, I was told this one was made from a dog. That was after I ate it. It tasted okay, like kambing really. Not totally believing it was a dog, I was convinced when driving through a back-street and saw a dead animal strung up by the neck, having the hide pulled off it, from head to tail. I thought it a kambing, but the head was still with its hide and it was definitely a white/black dog.
- Criadillas (Spain, Canada): Bull testicles. Also called Prairie Oysters in Canada (Alberta). It is called "criadillas" in Spain but has different names in other Latin countries. The criadillas are the testicles of the pig. They are sliced first and then cooked with garlic and parsley, better if they are barbecued. If you donīt know what you are eating, the taste is intense but in a nice and pleasant way.
- Cibreo (Italy): Cock's combs (the wattly stuff on a rooster's head): A classic Tuscan dish.
- Diniguan (Philippines): Blood stew. There is a "Chocolate Pork" recipe, otherwise known as Dinuguan. The "Chocolate Pork" name cracks me up, b/c it's a nice way to get Filipino-American kids and non-Filipinos to eat what is basically a blood stew made with pork stuff (in other words, pork head, liver, heart, blood.) You can find a recipe in "Galing Galing: Philippine Cuisine" by Nora Daza.
- Cheese (Western Civ: An ancient invention, but weird for many other cultures, especially Asians. Blue cheese is basically bacteria-infected mammal secretions. Japanese friends would cringe away from the table if I brought out cheese. Some comedian did a routine about cheese... "Cheese is made out of the milk of mammals, right? Goat cheese, sheep's milk cheese. How about dog cheese? Human cheese?" Gack!
- Bull Penis (Asia): A couple of years ago, I was browsing the meat section of an Asian market. I found a cylindrical piece of meat, about 1-1/2 feet long and 4 inches in diameter, with an uneven surface, severed at only one end, folded in half and frozen solid. The package was marked "Beef Pizzler." I thought, "Naw... it can't be!" But I always wondered...
- Breast Milk (China: A restaurant in the provincial capital Changsha of southern Hunan province, offers dishes cooked with human breast milk. The chef says "When the customers are having the human milk banquet, they can experience maternal love at the same time."
- American Cheese (USA Midwest): Often labeled FOOD PRODUCT as if that were going to reassure you. Processed cheese, or "cheese food", is stuff which disappears if grilled. The really weird version is Cheez-Whiz, the cheese in a spray can. When I lived in Europe, I would show this to friends. They never ate it.
- Bierkase (Germany: Strong-smelling cheese made with beer yeast.
- Yogurt (central Asia, Berkeley: Famous quote: "Anyone who doubts the power of advertising should remember that 23 million Americans are convinced that yogurt tastes good." How can you tell if it spoils?
- Stewed Dormice (Slovenia): A Slovenian cookbook had a recipe for a nice little stew of mice raised and fattened just for cooking.
- Goat's Head (Africa): Customs inspectors have lots of amazing stories, since visitors often attempt to hide contraband foodstuffs in their luggage. At San Francisco International Airport, a businessman's valise was found to contain a partially decomposed goat's head, crawling with maggots. He was quite indignant when it was confiscated--that was his lunch!
- Spam (USA: Recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. "SPiced hAM" tinned meat from the Hormel company was named in a contest in 1924. The handy meat-in-tins became an item of trade prized around the world, while boring and ultimately disgusting US soldiers in WWII. Spam is Hawaii's state food (more Spam eaten here per capita than anywhere else in the country.) Spam Musubi is a favorite finger food here. You slice up Spam, stir fry it in teriyaki sauce (or marinate it,) stick it on a block of squished rice and wrap a piece of nori around it, like a giant sushi. At a Spam cookoff, people made Spampenadas, pretty much regular old meat empanadas, with Spam, of course. One woman made Spampi and cut the Spam slices into little shrimp shapes before making her standard recipe. There were a lot of interesting things like Spam chip cookies and Tequila Spamrises (served by the Spamdinistas, of course.) One fellow fed Spam to his Venus fly trap and it died :- (
- Camel's Feet (France: It's not really fair to include this as French, but my favorite recipe from the Larousse Gastronomique is Pieds de chameau a la vinaigrette (camel's feet.) It begins "Soak the feet of a young camel... " You'll find it just before the recipe for camel's hump.
- Camel Tendons
(China: These are much better than cow tendons, I was assured by a chauvinistic northern Chinese friend.
- Tacos sesos (Mexico: Tacos made with cow brains. A friend of mine told me the local Mexicans in central California would slaughter his cows at no charge if they were allowed to keep the heads.
- Haggis (Scotland): Sheep's stomach, stuffed with oatmeal and steamed. A more accurate definition would be: "a highly spiced sausage made from offal meats with oatmeal filler, traditionally in a casing made from a sheep's stomach." Haggis is accompanied by chappit neeps and tatties (mashed turnip (swede, rutabaga..) and potatoes).
You can make your own. Just soak a shaved sheep in Guiness, roll in a mixture of oatmeal and onion. Perform a simple spatial inversion transformation with the origin in the sheep's major stomach and then gently cook until done, discard hairy parts, hoofy parts, bony parts and voila! Haggis a la americaine. Best done under the guise of a spatial relations mathematician.
Scots Suprise: 1. Get a haggis (7-11 stores all stock them in the frozen food case). 2. Hold haggis in left hand. 3. Hold bottle of Glenfiddich single malt whiskey in right hand. 4. With left hand throw haggis over right shoulder. 5. With right hand pour large portions of whiskey into everyone's glass
- Dog (Southeast Asia): Well, not a recipe, but a story: I was once at a party where I heard a visiting Korean scholar say that at his university when dogs were used in psych experiments (no drugs involved) the dog would be eaten at the conclusion of the experiment by all involved. Apparently the dog, having been taught behaviors which rendered it useless for other experiments, was considered a perk of sorts.
- Seal Flipper Pie (Canada): Newfoundland Cuisine Catching On: ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. (CP) Move over brie and quiche. Bring on the bang belly and damper dogs. And leave room for seal flipper pie. Newfoundland cuisine has come into its own. Once restricted to the kitchens of the island's outport folk, food like brewis and figged duff is finding its way to Toronto or any big centre in Canada where transplanted Newfoundlanders are found. The only thing that might be tricky to obtain nowadays is seal flipper pie. With the collapse of the seal hunt due to lobbying by environmentalists, there are fewer flippers to be had, but independent sealers still steam into St. John's Harbor every spring and sell flippers off the wharf. In April, community clubs all over the city hold flipper pie dinners. The flippers are tender and tasty but it's said few mainlanders acquire a taste for them.
Seal Flipper Pie 4 Seal flippers. 1/2 Cup diced pork fat. 1 tsp flour. cold water. 2 onions, chopped. 1 tsp soda. 1 tsp salt. 1 tsp worcester sauce. Soak flippers in water and soda for 1/2 an hour. Trim excess fat. Dip the flippers in seasoned flour and pan fry in the pork fat until browned. Add the chopped onion. Make a gravy of flour, 1 cup water, and Worcester sauce. Pour over the flippers. Cover and Bake in a moderate oven (350f) until tender.. which should be two to three hours. Cover with pastry and bake at 400f for 1/2 an hour. From: Rachel M. Brodie.
- Placenta (Feminists): And last, because it should be last...The Winning Entry of All Time for Most Weird Food, Marijn van der Waa sent in recipes for human placenta. Who eats this? Radical feminists. But of course, who else? http://www.mothers35plus.co.uk/plac_rec.htm