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Food tasting meme

Reading through the backlog of my blog aggregator, I came across a meme that I could not pass by, courtesy of Jason.

The instructions:

  1. Copy the list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
  2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
  3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating (or eating again).

When it comes to food, I am reasonably adventurous in trying almost anything once. However, there are food components and whole groups that I intensely dislike; knowing in advance that the food item contains one of those will keep me from trying it. My commentary to the items on the list reflect that.

  • Venison
  • Nettle tea
  • Huevos rancheros
  • (Sounds like my kind of breakfast, but I am not aware that I ever tried it.)

  • Steak tartare
  • (I like my steaks medium-rare, but on my very first visit to London, ordering just that resulted in a virtually unchewable piece of meat. I am going to cheat a little and count that as a raw steak.)

  • Crocodile
  • (On my only trip to New Orleans, ages ago, I once ordered a huge combination platter that includes various types of fish and meat delicacies. Crocodile was one of them.)

  • Black pudding
  • (Not a big fan.)

  • Cheese fondue
  • Carp
  • Borscht
  • (Ready for it any day of the week.)

  • Baba ghanoush
  • Calamari
  • Pho
  • (Sounds like something that I should certainly enjoy.)

  • PB&J sandwich
  • (Ewh, I despise peanut butter!)

  • Aloo gobi
  • (Tried it without knowing exactly what it was. I strongly dislike cauliflower.)

  • Hot dog from a street cart
  • Epoisses
  • (I don’t recall it specifically, but I always sample so many different cheeses when in France – and never remember the names – that this one must have been sampled as well.)

  • Black truffle
  • (Similarly to the item above; I know I’ve been to a restaurant specializing in truffles in Tuscany, but I do not have a direct recollection of what I ordered there. Still, it must have been truffles.)

  • Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
  • (Oh yeah, a cherry наливка is a joy!)

  • Steamed pork buns
  • Pistachio ice cream
  • (I’m not much for sweets, but I occasionally have ice cream. Not pistachio, though. I’m sure I had a lick or a few on our gelato-tasting jaunts with the kids.)

  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Fresh wild berries
  • (Even gathered wild strawberries myself, as a child.)

  • Foie gras
  • Rice and beans
  • Brawn, or head cheese
  • Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
  • Dulce de leche
  • (Natasha quite likes it; I am not much interested in sweets.)

  • Oysters
  • (Not a fan.)

  • Baklava
  • (Sweets get disqualified. It is likely that I tried the Azeri variant пахлава as a child.)

  • Bagna cauda
  • Wasabi peas
  • (Despite my affection for sushi, I doubt that I have ever seen the actual wasabi peas.)

  • Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
  • (This gets too specific; I have had clam chowder many many times; was it ever in a sourdough bowl – I can’t recall.)

  • Salted lassi
  • (I tried lassi, did not like it, and probably will never try again.)

  • Sauerkraut
  • (Not a fan, but it works with wursts.)

  • Root beer float
  • (Never had an urge to try, and now having learned what it is – never will.)

  • Cognac with a fat cigar
  • (I’m getting a bit too particular here. I drink cognac with friends occasionally. I can’t stand anything that has to do with smoking – especially, when I am enjoying a meal or a drink.)

  • Clotted cream tea
  • Vodka jelly
  • (Disqualified on both counts: I don’t like gelatin and I stopped drinking vodka ages ago.)

  • Gumbo
  • Oxtail
  • Curried goat
  • Whole insects
  • (If I have to draw a line somewhere, this would be it.)

  • Phaal
  • (I can barely handle vindaloo – phaal would be much too hot for me.)

  • Goat’s milk
  • (Goat cheese – yes, but not the milk itself.)

  • Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
  • (Not unless someone offers me to share in their bottle.)

  • Fugu
  • (I did say I was reasonably adventurous, did I?)

  • Chicken tikka masala
  • Eel
  • (Possibly my most favorite fish.)

  • Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
  • (As mentioned before, I do not particularly like sweets. But I’ve had in my life enough of early morning business meetings that left no time for a proper breakfast and provided no other means of sustenance but doughnuts. So, yes, I’ve had a few. And probably will have them again.)

  • Sea urchin
  • Prickly pear
  • Umeboshi
  • Abalone
  • (I would not be able to distinguish them from oysters, if served, so for all I know, I might have tried them.)

  • Paneer
  • McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
  • Spaetzle
  • Dirty gin martini
  • Beer above 8% ABV
  • (Try Bush Noel, for example.)

  • Poutine
  • (I should certainly enjoy that.)

  • Carob chips
  • (A sweet.)

  • S’mores
  • (Ditto!)

  • Sweetbreads
  • Kaolin
  • (I could not find an online reference that would appear to be pointing to a foodstuff.)

  • Currywurst
  • (And almost any other wurst.)

  • Durian
  • Frog’s Legs
  • (See crocodile above.)

  • Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
  • (Churros in Granada – one of our favorite culinary experiences of all times.)

  • Haggis
  • (Tried it, did not like it.)

  • Fried plantain
  • Chitterlings or andouillette
  • Gazpacho
  • (I thought I did not like cold soups until I first tried a gazpacho.)

  • Caviar and blini
  • (Love it! Anyone thought differently?)

  • Louche absinthe
  • (I pretty much do not drink any highly alcoholic beverages.)

  • Gjetost or brunost
  • (One day, when I am in Scandinavia.)

  • Roadkill
  • (Same as whole insects.)

  • Baijiu
  • (Same as absinthe.)

  • Hostess Fruit Pie
  • Snail
  • (Caracoles or escargots… Mmmm….)

  • Lapsang souchong
  • Bellini
  • (My lovely wife gave me a taste once or twice, while enjoying this apéritif; if I have to, I prefer Kir Royale.)

  • Tom yum
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Pocky
  • (A sweet again.)

  • Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
  • (Uhm… One day, I’m sure.)

  • Kobe beef
  • Hare
  • Goulash
  • Flowers
  • (This entry confuses me – surely, there are flowering plants used in a variety of dishes as additives? I certainly never chewed on a flower in its pure form.)

  • Horse
  • (I strangely am not repulsed at the thought, but I am not actively seeking the experience either.)

  • Criollo chocolate
  • (Chocolate gets spared from outright disqualification, even though it is a sweet. Very rarely, I decide to have a small piece for no good reason whatsoever.)

  • Spam
  • Soft shell crab
  • Rose harissa
  • Catfish
  • Mole poblano
  • (Now, this is a sauce; in other words, not something that one would normally just eat on its own. I may have had with Mexican food without knowing it…)

  • Bagel and lox
  • Lobster Thermidor
  • (I am not a fan of lobster meat, so I am pretty sure I’ve never tried it and will never order it myself. Natasha, however, is another matter; there may be a case in the future of me trying what she ordered…)

  • Polenta
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
  • Snake
  • (I’m certainly curious).

Well, that’s it. Out of 100 items, I tried 48 (and will not ever again go back to 4 of those), will likely never try 15, which leaves 37 items that I might try in the future.

I had to look up a large number of items, which was an added educational bonus and the funnest part. You might enjoy it too.


  1. jason

    I find your abhorrence of sweets interesting… I’m surrounded by sweet tooths here in Utah (I suspect it’s because every other conceivable vice is banned or strongly discouraged by the locally dominant faith) and I myself like a lot of sugary things I’d be healthier without (although I have my limits — most of the sticky-gooey-9000-calorie desserts at chain restaurants make me ill). I guess I’m wondering if this is an individual thing with you or if it’s possibly a Russian cultural thing. In my experience, European desserts and treats tend to be much less sweet than American ones, so perhaps Russia is even less so? Any thoughts?

  2. Ilya

    I am definitely not a stereotypical person when it comes to sweets; most of the people in my family – and amongst my Russian friends – have very proper sweet tooths. Me, I somehow never developed one – and don’t feel the need. I can have an occasional treat – be it ice cream, doughnut or a chocolate – but never feel the urge. And, seriously, I have one of the healthiest sets of teeth of anyone that I know 🙂

    There is one single cake, made according to my late grandmother’s recipe, that Natasha diligently learned while she had the opportunity, that I can eat in large quantities. It is moderately sweet. I suppose that it has such strong childhood memories associated with it that my tastebuds do not treat it as a sweet…

    I am not sure I am qualified to answer your question about comparative sweetness of Russian desserts, Jason. I’ll ask Natasha to render her opinion when we get back from Italy.

  3. Jeri

    I saw this a week ago or so and thought it might be fun to do. I don’t drink, which strikes several from the list, it gives me immediate migraines. Otherwise – it looks pretty interesting…

    It’s amazing how limited our American culinary tastes are, even when we think we’re being gourmet and eclectic.

  4. Ilya

    The author of this Omnivore Meme postulated in a follow-up Q&A that he aimed to include varied foodstuffs (and even inserted a non-food item) to illustrate the breadth of worldwide culinary tastes. IMHO, the list was still slanted a bit towards American sweets and Asian delicacies, but it surely made the point.

  5. Ilya

    And to follow up on the unanswered question regarding the comparative sweetness of desserts, our culinary expert posited that American mass-production desserts are too cloying, whereas their Russian counterparts are sweet in a more refined way. When we buy desserts in the States, we stick to European bakeries – mainly Russian or Italian.

  6. jason

    “American mass-production desserts are too cloying”

    That makes sense… even though I freely admit to having a sweet-tooth, I tend to dislike most restaurant desserts because they’re too ooey-gooey for my tastes. I’m probably more like a European in that regard.

    That said, there are times when nothing seems to satisfy so much as a cheap, mass-produced Hostess snack cake (preferably a Ding Dong, but a Suzy Q is sometimes nice as well) purchased from my local Kwik-E-Mart. Hey, I am American, even if I fancy myself a little more worldly than most…

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