Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nasty European Culinary Delicacies Of The Day

Not that we don't have our own nasty stuff here in the States (chitlins, anyone?) From AOL (list and copy) and Woodwoman. Not for weak stomachs.

Hákarl (Iceland)

Fermented, dried Greenland or basking shark. This tasty treat is prepared by burying the beheaded and gutted shark in a shallow hole in the ground for six to 12 weeks. Unsurprisingly, the end result is considered noxious to pretty much everyone on the planet aside from Icelanders.

Casu marzu (Sardinia)

This sheep's milk cheese has maggots added to it during ripening, because their digestive action creates an "advanced level" of fermentation (also known as "decomposition"). Some people prefer to eat the soupy results sans critters, while the stout of heart go for the whole package.

Lappkok (Northern Sweden/Finland

This charmingly-named concoction consists of blodpalt--a dumpling made with reindeer blood and wheat or rye flour--served with reindeer bone marrow. Well, Santa's herd had to retire sometime.

Lutefisk (Sweden)

This dried whitefish treated with lye is beloved by Scandinavians and their American Midwestern ancestors (let's just say it's an acquired taste). It's traditionally served with potatoes or other root vegetables, gravy or white sauce, and akvavit.

Tête de veau (France)

You have to love that the venerable French culinary bible, Larousse Gastronomique, describes this dish of boiled calf's head as, "a gelatinous variety of white offal." Mmm. While there are many different preparations for the classical dish, it was traditionally served with cocks' combs and kidneys, calves sweetbreads, and mushrooms.

Haggis (Scotland)

Who doesn't love a cooked sheep's stomach stuffed with its lungs, heart, and liver, combined with oatmeal?

Nozki (Poland)

Literally "cold feet," this dish of jellied pig's trotters isn't as repulsive as it sounds. The meat is simmered with herbs and spices until falling off the bone, and set in gelatin. Think of how much fun this would be as a Jello shot.

Salo (Ukraine)

The cured fatback of pork is actually quite delicious, and similar to Italian lardo when seasoned. It's chopped and used as a condiment, or eaten straight-up on bread. Plan your angioplasty accordingly.

Black (blood) pudding (UK)

Technically a sausage, this mixture of animal blood (usually pork), spices, fat, and oatmeal or other grains is surprisingly good. It's served uncooked, fried, grilled, or boiled. Sound bad? At least it's not called Spotted Dick.

Stracotto d'asino (Italy)

A northern Italian donkey stew, often served as a pasta sauce. Donkey and horse are eaten throughout Italy, but this particular dish is a specialty of Veneto, and Mantua, in Lombardy.

P'tcha (Eastern Europe)

A calves' foot jelly enjoyed by Ashkenazi Jews throughout this part of Europe. It's uh, high in protein.

Zungenwurst (Germany)

This sausage is made of pork blood and rind; pickled ox tongue, and a grain filler, such as barley. It's available dried, or can be browned in butter or bacon fat before eating. And bacon makes everything better.

Paardenrookvlees (Netherlands)

Culinarily-speaking, the Dutch usually cop grief for their proclivity for pickled herring and eating mayonnaise on their french fries. That's because most Americans don't know this smoked horse meat is a popular sandwich filling.

Kokoretsi (Greece)

Lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal (lungs, hearts, sweetbreads, kidneys), threaded onto a skewer, and cooked on a spit. You know what's good with grilled meat? Meat.

Smalahove (Norway)

Boiled lamb's head, traditionally served at Christmas. The brain is removed, and the head salted and dried before boiling. Because they're the fattiest bits, the ear and eye are eaten first. More fun than a wishbone.


  1. I guess "only in America" do we admit to eating testicles....

    EPOTD - we call that "crop dusting" Walk down an aisle in the store, usually Wal-Mart and leave a green fog behind you.

  2. Between this post and your Motivational Poster of the day, I think I'm done with food for awhile. A long while.

    Thank you for making my diet easier.

  3. Yeah, what Sheila said!

    "Offal" is right!!! Gerk...

  4. Sheila w. echoed my thoughts exactly. Anything made with blood, intestines, brains, feet or that requires putrefication (sp?), lye or maggots in order to turn it into food is just plain messed up.

    I saw that rotting Icelandic shark featured on Bizarre Foods (which I seldom watch, as it also makes me nauseous). I was very glad there is no "smell" feature associated with cable TV; the visuals and additional mental imagery were bad enough.

  5. I threw up in my mouth a little bit. Thanks Cary. ;)

  6. Maggots??!! *shudder*

    "Offal"--isn't that supposed to be spelled a-w-f-u-l?

    Oh my, this is so nasty! I'm not a vegetarian, but after this post, perhaps I should consider becoming one. Lovely description of what the boiled calf's head is served with. I'll take the mushrooms, please. You can keep the rest!

  7. Haggis is not that bad, if you don't eat it directly from the belly. I haven't tried the black sausage only because I had already tried moronga which is the same and tasted like oxydized crap. You should see people fighting at a taco cart to get the last brain, eye or tongue tacos. Those are the first to go!
    Oh, and bull testicles are also quite popular, along with pig intestines.

  8. I would at least try most of this stuff. When we moved from SoCal to Montana, we found a local church holds a Lutefisk dinner each year. The first year we were here, we went. The lutefisk didn't taste bad, but we couldn't get past the texture. It was like eating fish that had been turned to jello. We haven't been back.

  9. I adore haggis and miss it terribly. I used to get a serving of McSween's from my cheese shop and serve it up once or twice a month. DeeeLICious. It's not too much different from Goetta, for the Cincy folk among us, or Scrapple (which is what I grew up with).

    Blood pudding...BLERK. Whenever we'd stay at a B&B and order the full English breakfast, I'd see it sitting there on my plate like a 3-day old blood clot and shiver. Gak.

    Still, I don't know why Americans shudder at the thought of eating insects (which a lot of other countries do) but have no trouble eating crabs...which are basically the same thing and live off the crap at the bottom of shallow water. Mmmm...

  10. I can remember me and my daughter being really upset as we would stand at the deli counter in the grocery store in Belgium and watch Daddy order his sliced horsemeat for sandwiches **urp**

    I did finally try haggis this year at a Robbie Burns night and it was reeeeeally good! I can't do the blood pudding either and would always leave it on my "full english" plate too, LOL.

    The friggin' maggot cheese has left me with a very nauseous feeling, blech. Thanks Cary. :/

  11. I thought I liked exotic foods... but this stuff? No thanks!

    I once bought a Betty Crocker cookbook at an auction. It had hand-written notes on all of the recipes containing organ meats. *yuck*

  12. You all should see the pics I didn't use. Like this one for smalahove.

  13. Oh my word! That's wretched.

  14. I used to live in Paris, and when I first moved there I did not know the language. I learned the hard way never to order anything with 'TETE' in the ingrediants. (Did I spell that wrong? Is it E not A?)

  15. Lutefisk - tasted like eating a bar of soap to me. Had a bad lutefisk flashback when I watched that episode of "King of the Hill".

    Haggis - had a buddy who tried to gross me out by inviting me over for dinner the night he had this. Loved when he found out Germans have a similar dish, "Pig stomach".

    Nozki - Basically pickled pigs feet. Not really my thing, but just tastes like pork chops smothered in jello. Pig jello.

    Black (blood) pudding - my grandma insisted on serving this every time we had a holiday breakfast at her house. It was like trying to eat a bloody nose.

  16. Food and I had a "come to Jesus" meeting a while back and we didn't discuss ANY of this shit. Of course, it's not like I've ever been tempted to eat lips, toes, or assholes, so it didn't come up.

    Why would you eat stuff like this when there's all kinds of chocolate, cheese, bread, and hooch to consume?

  17. Dad may make lutefisk every Christmas, but we've never once boiled a lamb's head. Not even after all the shots of Aquavit.

  18. Is the picture for Casu marzu accidentally a picture of natto, or does the cheese look like that too?

  19. I'll have to go out and buy a cat, so that I'll have something to wash if Cam should ever invite me over for dinner.



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