Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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.

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.

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.

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.

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'm sorry but not even bacon can make some of those things better. There are so many good foods to eat, why do you have to go and eat something's head or feet? In jello? Ewww.

    I think I'll pass on lunch and just eat some soda crackers and ginger ale.

  2. I'll gladly leave all this shit to Andrew Zimmern.

  3. Notice that the common denominator for most of this..."cuisine"...is that it originates from Scandinavian countries where it is cold and delicious foodstuffs can't be grown or easily harvested. One of many reasons I couldn't live in any of those countries. That doesn't explain the French, though.

    POTD: the early years...before the next "portrait" was seen on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Yikes.

  4. I had haggis once when I was growing up as part of St Andrew's Day festivities. It was tasty until I understood what it was made of. Same with black pudding - we ate it fairly regularly as part of breakfast, proving Mike Myers's theory that most Scottish food is based on a dare.

  5. ...and we as nation were recently freaking out about "pink slime" in our hamburger? Pass me the Big Mac please!

  6. Hey now, don't be hatin' on the Haggis. I LOVE it. LOOOOVE EEEEET and miss it terribly. It's no worse than what goes into your average hot dog, scrapple, or hog maw. I used to buy it frozen in my town and cook it for dinner with tatties and whiskey gravy. Yuuuummmm!

    My dad once had a soup with a little tiny octopus in it when he was touring Italy. He said that part didn't frighten him...what did was that the octopus only had seven legs.

  7. Now, c'mon...there is just not enough SJP to go around to make BOTH Stracotto d'asino AND Paardenrookvlees. More than twice. Her husband, Matthew Broderick, yes, but not her.



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