What's The Strangest Thing You've Eaten?

When taking our honeymoon in Scotland, my wife and I had avoided the national dish to take advantage of more local fare (and kind of because of the ick factor – organ meats and all…). After a week of traveling through the country we stopped at a small pub in Fort William on our way to Inverness. We decided that this was our opportunity to give it a shot. I took the first bite and promptly pulled the plate out of my wife’s reach. It was delicious. I did end up sharing with her and we wished we had ordered a larger portion. I still have regrets to this day that I did not actively seek out haggis when given the chance in our prior week. During our final week I had a couple upscale haggis dishes where it was stuffed in a chicken breast and topped with a whisky cream sauce.  Fortunately, I can get some local made haggis here near Seattle and though it is good, it still can’t compare to the product produced in Scotland.

Webb Girard, Culinologist

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Webb Girard

I must admit, some of the strangest things I eaten haven’t been in faraway lands or exotic restaurants, they’ve been at some of the food industry trade shows! I’ve tried some strange beverages, most recently at the Winter Fancy Food Show, a rice koji beverage with small chunks of fermented rice suspended in a creamy rice milk-like base, flavored with ginger. The texture was a bit strange! Another weird beverage was camel milk kefir at Expo West. It was creamy, and a little gamey, but not bad! I’d like to think I’m a pretty adventurous eater, and will try anything twice: fool me once, shame on the cook. Fool me twice, I just don’t like it!

Emily Munday, Culinologist/Nutritionist

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Emily Munday

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Emily Munday

Cow uterus.

Anne-marie Ramo, Culinologist

Live Snake or Duck Tongue or Cockroach Chili Paste or Grub Omelette. The family was on vacation in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We were in a night market with Thai friends and happened upon an omelet vendor. I asked our friends what they were making and they said omelets with grubs. Grub is a nice word for maggot. I'm not sure why I thought I needed to try it. My inner Andrew Zimmern got loose. I regretted the whole thing even before the first bite made it to my mouth. I could see the little white larva sticking out of the egg. I tried not to look too closely or think about it too much. I just swallowed that first bite. No way was I going to chew. I threw the rest away while no one was looking.

-  Mark Crowell, Principal Culinologist

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Mark Crowell

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Mark Crowell

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Mark Crowell

My family gives me surprise cooking challenges from time to time and one night it was a beef heart. I cooked it two ways, braised and sliced thin and seared, but slicing it was the most challenging! It was like being in high school biology class doing a dissection identifying the arteries, valves and atriums, but so much more tasty! We all preferred the seared preparation much more than the braised, it had a much better texture. Overall, the simpler the better.

Lesley Werblin, Culinologist

I've eaten a lot of unusual things in my short life time, especially during my travels in Southeast Asia. My list only starts with cow brain, pig blood cubes, snails, and continues to stinky beans, which I am going to classify as the most unusual thing I've eaten. Stinky bean, also known as patai, are found in many stir fry dishes and best paired with garlic and curries. It looks like a lima bean, but sure does not taste like one. As the name implies, it is a very stinky bean. Imagine the worst scent of methane gas and there you go, that's what a stinky bean tastes like. It explodes in your mouth as a gassy sensation. Needless to say, one was enough for me!

Katherine Langel, Culinologist 

Being adventurous eaters fuels our culinary process, and even though we haven't made stink bean bars or beverages yet, doesn't mean we won't in the future! What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?

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