Monday, June 14, 2010

The Omnivore's Hundred

Below is a list of 100 things Very Good Taste thinks every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Very Good Taste is a blog written by an English couple, Jill and Andrew. So they've encourage food bloggers to post the list to their blogs, bold all the items we've eaten, and cross out those that we'd never consider eating. (This list has been copied several times and has also been referred to online as 100 Things You Should Eat Before You Die.)

So here is my Omnivore's Hundred (aka 100 Things You Should Eat Before You Die):

1. Venison - Um, yeah... a lot. My husband's an avid hunter and I've harvested a doe before myself, so we eat a lot of venison.

2. Nettle tea - Nettle tea is supposed to have all kinds of health benefits. It fights skin problems, intestinal disorders, arthritis, urinary tract infections. Shrug.

3. Huevos rancheros - Yup. Best huevos rancheros I've ever had was when I was visiting my cousins in San Francisco and we went to a total hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint in the middle of nowhere.

4. Steak tartare - I've had it in two or three different places. I've had it chopped (yuck) and I've had it prepared by being very thinly sliced and served cold (not yuck).

5. Crocodile - But I've had fried alligator chunks. Guess that doesn't count.

6. Black pudding - I don't know if I have the guts to try this. It's blood pudding (a type of sausage). Okay, I promise to at least try to try it when I visit my cousins in Scotland. I'll report back then.

7. Cheese fondue - OMG, yes, yes, yes! I LOVE cheese fondue. I love cheese. I especially love stinky cheese. But cheese of any type is wonderful and even better when all melty and hot.

8. Carp - I've seen a lot of carp, I've caught some carp - but I threw them back. I don't know that I've ever eaten carp.

9. Borscht - I had a small bowl of borscht when Zhivago's Russian Restaurant was open in Ballwin. It's a soup made mostly of beets and potatoes. I basically ordered it to try something new - and I don't honestly remember if I cared for it or not since this was well over ten years ago. Must not have made much of an impression.

10. Baba ghanoush - Haven't tried baba ghanoush yet, but this is definately on the list of things to try.

11. Calamari - I have had great calamari and I have had bad calamari... and I have had really bad calamari (i.e. battered rubber bands). If I can see the ocean it came out of I'll try it - and it's usually pretty good then.

12. Pho - Not yet, but sooner or later I'll try pho.

13. PB&J sandwich - I've had no less than three hundred bajillion PB&J's. I've had double-deckers PB&J's, I've had it between crackers, between muffins, between pancakes - everything I could think of. But the very best PB&J I've ever had was at Garden Cafe Ala Fleur - it's a double-decker PB&J made with strawberry jam on cinnamon bread and then grilled.

14. Aloo gobi - Not yet, but it'll happen. It sounds yummy.

15. Hot dog from a street cart - I know the mere idea sounds gross to many of you, but after a nice long evening on Bourbon Street, nothing quite hits the spot like a Lucky Dog. I've also had them in NYC and Chicago.

16. Epoisses - Not yet, but you know it's just a matter of time. It's a stinky cheese, an especially stinky cheese, so you know I'll love it.

17. Black truffle - I've had black truffle oil, but I'm not counting that and I've also had dishes with little black flecks of black truffle in them, but I'm not counting that either. Because I really want to have shaved black truffle.  Specifically, I want to have White Truffle Oil-Infused Custard in Black Truffle Ragout and Chive Potato Chip at The French Laundry (scroll down to 8th pic).

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - I've had strawberry wine and it was very sweet. VERY sweet. I don't like sweet wine.

19. Steamed pork buns - Basically these are barbecued shredded pork inside of a steamed bun. In other words, delicious and full of fat and calories. Right up my alley.

20. Pistachio ice cream - My mom loves pistachio ice cream, so I've had it several times. It's no dark chocolate, that's all I'll say.

21. Heirloom tomatoes - Since I grew up on a farm, I've had plenty of heirloom tomatoes, and mostly against my will. I hated tomatoes when I was growing up but my parents made me "at least take a taste" of everything. Including slimy okra and nasty brussel sprouts. I now love them all. Go figure.

22. Fresh wild berries - Yep, see above. Farmgirl.

23. Foie gras - I know it's politically incorrect, but I have had it. It was before I knew that they were force-fed, so I haven't had it since then. I have had regular duck and goose liver pâté many times since then (which is the same thing, just not made from force feeding (gavage). Honestly, it's freaking delicous. But pâté is pretty darn good too.

24. Rice and beans - I have a Southern heritage and a love of all things cajun. So I've certainly had my fair share of red beans and rice. Bring it on.

25. Brawn, or head cheese - Yuck. Gross. Disgusting. Yes - I have tasted head cheese. On a dare. My high school boyfriend worked behind the meat counter at our local little grocery store. He dared me to taste it - couldn't back down on a dare. So I told him if he did it, I'd do it. Yuck. Gross. Disgusting. Thanks Steve Jenkins.

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - Raw?!? Oh heck no. One of the hottest peppers in the world. No freaking way. A jalapeño pepper has about a 3,500 rating on the Scoville scale; Scotch Bonnet peppers have a rating of 100,000 to 350,000. Forget it.

27. Dulce de leche - Love it. It's similar to caramel but made with sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar. It's mucho better than caramel.

28. Oysters - Nothing like a fried oyster po' boy at Acme Oyster House. I've also had raw oyster shooters. Not as good.

29. Baklava - I know a lot of folks just love baklava, but I could take it or leave it.

30. Bagna cauda - This souns amazingly delicious so I'm going to HAVE to try it.

31. Wasabi peas - I love wasabi peas, I could eat them like M&Ms.

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - Of course.

33. Salted lassi - I don't know. Maybe some day if I'm in North India. Or an Indian restaurant. I guess.

34. Sauerkraut - See heirloom tomatoes, my parents made me taste everything. I never did develop a taste for this nasty stuff.

35. Root beer float - Just writing this makes me want one. Especially from A&W. Mmmm, I remember going to A&W as a kid when they were still a drive-in and getting the little tiny kid size glass of rootbeer and every now and again getting a rootbeer float.

36. Cognac with a fat cigar - Not really. I've had cognac and I've had a fat cigar. But not together...

37. Clotted cream tea - Maybe this will be another new experience in Scotland.

38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - Are you kidding me? Seriously. Yes. And I have no further comment.

39. Gumbo - Again, back to the beans and rice, the gumbo, etc. Love. It.

40. Oxtail - Mom makes oxtail stew. It doesn't suck.

41. Curried goat - Not yet... but I do love curry.

42. Whole insects - I'm willing to try, if only for the novelty, to eat a whole insect. But it's going to have to be roasted or fried or something.

43. Phaal - No way. It's hotter than Scotch Bonnet peppers. For-freakin-get it.

44. Goat’s milk - I've had plenty of cheeses made from goats milk, but not goats milk itself.

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - Yes, but I didn't pay for it. Mom and I were staying at The Brown Hotel in Louisville and talking to the bartender there about having toured the area bourbon distilleries and I said I still wasn't that crazy about bourbon. He took that as a challenge. So he offered us several samples of ridiculously expensive bourbons. I get it now.

46. Fugu - Probably not. I don't think I'm willing to die for good fish. Seriuosly. There's an old Japanese expression that goes "I want to eat fugu, but I don't want to die". If they're not gonna, I'm not gonna.

47. Chicken tikka masala- Sounds good. I'd try it.

48. Eel - I've had it in sushi. Like baklava, I could take it or leave it.

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Way too many times. When Jeremy and I were planning our honeymoon, we had to plan our drive to incorporate the nearest Krispy Kreme so I could get a dozen original glazed doughnuts. I'd dieted for a year and hadn't had one that whole time. I bought three dozen. They were gone long before the honeymoon ended. Luckily there was another Krispy Kreme just 7 or 8 miles from our cabin. I bought more.

50. Sea urchin - I'm willing...

51. Prickly pear - I don't know much about the prickly pear, but I don't really see the point, so probably not. But you never know.

52. Umeboshi - I guess if I ever go to Japan I'll try it. Instead of the fugu.

53. Abalone - We'll see... these are endangered, but are commercially farmed in California. So I guess I'd try it if it were from a sustainable source. It's a mollusk - you've all seen abolone shell jewelry...

54. Paneer - Not yet, but it's a cheese, and you know how I feel about cheeses.

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal - Duh.

56. Spaetzle - Had it, made it, loved it. Just wish I could get them to look like teardrops when I make them. They're so much cuter that way.

57. Dirty gin martini - Again, duh. Except I like a vodka martini much better.

58. Beer above 8% ABV - 'Nuf said.

59. Poutine - Sounds good to me. It's french fries topped with fresh cheese curdds covered with brown gravy. It's a Canadian thing. I'll have it sooner or later.

60. Carob chips - Yeah, not a fan. Why sub for chocolate when you can have chocolate.

61. S’mores - I loved s'mores as a kid. Still like them, but I'd rather have a martini.

62. Sweetbreads - I just tried these for the first time, as a matter of fact, just a month or so ago. Mom ordered them at The Clarksville Station Restaurant at Overlook Farm. Sweetbreads are the thyus glands of lamb, beef or pork, soaked in salt water then poached in milk. Sounds gross - but they were yummy.

63. Kaolin - It's clay. Edible clay. That people with eating disorders, poor people with mineral deficiencies, and pregnant women with weird cravings eat. I don't fit into any of those categories.

64. Currywurst - I'd totally try this. It's hot pork sausage seasoned with curry sauce. Sounds good to me - it's a German diner food or street food. Guess I need to go to Germany now.

65. Durian - I'm not sure. It's an Asian fruit with a custard like flesh inside. But the odor is supposed to overwhelming and totally disgusting. It's been banned from some hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

66. Frogs’ legs - I've had them in French restaurants and I've had them fried after Dad caught 'em. Fried is better.

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - I've had them all. Beignets at Cafe Du Monde is the way to go though.

68. Haggis - I think not. It's sheeps 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt - then you boil it in the sheep's stomach for three hours. I'll pass.

69. Fried plantain - Maybe I just haven't had the good ones yet, but they taste kind of plain to me...

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - I haven't yet had chitterlings, but I'd be willing to take a taste at least. Chitterlings are pig intestines that have been chiopped up and stewed, then battered and fried.

71. Gazpacho - I love gazpacho, I especially love Chef Thomas Keller's gazpacho - it's one of the first recipes of his that I ever made after I read about it in Carol Blymire's blog. It's in his French Laundry cookbook.

72. Caviar and blini - I've had caviar, but not with blini, so I'll have to try it...

73. Louche absinthe - Honestly, I'm really curious about louche absinthe (click the link and scroll down to the "Preparation" section) so I want to try it...

74. Gjetost, or brunost - Again. Cheese.

75. Roadkill - Negatory.

76. Baijiu - Well, it's a Chinese alcoholic beverage, so I'd be happy to try it.

77. Hostess Fruit Pie - Duh.

78. Snail - I love escargot, especially in garlic butter. So yep - love it.

79. Lapsang souchong - Maybe, but I'm not rushing to try it. It's a Chinese tea that tastes like smoke. Why?

80. Bellini - Of course. Peach purée and champagne - what's not to love?

81. Tom yum - It's a Thai soup. I haven't had it yet, but it sounds good.

82. Eggs Benedict - I love eggs benedict. So I've had lotses and lotses of eggs benedict.

83. Pocky - It's a biscuit (cookie) coated with chocolate? Okay, count me in.

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - Have I mentioned that I love Chef Keller? And French Laundry? And that I want to go there really really really bad?

85. Kobe beef - Kobe beef is beef raised according to strict Japanese tradition. It's delicious. Even raw.

86. Hare - Yes, I've had hare and loved it. Jeremy ordered it on our anniversary at Eleven Eleven Mississippi and it was amazing. I'd be happy to have it again.

87. Goulash - Not yet, doesn't sound bad, doesn't sound good... Okay - I stand corrected. Mom says I've had it!

88. Flowers - I've had edible flowers that were used as garnish. Eh.

89. Horse - No. Not gonna do it.

90. Criollo chocolate - Well it's chocolate, of course I'd be willing to try it.

91. Spam - Nasty. Gross. Disgusting. Once and only once.

92. Soft shell crab - I enjoy seafood of all kinds. I love shellfish. Soft shell crab is delicious. Maybe kind of weird, but good.

93. Rose harissa - I've heard a lot about rose harissa, it's something I'd really like to try.

94. Catfish - Are you kidding me? I grew up on the Mississippi. Seriously, I had catfish for dinner last night and the night before that. Jeremy can't bring home enough!

95. Mole poblano - Since it includes chocolate you'd think I'd like it more, but it's just okay by me.

96. Bagel and lox - Like I had a choice. I married a Jew.

97. Lobster Thermidor - Not yet, but I totally want to!

98. Polenta - I love corn in any way, so ground and made into a grainy mush and then fried. Yep, gimme.

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - I LOVE COFFEE. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. One day I will have it.

100. Snake - Probably tastes like chicken.

So there you have it. I've had 54 out of 100 and refuse only seven of them. So what have you had/not had/want to try/refuse to try???


  1. Lapsang souchong is an amazing smoky, tarry tea that is good like an aged scotch in a scorched bourbon cask is good, so try it. You have also had goulash, I just called it a stew so you would eat it! When we are in Scotland I double dog dare you to try Haggis, I will if you will!

  2. Heather, I have a great Gazpacho martini recipe for you to try. Had one at the Old Frederick Hotel in Boonsville. Great restaurant there, Glenn's, Here's the write up from the restaurant, "A dining experience that combines an atmosphere of classical history and elegance with a cuisine that uses all the flavors of the Mississippi Basin and Delta that is as exquisitely unique as it is delicious. Our delectable menu, world-class wine selection, and beautiful dining room will assure you a truly unique dining experience. Our bar not only provides the finest of libations but also the freshest raw oysters and gulf shellfish. Open air seating is also available on our deck facing the Missouri River".
    Close to the casino too.

  3. p.s. Lots of black and white pudding in Ireland too.