Kelly Simmerman, Author

Eat This! No Way, That Looks Gross!

Uncover Crazy Food Names from Across the Planet

Kelly Simmerman

Head Cheese from Europe
I’ve done a bit of traveling, and everywhere I go, I eat what’s locally made, grown, or harvested. I make it a point to get out of my comfort zone and try new delicacies — even if they look or sound gross. And I ALWAYS drink local, whether it’s wine, beer, mead, tequila, horchata, or hot tea. You get a sense of the place, the people, and the tastes.

Eating a once-living being should not be taken lightly. In America, we do little with organ meats or what we have considered unsavory parts of an animal. We also don’t eat many bugs or grubs, which make up a good part of the world’s diet. So, when we hear things like oxtail, cow tongue, or pig feet, we turn up our nose. Actually though, using every part of an animal is most kind and sustainable. If you’re not above having a juicy sirloin steak, then you shouldn’t wince at eating the heart or lungs. I know, I know it’s a choice. But using every part of an animal honors their death and makes the most of its life.

Below are a few misleading, sometimes awful sounding foods from across the world. All these foods have been enjoyed for a long, long time, and some are considered delicacies. I’m writing this in 2020 during the Covid pandemic, so when we get to travel again, I will continue to keep an open mind about local food and traditions. Until then…learn about these international foods from your own couch.

Mung Beans: Sounds like dung beans and who wants that in their stir fry? Actually, these little beans can be pretty tasty either prepared savory or sweet. Speaking of sweet…

Sweetbreads: There’s no delicate way to put this so I’ll come right out with it. Sweetbreads are the pancreas or thymus of baby animals, specifically cows and sheep. I don’t know about this one, it’s not sweet or bready. Very confusing. After cooked, the texture is smooth, tender and moist, and the flavor is quite mild and creamy. The outside crisps up easily, and they play nicely with both rich and more acidic sauces.

Witchetty Grub: This Aussie food comes from Indigenous Australians and it’s the larva of a moth, a moth that feeds on the Witchetty bush. It’s a super protein-packed treat that can be eaten raw or cooked. It takes on…

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