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Five Funky Foods

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

Explore the ins and outs of weird and wonky food.

Ewww! What's that disgusting thing in the picture? Well, that's Stargazy Pie (sometimes spelled Stargazey Pie), which is only one of the very many crazy foods in the world! Let's get started, shall we?

  1. Huitlacoche

Corn smut, or huitlacoche to Mexicans, is a food that not all people would consider disgusting. In fact, it is a delicacy in Mexico, and that's saying something, because Mexicans love corn! This trend has been steadily growing in America, and many people enjoy the flavors, saying it tastes like black truffles. Corn smut is related to the mushroom, and comes to the corn naturally. The particular fungus is called Ustilago maydis, and as you can see in the picture above, just smothers the corn, making the yellow duller, and attacking the whole thing with its gray body. I don't know. Some say it's fantastic. To me, it looks disgusting, but you can't judge a book by its cover.

2. Hákarl

It feels like hákarl was made by accident. It's literally stinky fermented shark. Disgusting! Now I know that the smell of hákarl is terrible, but some people like to eat it. How do you make hákarl? Well, I would not eat it if I were you, but that's your choice. Normally people use Greenlandic shark, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. The traditional way would be to remove the guts, inner organs, cartilage, and head of the shark. The meat that's left over is put in a hole in the ground to drain the fluids for anwhere from about a month and a half to a few months based on the season. Cover the hole with large rocks to press the meat. During its time in the hole, the shark meat is being fermented. When you take it out, the meat smells like ammonia (kind of like cleaning chemicals), and personally, I would not want to eat anything that smelled like that. Anyway, you then take the meat out and lay it to dry on a wooden drying shack. This is a shack that has holes to let wind get in, but the holes are small enough to not get the meat in the full glare of the sun. Drying the meat will take a few months and then it's ready! Did I mention that there was a more modern way of doing it? Well, the quicker way to make hákarl is to put the meat in a perforated plastic container (a container with small holes in the plastic) for fermentation. If it smells terrible, then you've done a good job. Dig in!

3. Jellied Moose Nose

I know you're probably looking at this picture and going, that is not Jellied Moose Nose. Nothing like that even exists? Right? I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but that is moose nose that you are looking at. There were more horrendous photos, where you can really see the jelly, but I decided to be polite and not show those. It's funny! I really though that the Canadians would act more sane, especially when choosing foods to eat, but no. And it's true! The noses of moose are considered delicacies to some. Eww! It makes me shudder just to think about eating a moose's nose. It sounds disgusting! But the fact remains that people like it. According to Atlas Obscura, Jellied Moose Nose is similar to European Head Cheese. Whatever it is, it's disgusting!

4. Stargazy Pie

This pie uses sardines or pilchards and has their heads sticking out of the pie. Some people love it, some don't . It all depends on your palate, although, I think this one is here mainly because of appearance. I mean, who wants to eat something that's staring at you? If you do, that's okay with me, I just wouldn't be interested in something like that. Anyway, this Cornish dish is from a small town called Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel), and there are many legends as to how it came about. The most exciting one is about a man called Tom Bawcock. Here's how the story goes: Mousehole had terrible weather in the winter, and it prevented people from getting their fishing boats out. Therefore, many people starved, because there was not enough food. According to legend, Tom Bawcock (a fisherman) decided to do something, and took his boat out to sea in the hopes of getting food for the villagers. Crazily enough, he made it back! And not empty-handed either! He returned with a bucketload of fish, and the village baked it into one big pie. The fish were sticking out to prove that they had really gotten that catch. And from then on, Mousehole celebrated good ol' Tom Bawcock by baking that pie. Well, what did you think of that? And remember, that's just a popular legend. No more, no less.

5. Airag

Think this is milk? You're close, guess again. Airag, also known as kumis, is the traditional national drink of Mongolia. Horses are very important in Mongolian culture, but maybe not for the reason that you would expect. The mare's milk is highly valued, and so that's the stuff in the picture above. Well, not exactly. Airag is fermented mare's milk, and is slightly sour. Apparently it's an acquired taste, but a lot of people like it. You may remember that there was a different fermented item on this list. Fermented shark meat. There are many different fermented foods. Like kimchi (fermented cabbage)! People love kimchi and hate hakarl, so I guess you could say not all fermented foods taste good (obviously). Here's the thing: I didn't put airag on this list because of the taste. I put it here because I thought it was a crazy idea! Who would've thought of fermented mare's milk? If you have, that's cool, but I certainly haven't. Then again, who thought of things like Rocky Mountain oysters? Anyway, that's a story for another time.

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