Food List Challenge
Updated at the bottom
I’ve seen this pop up on Facebook and on blogs — a food list challenge of 100 foods that you “need to try before you die.” And I need to pause for a moment and ask… why. Why these foods? I mean, sure, the listmaker thinks they’re great, but other than that fact, what makes these food trying-worthy? And aren’t some of these things only fantastic based on the preparer? I’ve had fantastic paella and I’ve craptastic paella. And that’s sort of the problem with this food bucket list — it isn’t like the 100 books you need to read before you croak, in which the book will be the same for each person. The fabulousness of the food on this list is entirely dependent on where you are eating it.
I personally have no interest of ever putting an animal in my mouth, so it probably won’t surprise you that according to this list, I will miss out on quite a few things in life. But since I have had two of the first five, I thought I’d give it a shot.
1. Abalone: Not a chance
2. Absinthe: Yes! Back when it was still illegal. A friend brought it back from the Czech Republic when he was over there lecturing for a semester. It tasted disgusting and it burned — my stomach felt like it was on fire for a long time afterward.
3. Alligator: Not a chance
4. Baba Ghanoush: Yes, though I don’t really like it.
5. Bagel & Lox: Not a chance
6. Baklava: I’ve had it many times, though I don’t like it (I have a feeling this will be a common refrain for this list)
7. Barbeque Ribs: Not a chance
8. Bellini: Sure – I had one post yoga a few weeks ago.
9. Bird’s Nest Soup: Not a chance
10. Biscuits & Gravy: If vegetarian gravy counts, then of course I’ve had biscuits and gravy.
11. Black Pudding: Not a chance
12. Black Truffle: Black truffle oil? Yes. I’m assuming this is close enough?
13. Borscht: This is one of those things I could eat, and Josh wishes I would eat, but I won’t eat.
14. Calamari: Not a chance
15. Carp: Not a chance
16. Caviar: Not a chance
17. Cheese Fondue: I am absolutely horrified by the idea of cheese fondue. I don’t even think I could stand to be near it much less put it in my mouth.
18. Chicken & Waffles: Not a chance
19. Chicken Tikka Masala: Not a chance
20. Chile Relleno: Not a chance
22. Churros: Yes, the best one I ever had was in Cordova, Spain, near the train station. I’m not a churro fan, but that one was particularly good.
23. Clam Chowder: Not a chance
24. Cognac: Yes.
25. Crab Cakes: Not a chance. Which is so sad since I’m from Maryland. I can shell a crab in minutes and have no problem de-meating them, but I have never put a piece in my mouth.
26. Crickets: ARE YOU KIDDING ME! DOES THIS LISTMAKER WANT TO KILL ME?
27. Currywurst: Not a chance
28. Dandelion Wine: Haven’t ever had it offered to me.
29. Dulce De Leche: Yes, I’ve had it straight as well as in things. Don’t love it, but it’s fine.
30. Durian: One of those things I could try, but why?
31. Eel: Not a chance
32. Eggs Benedict: Yes, I make a vegetarian version that is divine.
33. Fish Tacos: Not a chance
34. Foie Gras: Not a chance
35. Fresh Spring Rolls: Love them.
36. Fried Catfish: Not a chance
37. Fried Green Tomatoes: Yes — many times in many places.
38. Fried Plantain: Huge fan of the plantain.
39. Frito Pie: I had to Google this one. Horrifying!
40. Frogs’ Legs: Not a chance
41. Fugu: Not a chance
42. Funnel Cake: Yes, at fairs and such. But not in many years. I don’t like fried foods.
43. Gazpacho: I am not a fan of cold soups. And I think gazpacho sometimes tastes as if you are eating someone else’s cold vomit.
44. Goat: Not a chance
45. Goat’s milk: I could technically drink this, but I won’t.
46. Goulash: Yes, I make a vegetarian version.
47. Gumbo: I could make a vegetarian version so I could try it, but I won’t.
48. Haggis: Not a chance
49. Head Cheese: Not a chance
50. Heirloom Tomatoes: Yes, dozens of times.
51. Honeycomb: No – I’m not even sure where I would get one to consume.
52. Hostess Fruit Pie: No – and I shudder thinking about anything made by Hostess.
53. Huevos Rancheros: Yes, we eat this all the time.
54. Jerk Chicken: Not a chance
55. Kangaroo: Not a chance
56. Key Lime Pie: I don’t eat pie. I make pie, but I don’t eat pie.
57. Kobe Beef: Not a chance
58. Lassi: I would be willing to try this.
59. Lobster: Not a chance
60. Mimosa: Many times.
61. MoonPie: I fear this is another one of those products made by Hostess or the like.
62. Morel Mushrooms: I’m sure I have, though I can’t think when specifically.
63. Nettle Tea: Have never been offered it.
64. Octopus: Not a chance
65. Oxtail Soup: Not a chance
66. Paella: Yes, I make a great vegetarian version.
67. Paneer: This is one of those things I could technically try… but I won’t.
68. Pastrami on Rye: Not a chance
69. Pavlova: I’ve had this because I’ve made this.
70. Phaal: Not a fan of very spicy foods so I think I’ll skip this one.
71. Philly Cheese Steak: Not a chance
72. Pho: Yes, I love a vegetarian version.
73. Pineapple & Cottage Cheese: Just these words make me shudder, so imagine the convulsions my body would go into if I had to encounter this food face-to-face.
74. Pistachio Ice Cream: Yes, dozens of times.
75. Po’Boy: Not a chance
76. Pocky: No, but I always see it at the food store.
77. Polenta: Yes, I have made some lovely polenta dishes in my life.
78. Prickly Pear: Have never encountered it.
79. Rabbit Stew: Not a chance
80. Raw Oysters: Not a chance
81. Root Beer Float: Dozens of times. I love root beer.
82. S’mores: I had a s’more before I realized that marshmallows contained gelatin. And now that I know, when I see a marshmallow, all I see is sugar-covered animal collagen.
83. Sauerkraut: Something I could try… but I won’t.
84. Sea Urchin: Not a chance
85. Shark: Not a chance
86. Snail: Not a chance
87. Snake: Not a chance
88. Soft Shell Crab: Not a chance
89. Som Tam: I’m not a fan of papaya, so there doesn’t seem a point in putting this in my mouth.
90. Spaetzle: Yes, many know of the Great Spaetzle Incident which is still discussed in our household.
91. Spam: Not a chance
92. Squirrel: Not a chance. Who would cook Simon Liverspot?
93. Steak Tartare: Not a chance
94. Sweet Potato Fries: Yes, I eat sweet potato fries from time to time.
95. Sweetbreads: Not a chance
96. Tom Yum: Yes, this soup was consumed on a very early date with Josh, and it promptly gave me food poisoning. That is how I knew it was love — because he came over while I was still in a state of vomiting.
97. Umeboshi: I’m just not a fan of plums of any sort.
98. Venison: Not a chance
99. Wasabi Peas: Another food I could eat, but I won’t.
100. Zucchini Flowers: There’s a good chance I’ve had them, but I can’t think of what they taste like so I’m not claiming them.
So all in all, I have had 29 out of 100. And enjoyed few of those 29.
How many have you tried? And best story about trying it.
It IS a very US-centric list. Biscuits and gravy are commonplace here — I’d be more shocked to find a brunch place that doesn’t serve it. Same with chicken and waffles.
I think the problem with a food list is also what is exotic to you isn’t exotic to others. And vice versa. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think hummus and malawach and tehina are exotic, but they’re totally commonplace items to me I would never put on a 100 foods to eat before you die list.
I think many people could probably do a decent job though of constructing a single list, therefore, throw out 5 items you believe people need to taste before they die and I’ll compile a new list that is a little more varied.
My contributions: setas al ajillo, falafel, root beer, chocolate pots de creme, and potatoes dauphinoise. And feel free to knock any of mine from the list. Three votes of removal I think means automatic kick-off. I’ll move your choices up to the body of the list as soon as I can.
OUR FOOD CHALLENGE LIST OF FOODS TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE:
- Setas al ajillo
- Birch beer
- Chocolate pots de creme
- Potatoes dauphinoise
- Gado gado
- Carambola (starfruit)
- Roasted garlic (in the husk)
- Bruschetta with fresh summer tomatoes
- Napoleon Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Rhubarb Cherry Pie