100 Foods To Die For (or not) Before You Die (41-60)

Honeycomb Building

Honeycomb Building

I took The Food List Challenge and scored 61% having tried 61 of the 100 foods (or drinks) listed.  So I’m going through each one, 20 at a time.  Here’s the third of 5 planned installments.

Fugu. I don’t know if you can get this outside of Japan, but there are two things to know about this fish  1) it’s delicious (they say) and 2) highly poisonous, that is, if prepared improperly, it can kill you.  I don’t like fish enough to take the risk.  No fugu sushi for me.

Funnel Cake.  I’ve eaten fried dough and churros, but never had funnel cake.  I think it might be a regional thing from a region of the country where I’ve never lived.  While I haven’t tasted the goodness of funnel cake, and it must be good (not good for you) because it’s deep fried, I have experienced the badness of funnel clouds having lived in tornado country for many years.

Gazpacho.  Love it.  My dad used to prepare it, I think or my grandmomma, maybe they didn’t.  The first time I had it outside the house, if I in fact I ever did have it at home, memory is a funny thing isn’t it, was at Au Bon Pan in Harvard Square one hot summer in the mid 80’s.

Goat.  I don’t think so.  Where I grew up, a good way to insult someone was to call them “an old goat”.  Goat as food first came to my consciousness after the Rolling Stones released Goats Head Soup in 1973.

Goat’s Milk.  I’ve had goat cheese, which I presume is made from goat’s milk, and I could be wrong, but if I’m not, then technically, I’ve had goat’s milk.

Goulash.  That word has been in my vocabulary from as early as I can remember, but I honestly don’t remember ever having the dish growing up.  I associate it with Hungary, a country I know very little about.  In fact, I have only met one or two Hungarians in my life. I do know that linguistically, according to the Ethnologue, the Hungarian language is a bit of an odd bird in that it is not classified as Indo-European.  All the major languages spoken in the countries it borders: Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania and Croatia are genetically classified as Indo-European.  Classified as Uralic, Hungarian is part of the same language family as Finnish and Estonian.  But I digress.  Goulash.  The answer is no I have not.  The closest thing I’ve had to Goulash would be American Chop Suey, which I first had in a cafeteria-style eatery in Braintree or Quincy, MA.

Gumbo.  Yes, having grown up in a state bordering Louisiana, I was exposed to a considerable amount of Cajun cuisine and Gumbo was one of those dishes.  But I have a confession:  I never liked it.  The spices were ok, but I didn’t care much for shrimp, or crawfish then and still don’t now.  There’s something about a crustacean that gives me the creeps.

Haggis.  I have never acquired a taste for heart, liver and lungs.  And I don’t care how much it’s all spiced and everything niced, probably the only way to get me to eat some would be to gift me a fine bottle of single malt scotch whiskey, or tell me the haggis was something it’s not, like mincemeat pie.

Head Cheese.  Another no thank you.  The closest thing I’ve eaten to head cheese is pickle loaf which was honestly pretty awful.

Heirloom Tomatoes.  I love tomatoes of all kinds, the heirloom included.  I also love ketchup, tomato juice, tomato based sauces, and tomato relish:  finely chopped sweet onions, chopped tomatoes, salt and vinegar.  Goes great on black-eyed peas and fried okra.  Try some sometime, won’t you?

Honeycomb.  As a kid, I loved the cereal.  I like honey.  Nothing better than melted butter and honey on a hot roll.  Don’t think I’ve ever eaten the actual honeycomb; didn’t even know you could.  Can you?  The cereal notwithstanding, the closest thing to honeycomb I’ve eaten is a waffle.  Waffles with honey – now that’s an idea.  And I just remembered the honeycomb building in Chicago.  I didn’t eat it, but I did photograph it.

Hostess Fruit Pie.  How this made the list, I’ll never know, but I must confess to liking them and eating them with some regularity in the days of my youth and young adulthood.  I liked cherry the best.  I wonder if they still make these?  Haven’t seen them in a while.  My grandpa used to make fried blueberry pies for snacks when he took me fishing.  Were they ever good! I remember asking him if the fish might like some.  He just laughed…but I was serious.

Heuvos Rancheros.  I’ve had variants that I prepared myself, but never the real thing.  When I’m out for breakfast, I usually stick to eggs over easy, bacon or sausage and toast.  Plus, in my neighborhood, there aren’t many, perhaps not any, authentic Mexican eateries that serve breakfast.

Jerk Chicken.  I think I have had some jerk chicken, long ago, at either a picnic, or a Jamaican restaurant, but it doesn’t stand out in my memory.  I’m probably missing out on something extraordinary.  I do like Jamaican patties with coco bread, something that should be on the food challenge list in my judgement.  And another confession:  I like beef jerky.

Kangaroo.  Never.  As a kid, I loved Winnie-the-Pooh.  How could anyone eat the kin of Kanga and Roo without feeling some level of guilt.

Key Lime Pie.  Love the stuff.  Hard to find it on the Northeast coast, though.  My mom used to make lemon meringue pie to die for which I will assert is a variant or relative of key lime pie.  I made a key lime pie from a North Carolina recipe once with a saltine cracker pie crust.  It was pretty good and my family loved it, but it wasn’t the real deal.

Kobe Beef.  I don’t think I’ve had it.  I’ve seen the Iron Chefs cook with it though.

Lassi.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered this sweet yogurt based drink for myself, but have sampled a few.  If I drink anything other than water at an Indian restaurant, it’s usually a beer.

Lobster.  I’ve eaten lobster in various forms, and I like it ok, although eating a whole lobster is a mess and I’ve never mastered  proper meat extraction techniques.  The thing is, I have a generalized fear of crustaceans.  Once, a friend gave us a styrofoam cooler full of lobsters.  When my then 3 year old saw them she said, “Papi, SPIDERS”.   That about sums it up.

Mimosa.  Oh yes, not the tree, the drink.  I don’t usually buy champagne, so a mimosa is a rare treat for me.  Just yesterday, I made a Mimosa with prosecco and orange juice.  I wanted to make a Bellini but we didn’t have any peaches.  So it was really kind of a bellmosa.

Stayed tuned for the fourth of a five part installment on the 100 Food List challenge where I’ll be writing about, among other things, okra, moon pies and Spam.

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