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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Omnivore's Hundred

While I was playing Scrabble on Facebook tonight, I was chatting with my friend, Ina. A native of Hawaii, Ina was lamenting her inability to find decent poi in New Jersey. Our conversation ran through some of the various cusine that we had sampled in our various travels and Ina asked me if I had heard of "The Omnivore's Hundred." I hadn't.

At it turns out, "the Omnivore's Hundred" is a list of 100 foods that British food-blogger Andrew Wheeler put together. It is sort of a "bucket list" of foods that he believes people ought to at least think of eating at some point in their lives. Some of it reminded me of the missionaries who used to come to my church when I was a kid and tell us about all of the places they went and how they had to eat all sorts of foods so that they wouldn't offend their hosts.

Below is the text of the original Omnivore's Hundred post from, with my highlights and notes. I've eaten 73 of the foods on the list, though there are plenty of other "unusual" foods that I've also eaten over the years, including fox, swan's feet, fufu, egusi stew, pigeon, and several others. I'll eat just about anything, but, oddly, I don't like mayonaise-based salads. How about you? Let me know.

Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think 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. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I've had to use red text.)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred (With Paul's Responses):
1. Venison (I haven't had this since I was a kid, but I loved it.)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros (Yum!)
4. Steak tartare (I'm a bit concerned about foodborne illnesses.)
5. Crocodile (I'm going to count this as "yes" though it was alligator.)
6. Black pudding (Along with boxty and white pudding in an Irish breakfast platter.)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (I love this stuff!!)
11. Calamari (My wife was frying squid when I met her at a Jr. High Latin Club banquet!!)
12. Pho (Another favorite! There's a pho-only restaurant just north of DC that I like to stop at.)
13. PB&J sandwich (Not gourmet, but it packs well.)
14. Aloo gobi (A favorite at restaurants and at home.)
15. Hot dog from a street cart (I DO live just outside of NYC, after all...)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (Blueberries!!)
19. Steamed pork buns (Steamed are good, but the baked ones in Macau are to die for.)
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (Blueberries on the coast of Maine... blackberries in the field when I was a kid... Happy memories!)
23. Foie gras (Expensive and I've got issues with the way the geese are treated, but I'd eat it if offered.)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (Maybe next time I go to a pork store.)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche (Now, I can die happy.)
28. Oysters (Raw, roasted, wrapped in bacon and grilled. What's not to love?)
29. Baklava (The owner of my local Greek restaurant, A Taste of Greece, gives this to me for free whenever I come in. For that matter, the owner of my local Turkish restaurant, Babylon, often does the same. Life IS good.)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas (Just finished a bag...)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (Midway food at The Big E.)
33. Salted lassi (I like sweet better.)
34. Sauerkraut (Two words: German ancestry...)
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (Air Fance served some nice cognac on a non-smoking flight...)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Not particularly interested...)
39. Gumbo (Whether made with okra or filé powder, this is grand stuff!)
40. Oxtail (both French and Jamaican versions)
41. Curried goat (with pigeon peas and rice and fried plantains!)
42. Whole insects (chocolate covered ants. Also the odd gnat.)
43. Phaal (Sure, I'd like to try this.)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (I have this friend who has more money than I do...)
46. Fugu (I'm not really that interested in poison fish...)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (Lots of unagi at sushi restaurants and moray eel when I was in China.)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (These tasted better when I was a kid.)
50. Sea urchin (uni sushi)
51. Prickly pear (Nopales!)
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer (I've even made it at home.)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (I'm not proud of it, but I did eat it...)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (There are some really nice Scottish ales out there...)
59. Poutine (Twice now. Once with fries, cheese curds and gravy and once with fries, curds and barbecue sauce.)
60. Carob chips (If I'm not going to eat chocolate, I'd rather not pretend...)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (Mineral clay? I think not.)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (Smelled awful and tasted like rotten onion custard.)
66. Frogs’ legs (My 2nd grade teacher made these for the class.)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (Two words: Scottish heritage...)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (I had these in Richmond's Hillside Court housing projects.)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (Separately.)
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (What kind of a question is that???)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail (Garlic and butter will make ANYTHING taste good.)
79. Lapsang souchong (Delightful on a cold winter night.)
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum (Asian soups are so good!)
82. Eggs Benedict (One of my favorite diner breakfasts, but I avoid it at the River Edge Diner.)
83. Pocky (Hai!)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (Lots of times. The rabbit stew at the King's Arms Tavern in Williamsburg is particularly nice.)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab (Not a favorite, but I've had it.)
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano (¡Qué bueno!)
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (I thought I was eating cobra once when I was in China, but it turned out to be moray eel.)

(PS. The list has generated a lot of questions, so I’ve created an FAQ for it over here!)

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