You’ve Got Some Strange Food, America!

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USA Food Collage

From bird’s nest soup to balut eggs, there are a number of global foods that will make the average person’s stomach turn into knots. For the average American, however, there are a number of regional foods that are just as weird and stomach turning and can be found in the United States! If you’re feeling brave, we’ve pulled together some of the weirdest, funkiest, and stomach twisting dishes from the four corners of the US for your consideration. See how many of these recipes you may have tried!

Geoducks

Imagine if you had an aroused clam that had been watching too much clam porn. That’s the image many people have when they see their very first geoduck. Pronounced like gooeyduck, the long protrusion from the critter is actually the siphon of the shellfish. These things can weigh up to 3 pounds, live for over a century, and you can dig them up yourself with proper licensing in the Pacific Northwest.

Many people like to eat the siphon of the geoducks in a sashimi-style dish, though cooking them with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms is common. The body of the shellfish is quite tender, good with butter, and it will definitely be a dish that you’ll remember eating for some time.

Chitlins

If you’re eating sausage on a regular basis, you’re likely eating some pork intestine without really even thinking about it. What makes Chitlins different is that you know you’re eating the small intestine of the pig because that’s all it is. Batter up them intestines, cut them into reasonably sized pieces, then fry them suckers up in some nice, hot oil until they begin to crackle. Just don’t make the mistake of forgetting to clean the intestines first… or slow cook the intestines so you can actually eat them without issue.

In the South, Chitlins are often considered to be soul food. Just don’t think about the fact that you’re eating part of the organ that the pig uses to process digested food and you’ll be a-ok.

Provel Cheese

The idea of a gooey, melty cheese product will get the mouths of many Americans watering profusely. From nachos to noodle casseroles, processed cheese is used in many dishes around the country. What makes Provel cheese unique, coming from the St. Louis area, is its combination of flavors:

  • mild cheddar,
  • swiss,
  • provolone, and
  • liquid smoke.

Where are you going to commonly find Provel cheese? On a thin crust pizza, that’s where! Add some peppers and sausage and you’ve got yourself a pizza you’ll either adore… or never eat again.

Scrapple

Once again coming back to the pig, the early Colonial settlers needed to be able to salvage every part of every animal to guarantee their survival. The idea of eating a bunch of organs and head meat, however, certainly turns most people’s tummies. To make the food keep going so that nothing was wasted, Scrapple was invented. True Scrapple involves taking the leftover parts of the pig you’ve got, which could even include the skin, and then it is boiled together with cornmeal until the protein strands start to disassemble.

Once this happens, the organs, head meat, skin, and whatever other pig parts were cooking are mashed together like pig mashed potatoes. Once a consistent texture is achieved, it’s all pressed together into a loaf pan and then baked so that you get one big chunk of meat. Slice it while it’s hot and enjoy!

Poop On a Shingle

The dish actually uses a less family-friendly blogging word, but you get the picture. This dish has its own regional versions as well, such as Hot Browns, but the concept is always the same: you create an open-faced sandwich, then place something that looks a bit like what would come out on top of it so that you can put it in your mouth and chew.

For Poop on a Shingle, you take your preferred ground meat – if you want a high class Poop on a Shingle, use ground bison or lamb – then brown it on up. Use salt and pepper to season it, and then add a can or two of cream of mushroom soup to the meat. Stir it all up, add more seasoning if you desire, and then serve it on a slice of toast. For Hot Browns, you would actually use a Mornay sauce with turkey and bacon as the meat products.

Eskimo Ice Cream

Who screams for ice cream? You might not be screaming for Eskimo ice cream if you knew what was really in it. Authentic Eskimo ice cream has berries in it, yes, but it also contains polar bear fat, oil from a seal, and snow. Then you blend the bejeezus out of this combination until it becomes silky smooth, sweet ice cream. Hunters in the Alaskan region are thought to have been enjoying this dish for thousands of years because it packs well and lasts for a long time – Alaska in winter is pretty cold, you know!

Modern Eskimo ice cream calls for butter or shortening and sugar, so it’s not overly weird at all. Just don’t ask a polar bear for some of his fat to make your own… chances are good that wouldn’t end very well!

The Famous Garbage Plate

A dish that typically stays in New York, the Garbage Plate is about what you’d expect it to be: several components, which would normally be a separate dish on their own, are all thrown together onto one plate. There are several variations, but there are three primary ingredients: macaroni salad, potatoes, and some sort of meat. Hot dogs, ground beef, Spam, steak… whatever – if it’s meat, it’s neat. On top you’ll get some chopped up onions and mustard.

If you’ve got a good Garbage Plate, it’s going to weigh in at a hefty 3 lbs!

Do you have a regional dish that you routinely eat? Share it with us today!

 

3 Comments

  1. I don’t think I ever tried any of those foods when I was in the US. The provel cheese seems delicoius. Is it real cheese?

    In Denmark they use to sell something they called cheese but it turned out that it wasn’t cheese, so they are not allowed to call it that anymore. But I guess EU regulation is more strict than the US.

    • For many, Provel is an acquired taste. Some people love it… some just don’t! It is a pasteurized process cheese that’s actually a lot like The Laughing Cow… so much so that if you add a little liquid smoke to the cooking process with The Laughing Cow, it actually tastes almost exactly like Provel!

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