Okay, maybe it’s the fact that Halloween is tomorrow. Maybe it’s the ongoing bloodbath/brain buffet going on over at the Mavens’. Maybe it’s because my own characters are 3 weeks out from land with only weevil-infested hardtack and rancid salt-beef to eat. Maybe it’s the stomach flu from which I recently recovered… (TMI?)

But with today’s topic, we’re getting nasty.

I remember watching this Saturday Night Live sketch years and years and years ago, where a guy dies and goes to heaven, and he starts pestering the angels with all these ridiculous questions about his life. Things like, “What was the grossest thing I ever ate without knowing?” To which the angel wisely replied, “You don’t want to know.”

I think this has stuck with me for years and years and years for a few reasons. First, because I know I wouldn’t want the answer to that question myself. But also because if I ever get to a heaven with all-knowing angels, I expect to spend a good millenium asking similarly inane and inconsequential questions. (Alternatively, I want to see a big album with all the photographs ever taken with me in the background – you know, the ones taken by Japanese tourists at Disneyland, Norwegians on holiday at the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. Doesn’t that sound way cooler than looking at your own photo album? Okay, back on topic…)

So, gross stuff to eat.

What’s the grossest (or most adventurous) thing you’ve ever eaten? That you’re aware of, of course.

34 comments to “TMI Tuesday – Tasty Treats”

  1. Renee Lynn Scott
    · October 29th, 2007 at 11:55 pm · Link

    I’m quite adventurous, most of the time. I’ve had turtle meat, escargot,sushi, which caused my throat to swell shut, catfish(ewwww, I love fish, but I draw the line at something that tastes like mud).

    I think the worst think I’ve ever eaten was oysters. The funny thing is I ate them for several years, but when I went to get oysters to make the traditional orderves last Christmas, I discovered they still had mouths, or what looked like mouths.

    I did draw the line at Cervelle en Matelote, I think that is the correct term. And I don’t think I could eat chitterlings. But who knows?

  2. Maggie Robinson
    · October 30th, 2007 at 4:53 am · Link

    I am a very white-bread sort of person, and have not ventured too far off the path besides caviar, which I like. And chopped chicken liver, which I like about once every five years.

    My Maine mother-in-law got mince-meat with chunks of venison in it, made a pie and then waited as this New York girl was chewing to reveal the secret ingredient. I don’t eat Bambi. Bring me a shrink-wrapped package of meat with the USDA sticker, please. No game.

  3. Maggie Robinson
    · October 30th, 2007 at 4:54 am · Link

    And I hope you’re feeling better. I have a feeling you won’t be after reading these comments!

  4. terrio
    · October 30th, 2007 at 5:52 am · Link

    I am not an adventurous eater so the only thing I can think of is Calamari. Not sure I spelled that right. I had it fried and it didn’t taste bad but it was like chewing an old tire. And chewing, and chewing, and chewing…

    The women in my ex’s family used to sit around talking about eating brains and pigs feet and chitterlings and all that nasty stuff. I’m pretty sure I’d rather gnaw on my own big toe than eat any of that stuff.

  5. Gillian Layne
    · October 30th, 2007 at 5:55 am · Link

    Maggie you make me grin. Venison is a staple of our diet. And Renee, good shouldn’t taste like mud. But nothing beats spoonbill.

    Mountain oysters are usually the deal-breaker at our huge town picnic between those who crave them and those who are utterly appalled. Not only do we cook them, we fight over the last pieces. All part of growing up on a farm 🙂

  6. Gillian Layne
    · October 30th, 2007 at 5:56 am · Link

    Uh, should be a “catfish” in between good and shouldn’t. Sheesh….

  7. Marnee Jo
    · October 30th, 2007 at 6:24 am · Link

    Escargot. I tried it at a Christmas party a few years ago when I was working at a mortgage co and we did really well that year. It was icky.

    Tessa, your picture is beautiful and I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  8. Erica Ridley
    · October 30th, 2007 at 8:17 am · Link

    Totally OT, but love your new photo! =)

  9. Tessa Dare
    · October 30th, 2007 at 8:20 am · Link

    You guys are listing some of my favorite foods here! Except the mountain oysters. That’s one I’ve never had the opportunity or inclination to try. But all bring on the fish (raw or cooked), shellfish, squid, caviar, etc. you’ve got!

    When I talk about gross stuff I know I’ve eaten… hm. I know I’ve eaten a lot of ants. Because when I lived in SE Asia, they had ants that could get into anything, including a closed Ziploc bag. And if you wouldn’t eat food with a few ants in it, you often wouldn’t eat. So yeah, I’ve eaten lots of ants.

  10. Tessa Dare
    · October 30th, 2007 at 8:22 am · Link

    Oh, and thanks Marnee and Erica, for the compliments on my picture! My photographer friend, Raphael, took them for me – I’ll have to post a link to his page. I have dozens, but I couldn’t wait to put up one. I had a certain nostalgia for that old red picture, but it was taken by my husband in our hallway at 1 AM – and I don’t look that tired or postpartum ALL the time, LOL.

  11. CM
    · October 30th, 2007 at 9:33 am · Link

    I have eaten, and will eat, a ton of stuff. Including kangaroo. Raw. Which doesn’t strike me as terribly adventurous. I am still peeved I missed out on the trip with my friend when he went to eat Fugu.

    I have eaten almost anything edible that swims, crawls, or sticks to the side of rocks in the sea. Better if it’s raw. I have to admit that I am always surprised when I hear people say that “sushi” is adventurous. I think my blood is permanently tinged with wasabi.

    The most adventurous sushi I ever had was at a place that cost more money than I had any right to spend. It was a graduation present, and the chef flew in the necessary ingredients every day . . . from Japan. The ones that were local he handpicked himself. He sat right in front of me and prepared everything by hand. I watched him shuck the scallop from its shell and saw it sort of sputter and then fall limp as it died. And then I ate it two cuts and ten seconds later.

    I guess the most adventurous stuff I’ve had has been offal/sweetbreads, which most people won’t go for, but which are absolutely to die for if done right. Also various cacti. And innumerable edible parts of plants that we Americans tend not to eat–most deliciously, zucchini blossoms (so good) and the young, tender tips of newly sprouted pea plant leaves (also so good). Come to think of it, plant greens in general are incredible, and often overlooked. Beet greens, for instance, form the basis of an incredible frittata. I’m always confounded when I pick up beets at the farmer’s market and the seller asks if they want me to take off the greens.

    Terrio, calamari is hard to cook right. If done badly, or if it’s not high quality, it will be VERY chewy. If done well, it’s deliciously succulent. The vast majority of commercial production will be not good.

    And now I’m started on food, and I had better stop before I take over the blog.

    Tessa, I love the new photos!

  12. Anonymous
    · October 30th, 2007 at 9:57 am · Link

    I love raw food, including oysters, clams, sushi, steak tartare, while my daughter won’t eat any food that is not “quiescent” (her word) such as jello!

    The picture of you, Tessa you tease, is so stunning that you must quickly put it on main page so everyone can see the beauty you are.

    My curiosity, if not my appetite, is whetted by what Renee Scott removed as her response.


  13. beverley
    · October 30th, 2007 at 10:10 am · Link

    Tessa, thanks for blogging and posted in FF for us and answering our questions. WE appreciate your generosity.

    Grossest thing has to cow tongue!! I didn’t actually eat, but I smelled it and it sat on my plate until late at night because I refused to eat it. Liver is actually the grossest thing that ever touched my tongue and that I had to swallow. It was only then I realized how awful it was and never ate it again.

  14. Tessa Dare
    · October 30th, 2007 at 10:17 am · Link

    Bev, my mother swears to me that I loved liver as a child. I don’t believe her. I’ve never had tongue…that I know of.

    Okay, okay Susan – you get your wish. I changed my photo on the website. This is still the pre-processed one, before the bags under my eyes get airbrushed out, LOL. Your daughter would shudder to learn how much jell-o I’ve ingested in the last few days.

  15. CM
    · October 30th, 2007 at 10:55 am · Link

    Oh, Beverley. Cow tongue is REALLY GOOD. 😉 You missed out.

  16. Anonymous
    · October 30th, 2007 at 11:03 am · Link

    Unagi,(freshwater eel I think) that’s it! I couldn’t remember (or blocked it). That’s the most vile thing I’ve ever eaten. The woman at the Japanese restaurant urged me to try it — “it’s a great delicacy in Japan,” she said. No offense to Japanese people, but I’d rather eat jello. (come to think of it, the consistency was –oh, never mind.)

    As for the picture on the main page, Tessa Dare you devil, you’ve gone all glam on us. Pretty is one thing, but gorgeous incites Rumpelstiltsken foot-stamping envy, and that’s not a pretty sight.


  17. Lindsey
    · October 30th, 2007 at 11:05 am · Link

    Gorgeous pics, Tessa! You look so beautiful and romance-writerish.

    Not that gross, but the oddest thing I’ve eaten recently is chocolate-covered bacon. My guy friends are all in love with it, but ugh – what a waste of good chocolate!

  18. Mary Jenkins
    · October 30th, 2007 at 11:22 am · Link

    Hey, Tessa! I was at a Korean restaurant with my mother (well, because I’m Korean, and we have to eat out, too :), and it was a grill it yourself restaurant with raw meat service. My mom holds up this long, pink meaty item and asks me if I want to try it. I asked what it is, and she tells me it’s cow tongue! So I tried it. Tastes like chicken, and it’s the only food that licks you back. Hah!!


  19. Tessa Dare
    · October 30th, 2007 at 12:28 pm · Link

    it’s the only food that licks you back. – ROFL, Mary. Love it. And I loooove Korean food.

    Susan, unagi is one of my favorites! Broiled, at least. I don’t think I’ve had it raw. It’s so sweet and tender. Mmmmmm, eels…..

    Linds – I’m with you on the chocolate -covered bacon. Only a guy would think of that.

  20. beverley
    · October 30th, 2007 at 3:14 pm · Link

    Tessa and CM, I hope that was just a joke. CM, there is no way I believe you eat COW TONGUE!!!! If anyone read Lisa Kleypas’s It Happened One Autumn, does it not remind you of Lillian’s run-in with the calf’s head. LOL

    But wait, I might believe the liver thing Tessa because two of my brother’s actual can abide liver. UGH!!!

  21. beverley
    · October 30th, 2007 at 3:16 pm · Link

    And to comment on the picture, I’m going to say not only is a good picture but this one (to me) looks like the Tessa I met in July!

  22. India Carolina
    · October 30th, 2007 at 6:14 pm · Link

    Chocolate covered ants. Chocolate covered bees. Are you spotting a trend? Cover it in chocolate and I will eat it!

  23. CM
    · October 30th, 2007 at 7:58 pm · Link


    I am so not joking. It’s good. Really good. I mean, I’ve already admitted to eating sweetbreads. That would be the thymus gland, in case you’re wondering. And it is REALLY good.

    Not generally a big fan of tripe–that’s the stomach lining–but I’ll eat it.

    And yes, I’m serious.

    The only things I won’t eat are (a) chicken; and (b) things that I think are produced in an inhumane fashion, which includes shark’s fin soup and foie gras.

  24. Mr Dare
    · October 30th, 2007 at 9:33 pm · Link

    Coming from the East, I naturally would have eaten things that are unheard of here in North America. Like a lot of people, I too love sushi, oysters raw and half cooked and the like. I’ve had snake (Pythons) a couple of times when they manage to stray into our yard. It tastes like chicken.
    Anybody ever heard of “balut”? It is a fertilized duck egg cooked a few days before it hatches (21 days). There is the 12 day, 16 day, and 18 day variety and I’ll leave the differentiation to the courageous.
    It is really good no matter which one you choose. If you know any Filipino, ask them about it. You guys ought to try it one day. 😀

  25. beverley
    · October 31st, 2007 at 12:40 am · Link

    Oh, and here I thought you were pulling my leg. I’m not the adventurous kind. In Guyana, there is a huge eastern and East Indian influence when it comes to food (curry and the like).

    And Mr. Dare, my good friend is Filopino, so I will definitely ask her.

  26. Sara Lindsey
    · October 31st, 2007 at 5:27 am · Link

    The new photos are absolutely stunning!
    I am not an adventurous eater, although I did manage to ingest a handful of kitty litter (clean, luckily) as a toddler.

  27. terrio
    · October 31st, 2007 at 6:28 am · Link

    CM – I had it in a tiny restaurant in Conway, AR. I fully believe you when you say it could be better elsewhere.

    My grandmother boiled a cow tongue all day once. I can’t remember why but I do remember that smell lingered in every single paper towel on the roll next to the stove. Gah! That was awful.

    Reading the rest of these is making me nauseous. LOL!

  28. terrio
    · October 31st, 2007 at 6:30 am · Link

    Now after I’ve gone back and checked out the picture all I can say is…

    Holy Toledo! That’s beautiful.

  29. Alice Audrey
    · October 31st, 2007 at 8:28 am · Link

    Oddly enough I like horse meat, can’t stand ostrich, the jury is still out on alligator. Grossest? Something rotten.

  30. beverley
    · October 31st, 2007 at 11:58 am · Link

    Okay, my friend sent me this.

    A Balut (Trứng vịt lộn or Hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese, Pong tea khon in
    Cambodian) is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed
    embryo inside that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell. They are
    considered delicacies of Asia and especially the Philippines, Cambodia, and
    Vietnam. Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a
    high-protein, hearty snack, balut are mostly sold by street vendors at
    night in the regions where they are available. They are often served with
    beer. The Filipino and Malay word balut (balot) roughly translates to mean

    Did Mr. Dare encourage us to try it because it’s considered by many to be an aphrodisiac?

  31. Tessa Dare
    · October 31st, 2007 at 12:27 pm · Link

    Good research, Bev! I never tried balut. I don’t know if it’s an aphrodisiac as much as “macho” thing. Probably because “eggs” over there is slang for “balls”. But it’s also supposed to be good for general health and vitality. 🙂

    AA – I’ve had alligator. It was very chewy.

    Terri – anytime you have to boil something all day, you know it can’t be good.

    Thanks for the kind comments on my new photos, everyone! I must admit, I’m over-the-moon about them. I wish I looked that good in RL, lol.

  32. Lenora Bell
    · October 31st, 2007 at 12:51 pm · Link

    Gorgeous pics, Tessa!

    Sorry I’m late.

    I ate coagulated pigs blood in a soup in China. I thought it was pretty pink tofu.

  33. Vicki
    · October 31st, 2007 at 1:50 pm · Link

    Turtle and frog legs. I know that might not sound gross to some but I can’t stand the thought of eating either of those things. I wasn’t told what I was eating until afterwards, of course. Needless to say the couple of bits was all I manage to eat that night.

  34. Santa
    · October 31st, 2007 at 10:24 pm · Link

    As the daughter of a butcher, I’ve tasted a lot of rather interesting things. Blood pudding, horse meat, lamb’s head, head cheese are all gross.

    I won’t go into what ‘tripa’ is here but it grosses my DH out but I LOVE it!