There are foods that are healthy and there are foods that are Instagrammable. While most people working in the American food industry are in it for the sole reason of creating the best in the world of gastronomy, there are also those who have an extremely horrible sense of taste toying with some dreadful food experiments. There are also people who may still be stuck in the dark ages of food history. If time travellers ever were to come back, it would probably be to make sure these foods were never created…forget about John Connor. So let’s turn the spotlight on the top ten American foods that should be banned.
10. Wild Rice Burger (Minnesota)
Just from the name, the Wild Rice Burger sounds like some sort of exotic food. Something that not only piques your interest but also fills your stomach. But wait, rice and burger? That doesn’t sound right. That’s double the carbs isn’t it? Vegetarians might come running towards this meatless burger but there are definitely a lot of other juicier alternatives than this bland one. This burger is made of wild Minnesota rice, flour, eggs, a mixture of other vegetables and spices. Looking online at several reviews of the said burger, there’s actually a lot of hype surrounding the Wild Rice Burger. Some say that this might be the ultimate veggie burger. On the contrary, others are complaining that it’s totally tasteless and it did not live up to its popularity. There are actually a lot of current innovations on meatless meat that even meat-lovers might mistake as the real deal. So this rice burger should retire from the meatless burger scene already. It just gives a bad name to all other vegetarian burgers that deserve a sacred place among the truly juicy burgers.
9. Koolickles – The Red Pickles of Mississippi Delta
The combination of sweet and sour flavors in a dish is actually mouth-watering, but a kool-aid and pickles combo is another story. This concoction sounds like the creation of a grade school student trying to one up the neighbour kid’s lemonade stand. Or somebody might have experienced a sudden broken lightbulb moment resulting in the mixing of kool-aid and pickles together with a generous helping of sugar added. The most popular flavor of Koolickle is cherry. Apparently, this kool-aid and pickle food experiment has become such a famous thing in Mississippi that people have started creating their own flavor combinations. Seriously, they should keep this food away from… well everybody. We wouldn’t want this Koolickle being mistaken for a hotdog and traumatizing some poor soul forever. America should ban this horrible food. Put it up on the ballot. What’s one more thing for us all to argue over?
8. Crispy Snoots of St. Louis
Crispy might be one of everyone’s favorite food textures, but the snout is definitely one of the grossest parts of a pig. So how did crispy snoots come to be? Did someone grill a whole pig and realize that the snout, of all parts, is the best part? You see, a crispy snoot is exactly what it sounds like. A cooked crispy pig’s snout. Some will deep fry theirs, saying that the best snoot should be as crunchy as a potato chip. Crispy snoot comes from the nose and cheek area of the pig – without the nostrils. Like that makes it sound tastier. I mean if they want to go nose to nose with their food, why not just cook the entire thing. So, these particular pig parts are grilled for long hours until they reach the desired crispiness. The taste is described to be a combination of bacon and pork rind, salty and of course crispy. Other people might have just discarded these parts of the animal. But in parts of St. Louis this remains a delicacy. Nobody even really knows its true origins. St. Louis is actually recognized as America’s Top Grilling City and said to consume more barbeque sauce than anywhere else in the country. So what went wrong? Maybe someone became jaded with the usual grilled pork and wanted something more adventurous? But no matter how heavy you pour sauce onto it, a snoot will always be a snoot. Maybe ban this offensive snoot from the plate (and styrofoam takeout containers, too).
7. Burgoo of Kentucky
Burgoo is a vegetable and meat stew specialty of Kentucky. But it has another atrocious name – roadkill soup. This is because animals that were accidentally hit by vehicles (and found alongside the road) will make their way into the boiling cauldron, be mixed up with other stuff, with the hope that it turn out edible. The main ingredient can be a raccoon, opossum, deer, or, guess what, even a skunk. So the most common recipe, once you’ve scoured the roads for wildlife accident scenes, is as follows: pick three types of meat (whatever you are lucky enough find that day), and mix the meat with vegetables like cabbage and potatoes. The three randomly found types of meat may not co-exist well, so tomatoes and a lot of spices join the party to make the taste tolerable. Everything is slow-boiled, which sometimes takes as long as 14 hours until it turns into a homogenous liquid. Or in layman’s terms, a goop. Consider yourself lucky if the animal that ends up in your bumper is a deer or a rabbit. What if it’s a skunk, a porcupine, or an armadillo? You’ll end up cooking for longer hours. The dish actually goes as far back as the 1700s in Europe, especially in Scotland, where it was referred to as the sailor’s dish. A cheap stew type meal to be taken as sustenance for the sailors long sea voyages. So it’s also kind of a survival food. How it came to be known and cooked up in Kentucky, nobody knows. But now this popular Kentuckian soup is in decline because of health-related risks from consuming burgoo. There should be no need to warn people, the food itself should be a warning. Don’t eat roadkill, kids.
6. Pemmican from Midwest and Mountain West
While this food may be good for you, it’s the ratio of ingredients, wild game meat and animal fat, as one reason for its appearance on this list. If you ever wanted to know the origin of the high-energy food bar, this might be the answer. Pemmican is composed of ground meat jerky and fat, used by Native Americans as a form of sustenance. The meat, usually moose, elk or deer, is pounded into oblivion. It is then mixed with an equal amount of animal fat, and some mixed fruits and berries. This one to one meat to fat ratio seems rather unappealing but may be the reason this food provides a such a good source of energy that will keep you full for a long time. Word of its benefits spread and it became a must have food for the explorers on early expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Pemmican actually lasts for three to five years at room temperature! If refrigerated, it can last for up to 20 years! There is some debate on how good or bad it actually tastes. In making good pemmican, the food’s storage life and nutrients take priority over its taste. But well, it was invented way back before refrigeration and food preservatives became a thing. It might not hurt to learn how to whip up a batch of this survival superfood. If you’re ever stranded and down to your last Snickers bar, this recipe may come in handy.
5. Jars of Pickled Pigs’ Feet of The South
Pickled Pigs’ Feet is a questionable food item that looks like it came out of a mortician’s laboratory. Looks aside, the delicacy is said to be highly nutritious. It is high in protein and low in fat. It’s also thought to be beneficial for joint and skin health. But who decided that pickling pigs feet would be a good idea? Many North Americans may be confused with some of Asia’s insect delicacies but the tables may be turned on this one. An online post talked about it being, “mostly a Southern thing. Pickled pigs feet and pickled eggs were even sold out of ice cream trucks. When biting into it, juice from the pig feet would drip, making a mess. The smell is also unsettling too.” Oof, there’s a rave review. Whoever invented this food might have cornered the market on cold, slimy, and smelly stuff. When looking at other online reviews of this foot based food, some people actually love it. Some said that the texture is similar to hot dogs or bologna and the taste is similar to a ham in vinegar. But still, how can they not be grossed out by just the name and look of it. While we’re sure some would disagree – this is a delicacy that should definitely be banned from the shelves already.
4. Scrapple – All Pig’s Scraps in Pennsylvania Dutch
Scrapple sounds like a nasty insult you would say to somebody you hate but it is actually a traditional dish native to the Pennsylvania Dutch. It’s also known as pork mush. All of the odds and ends – as in literal scraps of pig: from tendons and brain to ears and snout, are boiled to a broth. Yep, everything. Thus the name scrapple – from scrap or scrappy. Not a single part of the pig is wasted when preparing scrapple. The meat and bones are then removed, and the broth is mixed with cornmeal and flour, creating a pudding of sorts. It is then formed into a loaf, pan-fried and served as a breakfast. The dish has a long history – which dates back to the Pre-Roman era. It was brought to America by German immigrants in the 18th century and it doesn’t look like it’s going to disappear anytime soon. Apparently, people from Pennsylvania Dutch country love their scrapple. So much so that they even have a National Scrapple Day, held every November 9th. It just might be the time to retire this dish and add it to the list of foods that should be banned.
3. Livermush – North Carolina’s Favorite
Livermush is North Carolina’s very own version of scrapple. The difference is while scrapple is made out of pig part scraps, it rarely contains any liver and uses less of the cornmeal mixture. Livermush is mostly made of pig liver and head parts and more cornmeal. The pig parts are made into a puree, mixed with spices and cooked cornmeal mush. The mixture is then molded and sliced into loaves. The origin of this dish is believed to have started during the Civil War. During this time of unrest people were just trying to get by, gathering and cooking anything edible out of necessity and desperation. Another theory is that it actually came about during the Great Depression as a need to escape starvation. While most historians think that this mixture was actually brought to America by the the first German settlers. So that explains the similarity to the scrapple of Pennsylvania Dutch country. The livermush, despite its strangeness, is actually well liked in North Carolina. In fact, they’ve also devoted a festival to the dish called “Mush, Music, and Mutts.” Some believe that livermush just needs better PR, starting with its name, to make it on a grand stage. They may need more than just a new name. No matter how you try to spin it, making this dish sound appetizing will be a hard sell. People from North Carolina might love it, but livermush sounds better suited as a wilderness survival meal and not necessarily the focus of festivals and celebration.
2. Akutaq– The Eskimo Ice Cream (Alaska)
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. That is if this all-time favorite dessert is made from cream, sugar, milk, and maybe a mix of fruits and other sweet flavors. And that’s where the list of ingredients should probably end. But certain Alaskans wanted to add some creativity and a helping of culture to their ice cream. Akutaq aka Eskimo Ice Cream is a unique concoction first created by the indigenous peoples of Alaska. Akutaq is a Yupik word meaning “mix them together” and this is exactly what it is. A mixture of reindeer fat or tallow, seal oil, fresh snow, berries, and ground fish. Sometimes, the person preparing it can add extras, such as fat from a caribou’s small intestine. Just like going to Dairy Queen and asking for extra chocolate sauce. All of these ingredients are then combined, smashed, and softened by hand. Sometimes, hard ingredients are chewed to speed up the softening process. Not sure that pre-chewed ingredients are always the best option. The dessert was invented by the natives’ thousands of years ago and continues to thrive today. This might be an ideal food for survival in the harsh Arctic environment but if you had your choice between this and a double scoop of Chunky Monkey from Ben and Jerry’s, which would you choose?
1. Rocky Mountain Oysters of Mountain West
First, oysters don’t exist in the Rocky Mountains, and second, the name sounds like a bad band name from a Sponge Bob episode. Well the name may be deceiving because Rocky Mountain Oysters are actually a dish made of…wait for it… bull testicles. Yeah. Ewww. People eat a lot of weird stuff but this one is another level of disgustingness. Found in regions of Colorado and Montana, the organs are peeled, coated with flour and spices and then deep fried. They’re often served with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce as an appetizer. This dish was not created out of practical survival needs but rather because it helps control breeding and also improves muscle density making for better grade beef. Again, someone had to say out loud to somebody else “Hey, I know what we should do with all of these extra bull testicles…” But you know what, at least there’s no waste. In some areas of Asia, parts of the reproductive organs from some animals are grounded and mixed into sexual enhancement pills. It is rumored that Rocky Mountain Oysters are in another realm when it comes to aphrodisiacs. So when you decide to stop at a road side diner in the Rocky Mountain area make sure that crunchy appetizer you are chewing is not a ‘local’ oyster – unless that’s what you’re looking for. Some first-timers said that the “oysters” taste a little bit like a chicken with an aftertaste. (I don’t want to ask what the aftertaste is). Seriously, people, this is one other American food that should be banned.