Yes, But Would You Eat It? “S” is for Scrapple


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from flickr.com

Shout out to my friend Steve from Philly, who tried to get me to eat scrapple a few years ago. I read the ingredients on the package, even though he implored me not to (“Just eat it!”).

Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name of ‘panhaas,’ is basically pork scraps mixed with cornmeal and/or flour and spices. The mush is formed into a loaf, and slices from that loaf are fried in a pan. Traditionally, the scraps of meat that weren’t sold went into the scrapple, to avoid waste. It’s best known in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Anyway, I did look at the ingredients on the package of scrapple. Here they are, from the Original Rapa Scrapple (since 1926):

  • Pork stock
  • Pork livers
  • Pork fat
  • Pork snouts
  • Corn meal
  • Pork hearts
  • Wheat flour
  • Salt
  • Spices

Now it’s your turn. Would you eat Scrapple?

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Yes, But Would You Eat It? “R” is for Rocky Mountain Oysters


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from flickr.com

Ah, yes. The Rocky Mountain oyster. It wasn’t enough that I devoted the letter G to Gaebul, right? Well, this is an A to Z challenge, and R brings us the bull testicle.

If you didn’t already know, Rocky Mountain oysters are usually skinned, then coated in salt, pepper, and flour, and deep-fried. Sometimes they’re pounded flat first. 

In Canada, where cattle ranching is prevalent and it’s common to castrate young male animals, Rocky Mountain oysters are called “prairie oysters.” They’re popular also in Spain, Mexico, and Argentina, where they’re referred to as “criadillas” or “huevos de toro.” There are other terms for the dish, including “cowboy caviar,” “dusted nuts,” and “swinging beef.” Because there just aren’t enough terms.

Tell me, would you eat Rocky Mountain oysters?

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Yes, But Would You Eat It? “Q” is for Quark


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from commons.wikimedia.org

Quark is also referred to as quarg. It’s a dairy product that’s made by warming soured milk. Once it’s curdled, it is strained. Quark is soft and white, and is not aged as other cheeses are. It’s mostly found in German-speaking, Slavic, and Scandinavian countries.

Quark is similar to what is known as fromage blanc in France, paneer in India, and queso fresco in some Latin American countries.

Here’s a simple way to make quark:

Don’t be afraid of the quark! Would you eat it?

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Yes, But Would You Eat It? “P” is for Pandoro


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from commons.wikimedia.org

I don’t know about you, but I needed a break from the sheep heads and mucilaginous vegetables! How about a slice of pandoro?

A traditional Italian sweet bread (which is very different from sweetbreads, pandoro (literally, ‘golden bread’) is popular around Christmas and New Year. Back in the Middle Ages, the common folk ate black bread, but in the palaces, breads enriched with eggs, butter, and sugar or honey were served (golden breads). The first notation of ‘pandoro’ dates back to the 18th centure, in Venice.

Unlike the panettone from Milan, which has more of a cupola shape, the pandoro has an eight-pointed star section. It’s often served dusted with powdered sugar to resemble the snowy Italian Alps.

Do I really need to ask? Would you try the pandoro?

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Yes, But Would You Eat It? “O” is for Okra


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from publicdomainpictures.net

I first tried okra in my mother’s Brunswick stew. She’d make it a few times a year, and it was full of chicken, corn, lima beans, and a new vegetable, okra. I can’t say I loved it, but I ate it.

Most people believe okra originated in West Africa or Ethiopia. It grows in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. The products of the okra pods are mucilaginous, which gives them their characteristic “goo” or slime when the seed pods are cooked. Okra can be cooked, pickled, or eaten raw.

Here’s a recipe for Brunswick stew with okra. If you haven’t tried it, this is a gentle way in.

So, would you eat okra?

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Yes, But Would You Eat It? “N” is for Nori


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from flickr.com

A name familiar to crossword puzzle aficionados and Words with Friends players, nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed. It is used mainly in Japanese cuisine as an ingredient to wrap sushi rolls. For this use, the nori must be made into sheets.

The finished dried sheets are made by shredding and rack-drying the seaweed, and is similar to papermaking. Here’s a guy attempting to make his own nori sheets at home:

While seaweed is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate, it also contains toxic metals (arsenic and cadmium), whose levels vary among different nori products. Enjoy it in moderation, but don’t eat it every day.

So, would you eat nori?

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Yes, But Would You Eat It? “M” is for Muktuk


Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods.

photo from commons.wikimedia.org

What does it look like? Whale skin and blubber? Yes, that’s what it is!

Traditionally eaten raw or frozen, it can also be cooked (chopped, breaded, and deep-fried). Muktuk is a good source of vitamin C, but, as whales grow, mercury accumulates in the liver, kidney, muscle, and blubber, and cadmium settles in the blubber. Lord knows what else is in there these days, but there are undoubtedly carcinogens.

In the Inuit culture, it’s a sign of respect to use the entire whale, and that includes consuming its blubber and skin. If you’re invited to dinner at an Inuit’s home, you might be served muktuk. And that means I have to ask…

Would you eat muktuk?

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