Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Swift's remark relates to pondering what the first person to eat an oyster must have thought - "Hey, here's a funny-looking rock. If I bash it open, I wonder what I'll find? Ooh, grey goo! I think I'll eat it!" Now, of course, people eat oysters all the time, although a rule of thumb says they should be eaten only when?
2. An important rule of survival is being able to tell the difference between the edible and the inedible. One might think that a good rule would be to avoid things that smell bad and eat things that smell good. Except - there's a fruit native to Southeast Asia that smells horrible and is absolutely delicious (by most accounts). The stench of this fruit is so offensive to most people that you're not allowed to eat it in some hotel rooms or carry it on some public transportation systems. What's the name of this "king of fruits"?
3. Sometimes it's just the preparation that I don't understand. There is a notorious dish native to Scotland which involves the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt, and stock. That I get, since sheep are edible, and someone would consider eating all the parts. But then, the ingredients are stuffed back into the sheep's stomach and boiled. Who the heck thinks of that? Anyway, what's the name for this national dish of Scotland?
4. Let's consider the following situation: You've just performed an orchidectomy on one of your bulls. It's a dirty, taxing job and now you're hungry. Being very brave or very strange, you decide to cook up the testicles you've just removed from the bull. They're so tasty that you decide to market your new delicacy. Realizing that the name "Fried Bull Testicles" is unlikely to inspire consumer confidence, you make the prudent decision to call them something else. What do you call them?
5. Again, the idea here is that some food might be tasty, but you have to wonder how anyone thought of eating it. Sometimes, that takes the form of a condiment. Ancient Romans had a fish sauce, called "garum," that they put in almost everything. It was made from fermented salted mackerel intestines, and while the end result was beloved, the process of making it smelled so awful that the factories had to be located outside the cities. A similar sauce, called "nuoc mam," is made from putting anchovies in salt, allowing the mixture to ferment, and then pressing out the juice. What cuisine uses "nuoc mam" as a staple?
6. A "You ate WHAT" reaction can also be prompted by a belief that something's toxic or otherwise unsafe to eat. The urban legend about pop-rocks and soda leaps to mind. Once upon a time, "love apples" were considered to be deadly if eaten, because the plant is related to deadly nightshade. Although properly classified as a fruit, a "love apple" is considered to be a vegetable (according to the US Supreme Court, which declared it to be one in 1893) and is now a staple of lots of cuisines. What's a "love apple" better known as?
7. While we're on the subject of poisonous things, Fugu fish is fairly well-known for being toxic if prepared improperly. It's so much of a concern, in fact, that the government regulates who can cook the fish. So, the first person to eat a fugu probably fell over and died. The second person would have had to think "Gee, that fish killed Ook, but I'll eat it anyway." After what I can only assume was a lengthy process of trial and error, people learned the toxin was concentrated in certain organs and made a delicacy of the rest of the fish. In what cuisine is fugu a highly sought delicacy?
8. Let's move on, shall we? Kids are notorious for being finicky eaters. While my kid eats almost everything, my brother survived for years on plain yogurt and honey. I've heard of kids that won't eat sandwiches cut in the wrong way, foods that touch each other, and anything orange and mushy. A common set of rules is 1) Never eat anything that looks like vomit, 2) Never eat anything bigger than your head, and 3) Never eat anything with tomatoes in it. Unfortunately, this set of rules excludes a staple of kids' diets. In fact, 94% of Americans eat this dish, and eat 23 pounds of it each year. What is it?
9. The phrase "one man's meat is another man's poison" dates from the first century BC. Corn smut is one of those things covered by this principle. Corn smut is regarded as a blight in the United States and a delicacy in Mexico. It might taste yummy, but it looks horrible. Basically, a fungus invades the corn and turns the kernels into creepy-looking, gray-black tumors. The Mexican word for the stuff, in fact, acknowledges that its appearance would lead to the question "You ate WHAT?!" That word is "huitlacoche," which means what? (Since this is relatively obscure, please think about the appearance and choose accordingly.)
10. Let's face it, if it's part of an animal, people will eat it. Sow's vulvae were a delicacy in Ancient Rome. Some people consider cats and dogs a delicacy. I get that. But, there seems to be a point where you should assume the stuff has spoiled and throw it out. For example, when blood clots up, I would think it would be thrown out, but some brave soul ate it, and now it's a staple of British breakfast, among several other cuisines. "Clotted blood," however, is not a good marketing tool, so the British use another term. What is it?
11. Travelers are sometimes advised "Don't drink the water." There was a time when that was good advice almost everywhere, so everyone drank alcoholic beverages, because the alcohol made the water safer. What does this have to do with the theme? Well, there's a food source that poisons you if you have alcohol in your system but is harmless if you don't. In an environment where people drink all the time, eating the "inky cap" or "tippler's bane" would at best, make you vomit and at worst, give you a heart attack. What kind of thing is an "inky cap"?
12. Along the lines of "Who thought of THAT?" is food made from animals that have been killed in a specific way. For example, the French dish "pressed duck" is traditionally made from a strangled duck, because the blood's an important element in the dish. Contrariwise, the dietary rules of Islam and Judaism prohibit eating things that have been strangled. But in June 2009, the Shanghai Daily reported on restaurants that had been serving chicken killed in a particularly bizarre way, which was quickly banned by health authorities. What was it?
13. Mold is a problem. There's a theory that a kind of rye mold, ergot, is to blame for the Salem Witch Trials, as it can cause hallucinations and other symptoms described by the people who claimed to be bewitched. On the other hand, if we add mold to cheese, we get a delicacy. What kind of cheese is produced when mold spores are introduced to cheese?
14. Since time immemorial, people have used salt to preserve food, especially fish. But what do you do when you run out of salt? If you're a Swede, apparently you bury your fish in a barrel with just a little salt and dig it up six months later. The result, called Surströmming, is a dish that is so smelly that it's usually eaten outside. Based on the gawd-awful odor, you might assume the fish is rotten. It's not, but it's been subjected to the same process as beer and wine. What's the name of this process?
15. I saved the worst for last. In Sardinia, they make a cheese that goes far beyond moldy cheese, named Casu Marzu, or "rotten cheese." The cheese is made from sheep's milk and is then placed outside so an item not normally considered edible can be added. The result is a cheese that, according to one website, is a "...weeping stink bomb in an advanced state of decomposition." While I'd probably be willing to try almost everything in this quiz, there's no chance in the world you'd get me to eat this, because of the extra ingredient. What is it?
Source: Author Correspondguy
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