What is the most "transgressive" food you've eaten?

I’ve been vegetarian for about 16 years now, but when I was a kid, my parents raised rabbits for food (until they got a patterned one pop up- while they were all brown and identical it was fine, but patterned ones tended to get named… They eventually sold the survivors as pets).

At the time, my Dad also worked at a large zoo, in the feed department. The don’t exctly advertise this, but herd animals that got injured and were not considered important for a breeding programme- especially surplus males, which in the wild would mostly get eaten by something if they lost a fight- would be humanely destroyed and butchered, as food for the large predators, so they had a freezer which included random animals. I don’t know exactly what was in there, but Dad went through a phase of, well, bringing stuff home to try…

I’ve had assorted insects as well, including queen ants that tasted like blue cheese and the various flavoured crickets and mealworms. Plus occasional roadkill, especially deer, and I’ve also done ‘dumpster diving’; not as disgusting as people think, stuff is generally still in intact packaging and perfectly dry and clean, just on or past the sell-by-date (we even found bottled beer once! Not even out of date, just one missing bottle from the pack!). Personally, I think chucking out perfectly good food like that should considered more transgressive than pinching it when it’s just going to waste otherwise, but I know others disagree.

Oh, and I have eaten a medlar- though I don’t remember the flavour much past sweet and squishy.

I guess nothing too terribly strange for me, even though I’m an omnivore. Goose liver foie gras was one of my favorites living in Budapest. Very common there. I also had horse sausage there. A bit lean for my tastes. Oh, goat eyeball tacos at the Maxwell Street market here in Chicago. Veal was common for us growing up.

I think I’ve had kangaroo while visiting my cousins in Tasmania. Somewhere along the line I’ve had turtle soup. Oh, since I see it’s mentioned in a post, I’ve had uni (sea urchin) on several occasions.

This is positively anodyne compared to what others here have posted, but the first time I tried sushi (mid 90s), it hadn’t gained the acceptance it has now in my part of small-city Midwest. Nowadays you can get it all over town and few people bat an eye, but at the time the idea that someone was eating raw fish was downright scandalous to my friends and family.

Yes, I know sushi != raw fish in every context, but you get my point.

I like Clamato. Does that count?

As far as food goes, in the room with me right now is a small cardboard box filled with spiced grubs from Mexico, and a lollipop with a scorpion in its center. Neither of these technically count for this thread, though, 'cause I’m not eating either of them.

Morbid fascination compels me to ask why.

(Also, yes on the Clamato.)

Nevermind … I guess pig isn’t “transgressive”; translation … I misread the question.

You were thinking of long pig, maybe?

I’m also surprised at all the foods I think of as uncommon-but-uncontroversial that are listed here. Ostrich? Kangaroo? Rabbit?

Anyway, I like to try new meats (new fruits and veggies, too, but I’m more likely to enjoy a new-to-me meat) so I’ve eaten a lot of odd animals, including three types of antelope and warthog when I visited South Africa. Warthog isn’t very good. Antelope is delicious. Kudu (a very large antelope) is tough as hell, but also tastes fabulous.

Probably the most transgressive thing I’ve eaten is grasshoppers. At least, that’s what seems to freak people out the most when I tell them about it. We caught them in a field, checked the make sure they didn’t have parasites, and fried them in a covered pan with butter. Like popcorn, they were done when they stopped popping. They tasted kinda like popcorn, too.

I’ve tried a lot of weird foods, when I have the chance, though. Like partially gestated chicken egg at a Chinese restaraunt.

Naw. I understand that wild rabbit is lean, especially when game is scarce. But I’ve had domestic rabbit several times, and sometimes it’s fatty and greasy. I’ve also seen pet rabbits that were obese and had rolls of fat.

I don’t love rabbit meat. It’s bland. But it’s fine.

American foie gras is, in general, better treated than the typical factory-farmed egg chicken. Yes, they force-feed the geese (or ducks). But they have gullets designed to eat spiny live fish, that are covered with a tough material similar to fingernails. It’s not all that violent or painful for the bird. And yeah, they gorge themselves and store fat in their liver naturally, in preparation for migration. Over-fattening their livers isn’t any more horrible or unhealthy than the way most US cattle are fattened.

And foie gras is delicious.

There are actually a lot of foods I avoid for ethical reasons, including factory-raised pork, and American veal, but I don’t feel guilty about foie gras.

(I eat veal in Europe, because as far as I can tell, European veal is just young cow, and isn’t especially mistreated. The practice is changing in the US, but it used to be the norm to individually crate each baby animal, so they didn’t move enough to develop red meat. The idea of crating a baby herd animal so it can’t touch its mother or any other member of its species seems horrible to me. Also, I like beef better than veal, so why incur the moral cost for no benefit?)

Interesting. That’s a food I didn’t eat due to ethical concerns. I saw it for sale on the streets in the Bergen fish market, but I only bought the salmon, not the whale. If I go back, maybe I’ll try it.

They came in a box of “weird candy” my office sent out to all of us as part of a pandemic morale booster. Mostly it was standard sweets in unusual packaging, like sour candy in a toilet-shaped container, but the bugs were next level.

I’ve never forgotten that as a high school student, I purchased - at a Hickory Farms, or some such place - and shared with my school friends a collection of chocolate-covered insects. If I recall correctly after all these years, there were ants, bees, grasshoppers and crickets. The bug parts had been so thoroughly cooked up and ground that they were nothing more than pleasant little crunches in the chocolate. But it was hugely fun! I can see how a box of “weird candy” would be a good morale booster.

I have eaten octopus, squid, alligator, bison, escargo, and frog legs.

Oh, and human flesh. Specifically, mine. I once had a disgusting habit of picking out small flecks of skin from my fingers, near my fingernails, and ingesting them. I tasted like pork.

(I haven’t done this in years, I conquered the horrible habit while in graduate school in my mid-twenties, in the 1980s. Who knows, maybe nowadays I taste like chicken!)

I accidentally ate myself once. My 12-year molars came in at a slight outward slant, and there really wasn’t any room in my mouth for them. One day when they were brand new I chomped off a dime-sized piece of my inner cheek by accident as I was eating lunch at school. Not knowing what to do with the bloody lump, I swallowed it. (I can still feel the scar on my inner cheek.)

Hmm, I don’t consider frog’s legs transgressive, but my wife can only think about the legless froggies when I order them.

And well, I didn’t consider it transgressive, but my friends do think I am odd when I order buche (pig’s stomach) tacos. Some people are irked by lengua tacos, but I like them as long as the little pieces are still tender.

I pan-fried a mess of mealworms with just salt and pepper. They were tasty.

The clue is in the name.

JARRED gefilte fish is indeed “transgressive”, compared to home-made. But I eat it anyway.

I gave a talk (in English) at the University of Kumamoto in the south of Japan. After they invited me to dinner at a nearby restaurant. As we were walking over the host asked me what kind of food I wanted and I said I would like to try the local specialty, whatever it was. It turned out to be raw horsemeat and raw fugu. Since this was not a specialized fugu restaurant, the fugu was prepared without the poison and was rather bland. The horsemeat was really very like raw beef of which I am quite fond.

On the same trip to Japan I was invited to give a talk at a University in Tokyo. My host took me to lunch. I forget what I ordered, probably some kind of sushi, but he ordered raw chicken and then insisted I taste it. I was reluctant but he insisted and I did. It was delicious. I should explain that we knew each other quite; he had spent many years in Montreal before returning to Japan.

On another occasion I was served sea cucumber. I do not recommend that. The occasion was my Chinese graduate student invited me to his parents’ for dinner (they had emigrated to Montreal when my student was in HS). I did not know that if you finished everything you were served, the host would feel they had to continue to offer. I guess my wife and I did finish everything (it was all really delicious and we always feel it is polite to do that), so they finally brought out the sea cucumber and we made no attempt to finish that.

Well, if you can get yourself to the Buckhorn Exchange, you can try out a whole lotta differen exotic meats. In one sitting I had alligator, rattlesnake and an Elk steak. Also along the way venison sausage.

Weirdest? Baked crickets over a dish of non-dairy ice cream. They were nutty !! I’d eat them again.

“” Tastes like chicken !! “”


Pretty sure veal and rabbit are about the most transgressive that I could cop to. Alligator and rattlesnake aren’t on anyone’s list except for the vegans.