The Omnivore’s Hundred
The Omnivore’s Hundred is a collection of 100 food dishes or ingredients that Andrew Wheeler (famed for Very Good Taste) thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his or her life. The list is diverse and at times can be somewhat intimidating, but it certainly does remind us that there is a great big world of food out there to enjoy or at least sample. As Andrew says,
“Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all.”
The instructions are easy-peasy:
- Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions. If you don’t have a blog, that’s cool – print it off on paper and do it like out ancestors would!
- Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
- Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
- Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
Despite the fact that the instructions were straightforward, I didn’t follow them. Such is life. I do enjoy a good colour coding, so in addition to bolding I’m doing the ones I have tried in green, and the ones that I have not yet had are in red. The ones that make me shudder to consider the thought are in black…and also, my comments. Because I like comments.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison – I had a friend who used to go hunting and bring back venison chops, sausages, you name it.
2. Nettle tea – Sadly, I have only ever had nettle in tea. I hear nettles make a fabulous traditional Irish soup.
3. Huevos rancheros – Best hangover food.
4. Steak tartare – I eat my steak so rare it’s almost blue, and yet steak tartare is one of those things that I really have to be in the mood for or I’ll get slightly nauseous with my Rosemary’s Baby behaviour.
5. Crocodile – Well, this is kind of a lie. But I had Alligator, so does that still count?
6. Black pudding – One day. One day, I shall go to the UK and eat a proper English Breakfast…..
7. Cheese fondue – I have six (6) fondue pots.
8. Carp – I don’t discriminate against the fruit of the sea.
9. Borscht – Love it. My Mom used to make a fabulous Goulash and I thought the two were interchangeable (I was young! I was naive!) until I had traditional Borscht. Now, I love them equally but not in the same way.
10. Baba ghanoush – Ooh, during my rants about expensive grocery store dips I have not yet shown you this one! What a grievous oversight. I’ll work on that soon, I promise.
11. Calamari – I had some just yesterday, as a matter of fact!!!
12. Pho – Best Pho I ever had was in Vancouver with my brother at the Pho shop they frequent.
13. PB&J sandwich – Sigh.
14. Aloo gobi – Yum, yum!!! I had some of THAT on Friday night…..
15. Hot dog from a street cart – Uh…..I had one yesterday with some girlfriends before we hit up a show downtown…..it was sinfully delicious….
16. Epoisses – but I would like to! I’m a veritable cheese fiend, and I love the stinky ones more than I should admit…..
17. Black truffle – Shaved black truffle on pasta sauce.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – If my Mom reads this entry she’ll laugh at this one. Yes, I have had fruit wine before. My parent’s backyard is like a cross between a jungle and an orchard, and every year they make apple wine, pear wine, blackberry Bordeaux, peach mead, and all sorts of others. At most family dinners their home made wines are served….and then Mike and I sneak down into the basement before we go to pillage a few more bottles for the upcoming weeks….
19. Steamed pork buns – My friend Kim brought some over on Wednesday night. I love BBQ pork buns during dim sum.
20. Pistachio ice cream – Meh. Pistachio ice cream is okay, but pistachio GELATO is where it’s at.
21. Heirloom tomatoes – Yup. I love that they also sell them at the grocery store now, and don’t need to mortgage your house to afford them. Just…take out a loan, for a little while…
22. Fresh wild berries – Raspberries and blueberries grow wild at the cottage. In Vancouver, blackberries are all over the place like a common hedge, and you can literally walk up the road to the bus stop and pick a few handfuls of sweet, succulent berry goodness.
23. Foie gras – I feel guilty, but I like it. The best French Onion Soup I’ve ever had was made with brandy, Foie gras, and shaved black truffle. Oh jeez, I’m drooling again.
24. Rice and beans – This is what Mike gets when I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while.
25. Brawn, or head cheese – Trickery! Tomfoolery! This is NOT cheese, I know that much….I will try it one day, but today is not that day. UPDATE: My friend Lisa just brought me head cheese from the Estonian store! I had a bit of trouble with the texture, but it was delicious with whole grain mustard and red onions on rye bread!
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper – Do I have to eat the whole thing? Because…I don’t think I can. I can try, but it’s dicey.
27. Dulce de leche – So easy to make, and so good on ice-cream.
28. Oysters – Raw with lemon and a touch of tabasco or a dollop of seafood sauce, smoked, fried, poached, oh I love oysters…..
29. Baklava – The Lebanese pronounce it ‘bah-LAUW-a’
30. Bagna cauda – so good when the weather turns bitter.
31. Wasabi peas – Kim, who brought the pork buns over, also frequently gives me these. I love them.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl – In Maryland, no less! It was an awful vacation, but the seafood was delightful.
33. Salted lassi – I spent a month working in Pakistan, and almost every day I would have a lassi with breakfast. Sweet is my favourite and salted is a bit of an acquired taste, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
34. Sauerkraut – I had some sauerkraut on the street meat (#15) yesterday.
35. Root beer float – Oh, to be a kid again and not think about the calories…
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – I prefer my Scotch, but there is a time and place for Cognac too. I love the smell of cigars, but I’m not very good at puffing them without inhaling, and watching me hack and wheeze somewhat deflates the cosmopolitan sophistication of the experience….
37. Clotted cream tea – I have had clotted cream on crumpets, but never in tea. UPDATE: I’m a bit slow, and my friend Lisa just explained to me that you don’t put the clotted cream IN the tea, you eat it with crumpets…which I have done…..I feel so naive……..
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O – Darn tootin’!
39. Gumbo – I am a friend to all and every gumbo, but particularly the ones that are heavy on the okra.
40. Oxtail – Oh, oxtail soup. And curried oxtail.
41. Curried goat – Ate lots of this in Pakistan!
42. Whole insects * My toes curl at the thought.
43. Phaal – Not yet, anyway. I haven’t seen this on the menu at any restaurant we’ve been to but my eyes will be peeled…and my throat will be peeled after I eat it.
44. Goat’s milk – Yes, and goat’s cheese, please.
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu – I thought pufferfish was poisonous, but I guess I was wrong?
47. Chicken tikka masala – I also had this on Friday with the rest of the Indian food…I really don’t eat out that much, I swear!! It’s just while we were moving!!
48. Eel – BBQ Eel sushi is one of my favourites.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – Ugh. My arteries clogged just sniffing it.
50. Sea urchin – NEVER AGAIN. Unless it’s cooked….and maybe even not then.
51. Prickly pear – Love the look of it, too. So pretty!!
52. Umeboshi – Bought these as a lark from the Chinese grocery store last year. They’re incredibly sour but sweet, and quite chewy. I don’t know if I liked them, but I’m sure that I’ll forget and buy them again in the future.
53. Abalone – Again, all of my fun seafood I’ve eaten at sushi bars.
54. Paneer – Saag Paneer is one of my favourite dishes. I plan on learning how to make paneer sometime before the year is over.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – I prefer the Quarter Pounder with Cheese….and bacon…
56. Spaetzle – I used to work beside a Hungarian Restaurant where we frequently got take out, and they made a killer Spaetzle.
57. Dirty gin martini – With extra olives, please and thank you.
58. Beer above 8% ABV – Oh, to be back in University again….
59. Poutine – Do you know that Mike actually NEVER had poutine until we started dating?! FOR REAL! I was in shock. We had a junk food day last winter where we did home-cut fries, gravy, and fresh cheese curds. It was delicious and we ate merrily, but I’m totally the bigger fan of the gravy-laden goodness.
60. Carob chips – I would love to know where to get these!!
61. S’mores – I was a Brownie leader. My name was Smokey Owl.
62. Sweetbreads – Neither sweet nor bread. I was tricked into eating them by a devilish French chef named Kristoff. That said, he seared them and I think they were in a fig and port reduction. It was delicious.
63. Kaolin – does this actually count as FOOD? Really?
64. Currywurst – One day, after a few glasses of wine, I’ll tell you about the Company Picnic that I had to plan where we ended up with curried hot dogs. Unexpectedly.
65. Durian – GAAAAAH!!!! NEVER AGAIN!!!!! Oh, my nose is closing up in self defence.
66. Frogs’ legs – Meh, pretty over rated.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – Funnel cake at theme parks is an integral part of childhood summers. I also love Beaver Tails on the Ottawa canal.
68. Haggis – You can’t work in an Irish or British pub for years without trying Haggis at some point. I actually LOVE IT with ‘nips and mash’.
69. Fried plantain – Sweet or savoury, I’m in.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette – I’ve had Andouille sausage, but that was a bit lighter on the offal front….
71. Gazpacho – Regular gazpacho is fine, but Jalapeno Watermelon Gazpacho is my favourite.
72. Caviar and blini – Mmmmmm.
73. Louche absinthe – I turned to my friend Nan and said, “This is bull, I still don’t feel a thing. I’m perfectly fine. ” Then I turned to a stranger on the other side and said, “HI MY NAME IS TINA I LIVE IN TORONTO AND I REALLY LIKE SCRABBLE DO YOU WANT TO PLAY SCRABBLE HEY THAT’S A REALLY GREAT SHIRT I LIKE YOUR SHIRT WHAT’S YOUR NAME MY NAME’S TINA!!!”
74. Gjetost, or brunost – but, as with any cheese I have not tried, that’s only from lack of opportunity….
75. Roadkill * – No. Never. Not ever. That violates my sense of health and safety standards and I would do my best to prevent anyone from eating Toronto road kill, particularly if it has been dead for a while. Also….sometimes (read: often) when I drive by a dead animal on the side of the road I kind of puke in my mouth, which I think is a far more reasonable reaction than thinking, “Dinner!!”
76. Baijiu – I only wish my local liquor store was that ambitious. They have 8 types of Sake, but that’s as far as it goes.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie – If I said, “Everyone loves pie” you would know what I meant, right?
78. Snail – We ate escargot last Wednesday. I love it nestled in a mushroom cap that is wrapped in prosciutto, soaked with garlic butter, and smothered in melty mozzarella cheese. Served with warm bread, of course.
79. Lapsang souchong – I LOVE tea! I LOVE things that are smoked! Where can I GET some of this?!
80. Bellini – I scorn the Milestones style FAKE Bellini, but I’m head over heels for the original.
81. Tom yum – Any soup that has the ‘Yum’ embedded is fine by me.
82. Eggs Benedict – Mike makes great Eggs Benny.
83. Pocky – Strawberry is the best.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant – ahem, we’s the po’ folks, Mike and I.
85. Kobe beef – I know that I’m supposed to taste a discernable difference, but all that I felt was the discernable price difference……maybe I should try it again?
86. Hare – I have eaten rabbit, and now I want to make rabbit. Mike is not as excited about this venture, and flatly refused to eat it.
87. Goulash – Oh yes, please see #9!!
88. Flowers – I worked at a fabulous French resort in Northern Ontario, where they would decorate all of the plates and butters with fresh flowers from the garden, including Nasturtium and Violet.
89. Horse – Can you get horsemeat in Canada? Not that I’m in any rush….UPDATE: I just ate horse! It was a bit gamey but very lean. It reminded me of venison. Because it is so lean it was cooked medium rare, and I have to say that I heartily enjoyed it.
90. Criollo chocolate – Yes, please.
91. Spam – Tina: “Hey, how did you marinate the pork to get it so TENDER?” Friend: “Oh, it’s SPAM” Tina: “…….oh…..you fed me SPAM…….it’s actually not that bad, I think I like it!!”
92. Soft shell crab – Love it deep fried or in sushi rolls.
93. Rose harissa – Is this like regular harissa with rose water? If so, I’ll try to make it.
94. Catfish – Ah, Cajun catfish. Pure joy.
95. Mole poblano – I love Mole and Mexican cooking, but I balk at some of the ingredients (note: not ‘some’ of the ingredients, only one – LARD) especially when they’re used in large quantities, so I don’t get quite as much of an authentic taste in my mole.
96. Bagel and lox – I spent 3 years living in an area that was locally known as “Little Israel”. The bagels were SO GOOD, and I drool at the thought of the smoked meat.
97. Lobster Thermidor – I’ve had this a few times, and I’ve never actually been wowed. Probably went to the wrong restaurants?
98. Polenta – I like it hard and sliced into discs or diamonds, and I like it soft and almost pudding like. My only requirement is that there MUST be flavour added, please and thank you.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee – Not yet.
100. Snake – No. Never. Oh god, I’m starting to shiver. I have an irrational terror of snakes, and I can’t even go by their terrariums in the zoo without getting the chills and sometimes being paralyzed by fear if they lift their pointy little heads and look directly at me WITH THEIR BEADY RED EYES THAT SAY, “I WOULD EAT YOU IF I COULD, or KILL YOU at a bare minimum.” Oh man, my toes are curling just talking about this, and every hair on my arm is standing up on end. I don’t want to see snakes, I don’t want to eat snakes, I want nothing to do with any part of a snake coming within 50 feet of any part of me, and I don’t care if it’s dead or alive. I’m actually nearly hysterical as I type this, just from the mere thought. No snakes, please, snake free dining only. I need a breather.
Anyway, that’s my experience with The Omnivore’s Hundred. I think I actually did pretty well with 81/100! What do you think? How do you fare? If you were to add something on to this list, what would it be?
UPDATE: As of October 3rd, 2008 I’m now at 83! Whoo! That’s progress. Next stop will be those cheeses…
UPDATE: After visiting France we have now had Epoisses and Chitterling! Wheeeeee……I hope never to eat chitterling ever again. EVER.