There’s this list going around Facebook — it’s a list of the 100 foods to try before you die. When I took the quiz it told me the average user could cross off 40 items from the list, but I only had 26! Granted, I didn’t even try Caesar salad ’till I was 17, so no wonder.
So what have I eaten? In alphabetical order…
My sister and I went down to New Orleans in August 2009. On our second day there we ducked into Pat O’Briens to get out of a torrential downpour. Unfortunately, several Hurricanes and two plates of jambalaya and muffaletta later, it was still raining. Kay decided we had to order more food to be able to stick around, and she convinced me to try Alligator Bites — according to the menu, that’s Louisiana alligator tenderloin coated with spicy corn flour, deep-fried, and served with Honey Creole Mustard sauce.
It tasted like chicken. I’m not joking. But bear in mind that we had been enjoying all the libations NOLA has to offer, so your experience might vary from mine.
I didn’t know what baklava was until I moved to BC and discovered that the best Greek restaurant ever is in a tiny town in the Kootenays. I ate my weight in gyros and donairs from Tony’s, but ignored the baklava until a friend told me what it was and I realized what I’d been missing. The last time I had it was in a random restaurant in Jasper while Matt and I were calling our parents to let them know we were engaged.
Are there people out there who haven’t had BBQ ribs?
I counted myself as having tried a bellini, though I’ve only tried the chain restaurant versions. I don’t know if that’s authentic enough!
Biscuits and Gravy
Matt started making this earlier in the year when I woke up one day with a craving for it. He uses biscuit mix but it’s still phenomenal — and he banned himself from making it any more than once every two months or so because it’s a (delicious) heart attack on a plate. I’ve also tried it in the South!
My last name ends in -ski. Enough said, I think.
My parents took my sister and I to Mexico when I was 18. We stayed at a resort so the food was, for the most part, standard resort fare (i.e. what you didn’t eat in the dinner buffet became breakfast and lunch, free hot dogs for all!). One night they had a traditional Mexican meal, however — the band played right beside our table and the dinner food seemed bland but man those churros were good!
I’m pretty sure my first eggs Benny experience was also in BC — if you tell me I get anything I want off the menu for my staff breakfast meal, why wouldn’t I pick the most expensive thing? Eventually the kitchen staff started putting fruit on my plate instead of hashbrowns out of concern for my health and then management came down with an order that staff could only have one poached egg with Hollandaise, not two. I like to think I had a hand in that.
I’ve made it twice now myself, from scratch, and I’m still working on getting the Hollandaise right. It’s another thing we aren’t allowed to eat terribly often so I don’t get a lot of practice!
The first time I remember trying this was in Nashville, or on the way there, off of my sister’s plate and my father’s insistence. The second time I sort-of remember eating catfish was in New Orleans, on the same day as the alligator experience, except at that point I had drank more than a few daiquiris to go. It also tasted like chicken…
I tried this courtesy of eleventh-grade Spanish class. My teacher was really into plantains at the beginning of the year and I remember chopping and chopping and chopping and chopping so we could serve them to our parents during open house night. I keep meaning to try making these again but I’m pretty sure plantains would cost roughly a million dollars up here.
Disneyworld, just before dark, still kind of damp from good ol’ Florida downpours. Overpriced, and damn tasty.
I never ever thought I’d willingly try haggis, but every summer during a music and culture festival here in town, there’s a sort of mini food festival that runs alongside it, with local people from all different backgrounds bringing in different foods that you can buy for a minimal price. Matt and I went up to get pizza or something boring like that and I wavered when one of the people working the stand asked me if I wanted to try the haggis a lovely Scottish lady had brought. She ended up handing over her own serving of haggis and let me try a bit — it tasted like Thanksgiving stuffing.
Key Lime Pie
My mom started making this when we vacationed in the Keys about ten years ago. The real thing is so much better than that neon crap they sell in grocery stores! I make a dairy-free version (recipe here) that is simple and good, but nothing beats a legit key lime pie.
I actually tried this one in northern Ontario, believe it or not! There’s a fantastic Indian restaurant nearby and their food is hot. Knowing that, and knowing dairy is good for cutting heat, I ordered a mango lassi on our second visit there and now I won’t hit the buffet without one.
I think I’m probably the only person in the world who is underwhelmed by lobster. I tried it for the first time when I was 19 or 20, just a bite off of someone else’s plate, and I think it had been so hyped up to me at that point that it would have had to be seriously amazing to have an impact. Even dipped in the butter stuff, it was anticlimactic. I’d rather order something else and save my money (I know! I’m lame!).
This one is a stretch — I’ve tried pretty much a spoonful of someone else’s pho, and it was the mild, chicken-soupy kind, not the type with all the tripe and stuff in it. My dad loves pho so I’m sure I will get the chance to walk on the wild side again.
My sister went through an anime phase in high school, and my dad shopped at a grocery store in the city that had a well-stocked global food section.
Speaking of my sister, she and her husband had an oyster bar at their wedding. I managed to avoid it because we were having photos taken during the appetizers, but post-reception, at the after party, I found myself surrounded by chefs (because my brother-in-law is a chef) who insisted I try one. I had consumed enough hard cider that it seemed like a good idea, which quickly became a bad idea when it got stuck halfway down my throat, putting me dangerously close to throw-up territory — I had one chef yelling at me to just swallow it and everything would be okay, and another yelling at me to savour it. I managed to gag it down, and when asked if I’d do it again, smiled and said, “Sure, why not?”
I blame that oyster for how bad I felt the next day — not the cider.
Root Beer Float
I practically grew up on floats, of all kinds. My grandma always kept her freezer stocked with ice cream and her back room stocked with pop, and my cousins and I would mix all different combinations together. Still, root beer is a classic for a reason!
I was a Brownie, and then a Girl Guide — I kinda had to try s’mores. My sister and I also went through a phase of making them in the microwave. They seem to have made a resurgence lately, and I really want to try making one with a peanut butter cup, because I’m a straight-up glutton.
Remember how I’m Polish? Yeah. This was one of those forced-taste things and even as a grown-up I can’t get over the smell of it.
I tried this in Kimberly, BC, which has this kind of bizarre Bavarian tourist-oriented portion of town filled with restaurants and stores. It was really freaking good and I’ve been trying to find a place to eat spaetzle ever since.
Because my dad got to decide what we ate when we were kids. Yuck. There is a can of Klik, which is pretty much the same thing, that has been sitting in our cupboard for awhile, and Matt won’t let me donate it to the food bank.
Sweet Potato Fries
Mmmm. Especially with a good cajun mayo. My favourite sweet potato fries were actually a random treat from a Peterborough restaurant, Fat Belly Mama’s, where I ate with Matt and his mom two Christmases ago. I wish I could make them as good at home!
My dad hunts, my mom used to hunt, and a heck of a lot of my aunts/uncles/cousins/friends hunt. While I don’t think I’ve eaten a venison steak (that I know of, at least recently) I have eaten too many venison pepperettes to count.
That’s my list! What, on this list, have you eaten? What sounds the most appetizing and what sounds the least?