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5 Gross Food Items That Are Only Gross Because Our Brains Said So

(Obligatory ‘Temple of Doom’ reference.)

By Jason Iannone

The Internet is rife with lists about weird, disgusting food, and most of them boil down to “I can’t order this at Applebee’s, therefore it’s gross.”

Truth is, unless it’s a rock, a clump of dirt, actively poisonous, or technically alive, you can eat just about anything on Earth. The only real issue is the psychological barrier. If you can get past that (not to mention your gag reflex,) you’ll find a whole new world of taste sensations. Such as …

5. Animal Fetuses


One of the most taboo things any chef could stick on their menu is a fetus. We’re not talking about human fetii, so don’t worry. Those things needs tons of ketchup before becoming even remotely palatable.

The two recipes that tend to come up the most, both in conversation and by tourists running for the toilet after realizing what they just consumed, are Kutti Pi and Balut. Kutti Pi is the roasted flesh of a goat fetus, while Balut is the fetus of a duck, boiled semi-alive in the egg and then eaten, beak and all. Both are completely edible, and just as tasty as if the butcher had destroyed the animal after a couple years of life.

Yet, for reasons that nobody can properly explain, the idea of eating an animal fetus is horrid, even among people who have no problem eating the same creature post-birth. Do we feel like we’re committing an abortion by doing so? We shouldn’t because, call us crazy, but we’re guessing goat and ducks don’t give a shit about that particular issue. Or perhaps it’s because, to our eyes and brains, fetuses look like aliens and eating an alien would probably be creepy and wrong? Because if that’s the case, explain our love of lobsters.

Balut’s icky reputation is especially odd, because it’s the middle stage of an animal that’s a perfectly acceptable meal in every single other stage. Eggs? Omelette time. Roast duck? Fire up that grill! Yet when it’s not an egg, but not yet a quacker, we run away screaming.

4. Baby and Pet Food

For so many of us, the idea of eating kitty and puppy food, or swiping half of Junior’s mushy sloppy din-din, is one of the saddest fates imaginable. It brings up images of dementia and destitution, of people falling on such hard times that they’re forced to dine on Whiskas and Gerber just to save a dime or two.

There’s two things wrong with this picture. First off, anyone who eats this stuff out of financial desperation is doing it wrong. if you really want to eat cheap, Ramen noodle bricks are way cheaper, as is a can of Chef Boyardee if you split it into two meals. It’s still not exactly a Grade-A sirloin, but at least now you have something that goes well with a dash of Frank’s Red Hot.

Secondly, baby and pet food is absolutely real food. The only reason we look down on the idea of eating them is because they’re “not meant for us.” This is pure hoseshit — a typical pet food recipe is little more than ground-up meat and bones, with water and supplements added. In short, it’s people food. That includes the bones — bone meal powder is a legitimate source of calcium, so we see no reason why it can’t be enjoyed in ground-up form as well. Just watch out for any jagged edges.

And baby food? That’s even less of a foreign substance, since it’s literally just pureed big people food. In fact, you might be eating “baby food” right now. Mashed potatoes? Applesauce? That’s little more than baby food marketed to adults. You can probably add strained carrots and liquid chicken to your plate as well, with very little complication. Maybe mix it with some beer if you want to feel more like a grown-ass human.

3. Weird Body Parts

For the most part, when deciding what part of an animal to eat, we stick to a few tried and true body parts — breasts, legs, thighs, shoulder, muscle, skin, crap like that. The more exotic among us chew on some select internal organs — tongue, liver, kidneys, and the like. But even those brave souls quiver at the concept of eating REALLY internal organs — brains, lungs, intestines, cock, and the icky-poo like.

Other than not being used to them and therefore rejecting them, there’s no reason for us to be afraid of any animal body part. Cooked properly, just about any part of an animal is edible — warthog anus is an actual delicacy, after all (though you may want to wash and scrub it at least 45,000 times before dropping it onto the grill.) Eating monkey brains, for example, doesn’t give your own brain a disease, unless you eat it raw out of a live monkey’s head, as per urban legend. Of course, if you do that, then you already have a disease, albeit a mental one.

Lungs are a rare treat, to say the least, but they’re 100% edible as well. When cut up and fried, they look just like chips. Of course, if you want to try lungs, you’ll have to not be in the United States (where selling them is banned.) If you can’t skip away from the Sweet Land of Liberty for supper, then you can always just buy the animal and slaughter it by yourself, and then sit down to enjoy a plate of precious air sacs.

Speaking of sacks, eating an animal’s penis (bull penis, mainly), is not disgusting, wrong, a secret aphrodisiac, or a bestiality charge waiting to happen. It’s just food. The meat’s tough and gamey, but also low in cholesterol and loaded with vitamins. Plus, they don’t have to serve it to you as one giant long penis. You can eat it in bite-size kebab chunks, or dunk it in some soup, as a way to slowly train yourself to eat dick and love it.

2. Animals With the Head Still Attached

Every other part of the animal can look perfect and delicious and well-seasoned, but the second you stick their head next to the meat, people run away. The psychological taboo towards eating something with eyeballs is that massive. It’s like we think the animal is staring at us while we’re eating it, silently cursing us while telepathically summoning its still-living brethren to seek brutal, bloody revenge. Even if we know the animal is dead, cannot see us, and is probably not telepathic, we still don’t like to chow down on chicken if the head is still attached, mouth eternally open for a bawk that will never come.

But realistically, if the head is simply there for decoration, or as window dressing at some meat kiosk, then it should be very easy to ignore. Simply select the meat you want, while blindfolded if you must, and then leave. Just because the head wasn’t tossed into the Pit of Mordor the second they slaughtered the body doesn’t mean the meat is tainted in any way.

Second, if they actually expect you to at the head, you can definitely do it. Cheek, tongue, ears, snout, eyeballs — everything outside of the hair is edible, and hopefully your host knew enough to remove the hair beforehand. So in short, animals heads are not a gateway into the animal’s soul. In fact, if you cut the skull open the right way, it would make a lovely plate for the tasty, tasty eyeball meat that nobody else wants to touch. Dip it in fondue and let your tastebuds tango.

1. Your Pets

This might be the biggest psychological no-no of them all. Eat a dog? That’s like eating our best friend who licks himself and pees on everything they shouldn’t! But our inability to eat anything that woofs and mews is pure emotion and brain fuckery. They’re not poisonous, and they’re no more or less healthy than any other animal. But since they’re our buddies, we feel legitimately horrible about the idea of cooking and eating them.

Except nobody’s telling you to eat YOUR pet. That loyal pooch who lovingly lies by your feet and looks up at you with pure love and adoration even if you don’t do anything? That gorgeous feline who apathetically lies far away from you and glares at you like you’re a complete moron — they’re safe. But if you’re in a restaurant, and dog is on the menu, chances are it isn’t yours, so order away.

Doing so would not make you a hypocritical monster either. You can go home and continue to be a good pet owner after your very memorable meal. Your dog will not realize you just ate a member of its species, and will not shun you in disgust. They might sniff you incessantly, but that’s about it. These are the same critters that forget they pooped on the rug two seconds after they did it. It’d be awful hard for them to hold a grudge over your breath smelling suspiciously like butt of Irish Setter.

And your cat just wouldn’t give a shit either way. It’s a cat, after all.

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