09 September, 2009

My Grail List

 This post is no longer being updated.  To keep track of the Grail List, go to the tab bar just under the header and click on "The Grail List" for updates and current status.

I have what I call a "Grail List." It's a list of foods and/or culinary experiences (many of them bizarre) which I am endeavoring to taste or try. This list predates the start of Dave's Cupboard, so although I'll be writing about many of these items as I tick them off the list, some of them will be listed with a brief explanation but no individual blog entries. Entries in bold type are "checked off" and are moved to the bottom of the list as they are achieved.

  1. Shagbark Syrup - Made from the boiled bark of the shargbark hickory tree, this syrup is available commercially at an exorbitant price from the only commercial manufacturer of the product. However, it's relatively simple to make. I am currently searching for an openly-foragable shagbark tree or two. Gathering the bark will not harm the tree - it sheds it's bark, so foraging enough for a pot of syrup will do no harm at all to the tree itself.

  2. Oscar Mayer Liver Cheese - a luncheon loaf wrapped in sweet tasty lard. Actually, it doesn't even have to be Oscar Mayer if I find that another company makes it.

  3. Guycan Corned Mutton with Juices Added. From Uruguay via Bedessee Imports. Might have to mail order this.

  4. Kylmaenen Reindeer Paté

  5. Sweet Sue Whole Canned Chicken

  6. Balut - My local Asian supermarkets sell what they refer to as "baby chicken eggs" and "baby duck eggs." I need to find proper cooking instructions.

  7. The Annual Poutine Festival in Drummondville QC (thanks, Phillis!) I love poutine. A poutine festival would b e like a visit to heaven.

  8. Insects - I've eaten toasted mealworms (crunchy with a flavor vaguely reminiscent of toasted sesame seed, much more disgusting to look at than taste) and cricket. The cricket was at the center of a minty-flavored lollypop called a "Cricket Lick-It" and reminded me of a peanut and I would not describe it as "delicious," merely "okay." I'm not eager to try any large fleshy larvae or pupae, but since they're not all that different from snails, shrimp, or lobster when all's considered, I might do it anyway.

  9. Blind Robin Smoked Ocean Herring - these were easy to find because a local supermarket used to carry them regularly in the seafood section, and many stores around me still have smoked herring. I found them to be very salty and very heavily smoked, so much so that they tasted more like "ashtray" than "herring." There are other smoked fish I've enjoyed more.

  10. Musk Life Savers - Sweet, perfumy, and floral. If the only reference to them you're familiar with is from ignorant "worst food" lists posted to the internet by retards, you'd probably be surprised to find that Musk Life Savers aren't all that bad.

  11. Banquet Cheesy Smothered Meat Patty (Reviewed 12 September 2009)

  12. Tengu Clam Jerky - Delicious and rather tender morsels of semi-dried clam. Probably one of the best Asian dried fish snacks I've ever tried.

  13. Canned Pork Brains in Milk Gravy (Formerly made by Armour, but discontinued; it's now made by Rose, available in 5.5-ounce cans.) Done! Reviewed here.

  14. KFC's Double Down sandwich: Pepper jack cheese and bacon, between two fried chicken breast fillets which serve as the "bun." This is in test markets right now - including Providence RI which is fairly close to me. I hope to find a KFC selling it soon. Done! Reviewed here.

  15. Pickled Lamb's Tongue - I love these. I used to buy the jars of Rogers Brand Pickled Lambs tongue at a local supermarket, but I haven't seen them offered in years (since that particular market closed, in fact.) I've since found out that the Rogers Company went out of business a few years back; now I'm looking for a similar product.

    Update - 6 October 2009: Apparently, there are no companies in the US still making pickled lamb's tongue commercially. However, using a pork tongue recipe as a base, I have developed my own successful recipe for curing and pickling lamb's tongue, which you can find here.

  16. Trek'n Canned Cheeseburger - From what I can find out, this is available only in Germany and Austria, and no mailorder option is available for delivery to the United States. - Done! Blogged on 10 October 2009. Short version: It sucks.

  17. Banner Sausage -  Ewwww. I ate some in February 2010.



Phyllis said...

Hi Dave! Your blog is cracking me up, especially the dollar store nightmares (I've actually seen those La Sierra beans LOL)
And I have a couple suggestions for your grail list...

giant beetle larvae/sago worm (if you ever happen to find yourself in the jungles of Malaysia)- they taste like sweet shrimp. I guess a suitable alternative would be silkworm pupa (check the aisles of your Asian supermarket)

poutine (a true Canadian delicacy)

century egg, one of my favorite foods (a good stepping stone before balut?!)

grass jelly (Asian supermarket aisles) - add to brown sugar, evaporated milk and ice cubes to make a refreshing drink

Looking forward to reading more of your blog :)

p.s. I've been looking everywhere for those coconut M&Ms but I think the limited time period is over :(

Michael said...

Banner sausage is nasty.

Posted 9-28-01 to NCE:
The sausage, on the other hand: an adventure. It
came out of the can wet and pink, rather vomitous-
looking, with a strong smell of tripe. I fried up a
small patty just to see what it would do, and it
refused to stay patty-shaped but rather oozed around
a bit forming a tough brown crust on the bottom; the
crust tasted like tripe; the pink liquidy insides
tasted sort of like tripe but also sort of canned hash.
Not by any stretch of the imagination resembling any
kind of sausage, unless there is a kind of andouillettes
that are uglier than the ones that I have already tried.

Dave said...

Michael, I find it amazing (and kind of cool) that you can pull up something you wrote online eight years ago.

Thanks for the warning. I actually found a can of Banner Sausage and it's waiting for the right moment in the pantry.

J. Astro said...

I'm -assuming- we're talking about the same thing here - - I've had those Banquet cheese-covered meat patties...

Cover anything in cheese and I'm sold, & my first experiences with these 'meals' were pretty decent for, like, a buck twenty-five... but either I have really terrible luck or something's amiss, because the last two times I had 'em I found weird material inside. Time before last was a hair, definitely not mine, packaged in & pokin' outta the frozen cheese sauce, plain as day. The last time was a bunch of crumbly, blackened, soot-like stuff top of the meat, that might've just been burnt patty or something, but it was kinda unappetizing.

Be careful when you crack open one of these, man. Not trying to kill your buzz on these, it's just that I've pretty much sworn 'em off outta fear that there will be something even worse in the next one. :\

toe-knee said...

balut is actually really good.
the easiest way to cook them is just boil them for like 15 minutes like a regular hard boiled egg.
some people serve it with a little vinegar to temper the flavor, but i've never needed it. to me it tastes like a regular hardboiled egg and the little ducky tastes similar to chicken liver. you should try it for sure :)

Dave said...

Toe-knee - Thanks for the instructions. I'm going to pick up a couple "baby duck eggs" next time I'm at the Asian market.

My wife and daughter are gonna gag like hell.

hawk krall said...

This blog is fantastic.. I never thought I'd find heirloom tomatoes, vintage advertisements and canned brains all in the same place.

I once had a CAN of vegetarian hot dogs that I got from a health food store in a sketchy flea market, super rough.