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.
- Guycan Corned Mutton with Juices Added. From Uruguay via Bedessee Imports. Might have to mail order this.
- Kylmaenen Reindeer Paté
- Haggis - I should probably divide this into an "A" and "B" section; I've recently been informed that there is canned haggis available, so I'll start looking for that to give it a try. But I also want to try making a real, traditional haggis.
- The Annual Poutine Festival in Drummondville QC (thanks, Phillis!) I love poutine. A poutine festival would be like a visit to heaven.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 morons, you'd probably be surprised to find that Musk Life Savers aren't all that bad.
- Banquet Cheesy Smothered Meat Patty (Reviewed 12 September 2009)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Banner Sausage - Ewwww. I ate some in February 2010.
- 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. Done and blogged in January 2011. Click the link to go to the page and find instructions showing you how to make your own.
- 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. Done, in June 2010. This was probably the one food I found most difficult to take a first bite from. It really does look unsettling.
- 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. It turns out to be a lot like liverwurst, though a bit stronger-flavored and, of course, there's that layer of lard. Blogged in May 2012.
- Sweet Sue Whole Canned Chicken - Because Sweet Sue products aren't available in my area, I decided to mail order a few cans. However, whole canned chicken doesn't seem to be available at Amazon anymore... or anywhere else online. Blogged in June 2012