The worst cookbook ever, packed with truly bizarre and utterly disgusting recipes from all over the world
Ever since humankind produced its first foodie, the culinary world has dished up some staggering confections which could best be described as ‘acquired tastes’: dishes such as Virgin Boy Eggs (eggs soaked in the urine of prepubescent boys); live octopus, which clutches at the diner’s tongue and throat as it is swallowed; and Beard Beer, made from the yeast found in facial hair.
In northern Greenland, the Inuit are fond of cramming as many as 500 dead auks (small sea birds) into an old seal skin which they place under a large rock until the birds have fermented into what has rightly been described as a ‘sticky, pungent, toxic, cheesy gloop’. Kiviak, as it is called, is eaten by biting off the birds’ heads and sucking out the juices.
The mighty Roman Empire was built on such delicacies as larks’ tongues, stuffed thrush, boiled flamingo and grilled cow’s womb, while the Tudors loved nothing more than a roast cockenthrice: the head and upper body of a pig carefully stitched onto the lower body and legs of a turkey.
Today, for those with an adventurous mindset and a robust life insurance policy, there is no shortage of nauseating local delicacies to enjoy. In China, not only is tuna eyeball on the menu, but also yak penis (served whole). In Vietnam, one can enjoy the still-beating heart of a freshly-killed snake; in Iceland, raw puffin heart. In the Philippines, there is duck embryo to be had – like a Kinder Surprise . . . only containing a dead foetus instead of a toy. In Sardinia, they like nothing more than a nice bit of maggot-infested cheese; and the favourite tipple of Korean foodies is Ttongsul, a wine made from the fermented faeces of a child.