Food Bucket List

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Last updated November 29, 2021

Plenty of web sites offer some kind of “foodie quiz” to supposedly determine someone's level of “foodieness”. I fell victim to the trend of creating such a list myself a few years back, but have since realized the nonsense of it. One I saw recently really set my teeth on edge because it contained so many common items, such as hot dogs, ketchup, and pineapple. I decided something else was needed.

So here it is, my version of a “Food Bucket List.” I've set it up as a “quiz” so you can determine how many on my list you've tried. Remember, this is my own list, and yours or anyone else's will certainly be different. There isn’t any result from this “quiz” that's a bad or negative result as there are no right or wrong answers.

While the quiz doesn't retain or save any personal information, it does email me your answers with your name and email, as well as cc'ing the email you provide, without saving your name, email address, IP address, or any other data from you or your computer.

Items in bold are items I've had so far. When you've completed the quiz, let me know how you did by adding your score in the comments at the bottom of this page.

Note: All representative images are my own work, and may not be used elsewhere without my written permission.
  1. Absinthe

    Banned in the U.S. from 1915 till 2007, Absinthe can have anywhere from 47% to 74% alcohol content. Rumors have always been that it’s a hallucinogenic.

  2. Alligator

    Prepared correctly, a very sweet meat that can be served as an entrée, or cut into chunks and served with a dipping sauce as an appetizer.

  3. Anchovies

    These small or tiny fish are decried as the worst pizza topping possible, mainly because of poor quality of the fish, far too much salt, or the canning. Better fish and better canning operations make for a much better experience, which I've thoroughly enjoyed.

  4. Bear

    States such as Michigan and Maine have official Black Bear hunting seasons. The meat is good in stews, sausages and soups. It must be cooked thoroughly and should not be even medium rare, with fall kills being better than spring as a bear coming from hibernation might be parasitic.

  5. Black Pudding, aka Blood Sausage

    Blood from livestock or game birds is combined with a filler of meat, nut or grain-based filled until it’s thick enough to congeal before cooking.

  6. Bologna, Fried

    Many midwesterners grew up on Fried Bologna Sandwiches. West Virginia residents take it to the next level, slicing good German bologna 3/8" to 1/2" thick then frying it slowly in a mild wing sauce, before serving it with cheese on bread or a bun slathered with the same sauce.

  7. Bologna, Ground


    One of my own Ground Bologna Sandwiches, which I made on February 28, 2016.

    Bologna itself gets such a bad rap that ground bologna sounds even worse to a great many people. My version is a quick combination of old-world German bologna, good mayonnaise, sweet pickle, onion, and salt and pepper.

  8. Bone Marrow

    More commonly available than people realize. Simply marinade cut beef or veal bones in a solution of sea salt water for 24 hours to remove the blood (changing the solution every 4 – 6 hours), then roast in the oven at 450F for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on size) until the marrow puffs. Gelatinous greatness awaits: just eat it with a spoon or have it on toast or crackers.

  9. Borscht

    A hot or cold soup based on beetroot, with numerous variations.

  10. Brains

    The brains of various mammals can be fried, pressure-cooked, slow-roasted, or pan-fried with a carmelization. Middle Eastern cultures include them in meals where the animal has been roasted whole over coals in sealed clay ovens, or in pits with hot rocks at the bootom with the pit lined with wet cloth or burlap.

    1. calf
    2. goat
    3. lamb
    4. pig
  11. Buffalo


    Our grandaughter Allie with her buffalo burger at the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming, on June 28, 2019.

    A rich cattle meat similar to beef and prepared the same. Gets very dry if overcooked.

  12. Calamari

    Generally slices of the body of squid that have been coated with batter and deep-fried.

  13. Camel Hump

    Must be from a very young camel. It’s marinated and then roasted similar to a beef sirloin roast.

  14. Camembert Cheese

    A very soft and creamy cheese that’s stronger than brie, with a thick outer layer of mold.

  15. Carp

    Can be fried or baked (be sure to score whole fish first), made into cakes similar to crab cakes, and is good for stews, chowders and pickling.

  16. Catfish

    Mostly used as poached in tomato or cream, or fried in a light batter or cornmeal dredge.

  17. Caviar

    Salt-cured eggs (“roe”) from various fish and mammals including sturgeon, beluga, salmon, trout and other specific species.

  18. Cheeks

    The rather lean cheek meat of various livestock and fish is said to be quite flavorful. Being so lean, care should be taken in its preparation to maintain tenderness.

    1. Beef
    2. Goat
    3. Grouper
    4. Halibut
    5. Lamb
    6. Pork
    7. Tuna
    8. Venisons
    9. Walleye
  19. Chicken, Black

    Black chicken, the Indonesian Ayam Cemani or similar breeds, is found in Asian markets and cuisines. The meat, feathers, bones, beak and most of the internal organs are various shades of black. But the meat is said to be soft and fragrant with a silky texture.

  20. Chicken Feet, Glazed

    Not much meat, but quite rich in flavor. Another item that’s like candy and difficult to stop eating.

  21. Chicken Livers

    These have been so common for me, either sautéed in butter or breaded with corn meal and fried, that I at first had neglected to add them to the list. I first had these as a teen and still enjoy them four decades on.

  22. Chitlins, aka Chitterlings or Tripas

    The intestines of pigs, and possibly other livestock, that has been thoroughly cleaned with multiple rinses, then simmered for hours before being made into a soup or battered and fried.

  23. Clams, Steamed (Steamers)

    Countless places throughout the U.S. offer fried clams as part of seafood platters. Fewer places offer them steamed, which is popular in New England states. This is also a soft-shelled clam, which is a different beast altogether.

  24. Clams, Whole Belly, Fried


    My whole belly clam roll at the seasonal Taste Of Maine Restaurant in Woolwich, Maine, on April 18, 2018.

    A whole belly clam consists of everything inside the clam, without trimming anything off. These are battered and deep-fried and eaten as a finger food, or served in a hoagie roll or in a grilled New England roll.

  25. Classic Dishes

    This list of classic dishes is definitely a personal list, and is not intended to represent any other list of "classic" dishes. They’re specifically more complex dishes that I would prefer to order in a restaurant instead of preparing them at home.

    1. America: Étouffée
      Shrimp, crab, or crawfish simmered in a Cajun- or Creole-seasoned sauce made from a light roux, and served over heirloom rice. The freshness of the regional ingredients matter.
    2. America: Shrimp & Grits
      Apparently a simple dish, the grits are best when made from stone-ground heirloom grits, with fresh shrimp that have been sautéed correctly. While there are variations on the dish, these two ingredients are of utmost importance to authenticity.
    3. China: Peking Duck
      While there are numerous “shortcut” recipes for this dish, the classic process includes blowing air between the meat and the skin before marinating, and roasting the duck suspended in a 500∘F oven.
    4. England: Beef Wellington
      A relatively simple dish of fillet mignon coated with a duxelles of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked until the meat is just past rare, this dish is exquisite when made by skilled hands
    5. England: Fish & Chips
      I don’t care if you think you’ve had the best fish & chips you’ve ever tasted. Unless it was the British version that was developed in the 1850s, it doesn’t count. It’s a select few species of fish with a certain batter fried in a specific oil with potatoes prepared in one of a few accepted manners. Anything else is an imitation, and likely a sad one at that. Oh, and don’t forget the actual British malt vinegar.
    6. England: Full English Breakfast
      Originating in about the 13th century, the classic presentation of this dish includes back bacon, sausages, black pudding, baked beans, fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or buttered toast, all on one large plate, and coffee or tea. With all of the ingredients being regional, it's difficult if not impossible to recreate this dish accurately at home.
    7. France: Canard à la Rouennaise
      This dish involves the use of a duck press tableside to squeeze the juices from a duck roasted rare, the juices then being sautéed into a sauce for the sliced breasts. The press runs from $1,250 - $16,000.
    8. France: Ratatouille
      Known as a "peasant dish", higher-end versions involve preparing and cooking seasonal vegetables using methods specifically for those vegetables, i.e., blanching tomatoes and sautéeing zucchini separately before combining the ingredients for a final roasting.
    9. Indonesia: Rendang
      A paste is made from garlic, onion, red chillies, turmeric, ginger, pepper, lemongrass, galangal, star anise, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves and turmeric leaves. This is then combined with small chunks of beef, chicken, or lamb, coconut milk and tamarind juice, and simmered over low heat for 1 or 2 hours. It’s the making of the paste that’s complex, which is done in Indonesia with a mortar and pestle.
    10. Italy: Pasta Bolognese
      There are many "cheats" in making a pseudo Bolognese. The classic preparation uses tagliatelle or pappardelle, both wide egg noodles that can be difficult to find. ("Spaghetti Bolognese" is wrong on so many levels.) The tomato- and red wine-based sauce of beef, pork, and sausage with chopped carrots and onion takes at least two hours to simmer.
    11. Jamaica: Jerk Meats, Poultry, & Fish
      Authentic jerk seasoning, which varies from family to family, includes Jamaican pimento, which is similar in flavor and aroma to allspice, as well as Scotch bonnet peppers for heat. In all, there may be 15 or more different spices in the blend. It’s then rubbed on chicken, beef, pork, goat, etc., or firm fish such as grouper or snapper, before being grilled slowly over open flame. The authenticity of these preparations matter.
    12. Korea: Bibimbap
      The vegetables are best prepared by someone trained in the correct methods, which includes Korean home cooks, as the cuts need to be quite precise. The sauce is also an interesting preparation … but the meats and egg are more authentic when served raw, the selction of which is best left to a professional.
    13. Korea: Meyeok Guk
      Korean Sea Mustard (wakame) soup, it is popular in homes and restaurants there, particularly among pregnant and post-pregnancy women, due to its nutrition content.
    14. Mexico: Menudo
      A soup starting with a stock made of simmered cow feet and marrow bones, to which tripe (listed elsewhere in this list), garlic, other savories, and a pepper sauce are added, as well as hominy and possibly other vegetables. My son Ryan and I enjoy authentic versions as often as possible.
    15. Phillipines: Inihaw or Inisal
      Whole roast pig can be cooked in many ways. Later known as lechón from Spanish influence, Inihaw or Inisal is a suckling pig hand-turned on a spit over charcoal for hours, while the cook almost continually applies a glaze or even a carbonated beverage to the salted skin to crisp it as much as possible.
    16. Scotland: Haggis
      A classic Scottish dish, which is banned in the U.S. because of the included lung, haggis also includes the heart and liver. Minced together with oatmeal, onion, suet and spice, the mix is stuffed into a stomach for the large haggis, or bladders for links, and simmered or roasted for a few hours. Americanized versions exclude the lung, while the stomach or bladder are replaced with other casings.
    17. Thailand: Som Tam
      This is the Thai version of spicy green papaya salad that includes toasted nuts, hot chili, shrimp or clams, and other ingredients.
    18. Various: Fruitcake
      While there are a lot of bricks with varnish on them out there, fruitcake made with care is simply amazing. I grew up enjoying some where the recipe started with "Put the ground pork fat, dark brown sugar and molasses in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour the boiling water over the other ingredients and stir until most of the pork fat is dissolved." Some of the historical variations on American fruitcake are plum pudding or figgy pudding in England, panforte and panettone in Italy, and stollen in Germany and the Netherlands.
  26. Collar, Fish

    The meaty area of the fish, behind the gills and just in front of the fillet. These are used from numerous varieties of bony fish over 10 lbs, with salmon, tuna, or even striped bass or walleye being popular options, and can be grilled or smoked.

  27. Conch Fritters

    Meat from the conch (the animal that makes the shell you hold to your ear to "hear the ocean"), mixed with other ingredients such as egg and crumbs as binders, then formed into balls and deep-fried. Generally served as an appetizer, I enjoy them so much I could eat them as a meal.

  28. Cognac

    A highly-refined brandy made from specific grapes, and having minimum distilling and aging processes that are regulated by law. I found it to be quite mild and smooth, with a note of fruitiness. Definitely an after-dinner drink.

  29. Crab, Whole, Soft Shell

    When blue crabs molt, shedding their shells, and before they develop a new one, almost the entire crab is edible whole. In the Chesapeake Bay region the mouths, abdomen and gills are removed, and the crab are then deep-fried and served on sandwiches.

  30. Crickets

    Served as a novelty in the U.S., they are eaten fried or dried by countless people around the world as a main source of protein. Foodies in America generally have them dipped in chocolate to make them easier to swallow.

  31. Dandelion Wine

    My dad made this stuff when I was growing up. It was actually made from dandelions he picked in the yard before mowing. Recipes are endless and quite simple.

  32. Deer Venison

    “Venison” is actually a broad term meaning the meat from any game animal, though most people use it without specifying when talking about deer meat. Cooked correctly the meat has very little of the “gaminess” people talk about when saying they don’t like it. Grill the steaks over high heat till medium rare, or make a sausage stuffed into natural casings.

  33. Durian

    This fruit stinks so horribly some airports in areas where it’s grown are specified as “Durian-free zones”.

  34. Eel

    One of the first items I had my kids try without allowing them to say they wouldn’t like it, they all enjoyed it and have gone on to other foods on this list. Skinned similar to a catfish it is then steamed, sautéed, grilled, fried or smoked.

  35. Eggs, Non-Chicken

    Slightly larger than a chicken egg, duck eggs are much more flavorful. A four duck egg omelet can easily be split between two adults. Emu, goose, ostrich, partridge, quail, turkey, and other eggs may also be available from some farmers or specialty stores.

    1. Duck
    2. Emu
    3. Goose
    4. Ostrich
    5. Partridge
    6. Quail
    7. Turkey
    8. Other


    At Nezinscot's Farm Store in Turner, Maine, the top compares a chicken egg with a duck egg. They occasionally also offer partridge and goose eggs.

  36. Elk

    Available in places such as Wyoming and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it turned out to not be as gamey as I imagined. It was beautifully rich in flavor, and quite easy to work with.

  37. Escargot

    Most often the snails are rinsed in the shell, a solidified herbed butter is added and the escargot are then roasted. They are enjoyed whole by removing them from the shell with a tiny fork.

  38. Eyeballs

    Yes, people do enjoy sucking the insides from roasted eyeballs from various fish, pig or cattle.

  39. Fiddlehead Ferns

    Young ferns that, oddly enough, are shaped like the head of a fiddle. They are cooked in various ways or pickled, and used in salads, soups and other dishes. They are onyx available for a few weeks in the spring.

  40. Fish Tacos

    Strips of grilled or fried mild white fish in a corn tortilla topped with a mayonnaise sauce, shredded lettuce, salsa, lime and other ingredients.

  41. Foie Gras

    The fattened liver of a duck or goose, which is seared, made into mousse, or any of a dozen or more other preparations. It has a rich, creamy, buttery flavor and texture that has to be experienced to be believed.

  42. Frog Legs


    Frog Legs I enjoyed at a former local French bistro on March 28, 2008.

    Only the legs are used in cooking, with frogs from Indonesia and surrounding areas being larger than most. If battered lightly and gently fried in clean oil, they’re moist and delectable, with no chicken-like flavor.

  43. Fugu (Pufferfish)

    Extremely toxic. Only licensed chefs in Japan and other Asian are allowed to prepare it after strict training and rigorous testing.

  44. Gefilte Fish

    Carp, Pike, Perch, Salmon or Whitefish, skinned, deboned and ground, mixed with onion, egg and matza meal, made into a log, patties or stuffed back into the fish skin, and poached in a fish stock. Served chilled.

  45. Geoduck

    A large burrowing clam generally weighing one to three pounds with a siphon for breathing while buried to about one meter deep. Usually sautéed, used in soups or stews, or raw as sashimi.

  46. Gizzards, Chicken, Fried


    The chicken gizzards and livers at the Pit Stop Pantry in Monticello, Indiana, on June 15, 2015.

    A soul food specialty, there was for many years an annual Gizzardfest in the month of June in Potterville, Michigan. The ones I enjoyed were made fresh at the Pit Stop Pantry, a gas station/truck stop just north of Monticello, Indiana, on NW Shafer Dr.

  47. Gizzards, Turkey, Pickled


    Pickled turkey gizzards at the Hy-Vee in Brookings, South Dakota, on November 26, 2021.

    Pickled turkey gizzards are a local delicacy in the plains states. They can be purcahes in jars either with bell pepper and lemon slices, or with sliced jalapeño peppers.

  48. Goat

    Goat has been prevalent as food in many cultures for centuries, particularly in the Middle East. It's roasted whole over coals in sealed clay ovens, or in pits with hot rocks at the bootom with the pit lined with wet cloth or burlap. It is also commonly separated into individual cuts and prepared similar to lamb.

  49. Gravlax

    Raw salmon fermented with a dry rub of sea salt, sugar and dill weed, it becomes like creamy butter when eaten. Can actually be had in the cafeterias of IKEA stores.

  50. Green Pea Ice Cream

    Green peas are generally sweet so adding them puréed as an ice cream ingredient works well. Some also include mint, which adds a nice freshness.

  51. Guinea Pig, aka Cuy, Cobayo, conejillo de indias

    Served fried, roasted, or roast on a spit.

  52. Head Cheese


    Head cheese made at Kilgus Meats in Toledo, Ohio, on January 1, 2017.

    The best is made by boiling the meats from a hog’s head with some spices, minus the brains and eyes. The heart and tongue may also be included. The meat is coarsely chopped, various liquids are added, and the mix is formed into a loaf pan or drained in cheesecloth bags.

  53. Heart

    Trimmed and sliced into steaks and then seared, beef heart has a deep beef flavor with only a touch of the mineral flavors of other offal. It’s also the main ingredient in the topping of the Flint-Style Coney, which I’ve been enjoying regularly most of my life. Chicken hearts are another delight, either sautéed in butter or breaded with corn meal and fried.

  54. Herring

    Small fish that are generally pickled or preserved in cream sauce. They are also split and the pickled or smoked as “kippers”.

  55. Iguana

    Kept as pets in many U.S. homes (I've wanted one myself), they can grow upwards of six feet based on the environment they live in. In the Florida Keys they're a wild invasive species. We've seen hundreds ourselves along Rt. 1's 110 mile length between Key Largo and Key West. They're hunted and grilled by families there, and served at some local restaurants.

  56. Jackfruit, Fresh

    Weighing sometimes about thirty lbs, these are sold whole or in two-pound slices in places such as Wyoming. I understand it takes a bit of skill to prepare certain parts of these correctly. I’m hoping to find them on a restaurant menu for the first time I try them.

  57. Jerky, Fresh-Made

    The bagged jerky in most convenience stores and gas stations are sad substitutes for real jerky made fresh where you buy it. It can be difficult to find, but there are countless varieties and base meats including ostrich, moose, elk and reindeer.

  58. Kangaroo

    Richer in flavor than beef and more tender, it can replace beef and other red meats in almost any dish.

  59. Kidneys

    Likely the most mineral-flavored of offal, kidneys (which extract the urine from the bloodstream) can be quite off-putting on a first taste. Because of this it’s often a favorite among adventurous eaters.

  60. Kimchi

    A dish of spicy pickled and fermented cabbage with other vegetables, many times taking months to cure. Levels of spicy heat can vary greatly.

  61. Kobe Beef

    Not a Kobe-style or the generic Wagyu beef, but the regulated beef that’s available only in Japan, that falls under the rules of the Kobe beef trademark.

  62. Liver Sausage

    Braunschweiger, which I grew up eating regularly, is a creamy and mild sausage that’s basically smoked liver sausage. The unsmoked version is particularly good, with large chunks of good liver. I just eat it with a fork, no bread or mayo required.

  63. Lobster


    Meat from a whole claw, and the tail meat, picked from my own first whole lobster at Gurnet Trading Co. in Brunswick, Maine, on September 13, 2018.

    Considered by many to be one of the elite shellfish, many times it’s difficult to find lobster that’s cooked correctly and isn’t rubbery and slightly “gamey”. Have it as fresh as possible, prepared by someone who knows what they’re doing. The best ones I’ve had so far are at Mr. Sea's Lobster Pound in Lewiston, Maine.

  64. Lutefisk

    Dried cod or other mild whitefish that is then steamed, baked or parboiled. Because of its Norwegian origins, it is then served with more comforting side dishes such as potatoes and mashed vegetables.

  65. Lunchmeats, Specialty

    These lunchmeat loaves are simply a bologna mixture with the other products folded in prior to the loaf being baked or smoked at the processing plant. It's common for people who like both products, such as bologna and macaroni and cheese, to balk at seeing the combination of the two. These are key examples of needing to try something before saying you won't like them.

    1. Jalapeño Loaf
    2. Macaroni & Cheese Loaf
    3. Olive Loaf
    4. Pickle Loaf


    Macaroni & Cheese Loaf made by Koegel Meats in Flint, my personal fave.

  66. Mackerel, Fresh

    Because of its rapid spoilage, unless it’s preserved in some way mackerel needs to be prepared and eaten the day it’s caught. That’s why it’s difficult to find.

  67. Mangosteen, Fresh

    Banned for import into the U.S. until 2007 because of the Asian fruit fly, they’re still difficult to find and rather expensive. The fruit has an inedible rind but has been called “luscious”. It can be found on occasion on dishes in high-end restaurants.

  68. Mead

    Honey Mead was quite possibly the first alcoholic beverage, over 11,000 years ago. Numerous varieties exist today but Honey Mead is certainly where to begin tasting.

  69. Mealworms

    Mealworms are eaten in many cultures around the world, including China, Ghana, Mexico, and Thailand. There are many ways to prepare them, such as frying, grinding and forming into patties for grilling, and drying and milling into flours for baking.

  70. Milk, Raw

    Milk that’s directly out of the udder, be it from cow, sheep, goat, etc., it’s been neither homogenized nor pasteurized. Only slightly more than half the U.S. allows for the sale of raw milk directly to consumers for so-called safety reasons. Maine treats foods such as raw milk with more common sense resulting in little-to-no resulting illness as per CDC data. Because of its properties it is by far the best-tasting milk there is.

    1. buffalo
    2. camel
    3. cow
    4. donkey
    5. goat
    6. lamb
    7. sheep


    The raw milk I regularly enjoy, at Nezinscot's Farm Store in Turner, Maine, on July 6, 2018.

  71. Moonshine

    High-proof spirit, generally corn whiskey, produced by Appalachian home distillers illegally. Legal “moonshine” is becoming available, with some illegal distillers becoming licensed, offering products upwards of 80 proof. Some don’t even taste like turpentine.

  72. Moose

    Available in places such as Maine, Wyoming, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I only haven’t yet had the opportunity.

  73. Morel Mushrooms

    With a very delicate flavor, fresh morel mushrooms are prized wherever they’re found. Many locations have morel mushroom collection tours and festivals when the annual harvest occurs.

  74. Mourning Dove

    Many states now offer hunting season for mourning doves. As they’re quite dry the breasts are usually soaked in a brine or milk solution overnight before grilling or sautéing.

  75. Muskrat

    While being nothing more that a water-borne rodent that lives in ditches, for the first few months of the year it’s a delicacy enjoyed by thousands as a Lenten dish at dinners hosted by organizations throughout southeast Michigan. The animals are skinned, cleaned, packed into home roasters with vegetables and roasted for hours before they’re served with mashed potatoes, corn and banana peppers, tasting like a nice roast beef but with dozens of tiny bones.

  76. Octopus

    Cook it rapidly, as in a wok for a salad or on a grill for an entrée, or very slowly, for an hour or two. In-between is where it gets that rubbery texture people don’t like. It can also be canned, which is quite good.

  77. Ostrich

    Quite popular at game dinners as a burger, there are numerous other methods for preparation as well.

  78. Oxtail

    Kind of a misnomer now, the meaty bones of the tail of any kind of cattle (even though the name used to be accurate). Traditionally used in soups and stews as part of many cultures’ use of “nose-to-tail” of any animal throughout history, they are now also braised or roasted as entrées in higher-end dishes.

  79. Oysters


    The last 9 freshly-shucked Glidden Point oysters, at the Woodshed Taproom at Maine Cabin Masters HQ in Manchester, Maine, on August 27, 2020.

    On the half-shell. No ice involved, it should be at room or seawater temperature, the fresher the better. Shoot it in one gulp, that’s the best way to really enjoy them.

  80. Paczki

    A Polish delicacy made popular in Hamtramck, Michigan, usually enjoyed on-or-around Fat Tuesday. Home cooks would empty their pantries of fats, sugars, fruits and other baking items for Lent and make these beautiful fruit-filled lard bombs. If you think you’ve had a Paczki and think it’s just a jelly doughnut … No, you haven’t had a Paczki.

  81. Pasty


    A beef pasty from Muldoons Pasties in Munising, Michigan, on October 31, 2019.

    Sort of like a meat pie, this is a complete meal in a crust. People from Cornwall brought the recipe here to work in the mines of the upper peninsula of Michigan and other midwestern states. Rutabaga is a common ingredient. It’s a mix of cut meat, starches, vegetables and lard laid into one side of a round crust, then folded, sealed with a decorative braiding around the crust, then baked and served with gravy or “red sauce”.

  82. Phall Curry

    Not actually a dish from the region of India, Phall originated in Birmingham, UK, and then to NYC. Considered by many to be the hottest curry available, some curry shops have ongoing Phall Curry eating competitions.

  83. Pheasant

    A game bird that can definitely end up gamey if it isn’t cooked correctly, this is one where “low and slow” is apparently the key. Basting helps. The result is supposedly something special.

  84. Pickled Pigs Feet

    Offered in jars in supermarkets in the midwest, they’re even better when pickled in someone’s home kitchen using fresh trotters.

  85. Pig Stomach, aka Buche

    Knowing my affinity for authentic Mexican food, Ruben at Rosa’s & Ruben’s food truck in Cody, Wyoming, offered me a sample of Tacos de Buche, or pig stomach tacos, which was their family dinner one evening in May, 2019. It wasn’t chewy at all as described elsewhere and was simply delicious, with a rich pork flavor and a texture closer to the inner layers of a roasted pig skin.

  86. Plantains, Fried

    Plantains, which are similar to bananas but richer and more fibrous, absolutely need to be cooked before they can be eaten, but they end up like candy and it’s difficult to quit.

  87. Pork Belly


    A serving of my own oven-roasted pork belly on April 16, 2018.

    The sound of the name is enough to make a lot of people cringe. But "pork belly futures" have been important in markets for a long time because it's what used to make bacon. By itself, it's cut into chunks, a rub it applied, it's cooked slow to soften the inside, then cooked rapidly to crisp the outside. It's popular as a standalone dish, in sandwiches, or as a topping for handmade ramen.

  88. Pork Rinds, Fresh Fried, aka Cracklins


    Fresh pork rinds, which were still warm, at Veronica's Market in Adrian, Michigan, on May 8, 2012.

    No, not that bagged stuff on the shelves in the potato chip aisle at the grocery chain. The real thing is freshly made from pigskin and served while it’s still warm from the fryer.

  89. Poutine

    Considered by some to be the “Canadian national dish”, it consists largely of French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds. It’s even served at fast food chains throughout Canada. However, high-end versions exist particularly in cities such as Montreal where Chefs cook the fries in duck fat, top the fries with a duck gravy and then include more expensive toppings on the dish.

  90. Prickley Pear

    An odd looking thing, it’s basically a cactus fruit. Handle with care because it’s very … well, prickly. But inside is a luscious fruit that can be made into preserves, candies, and used in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

  91. Rabblt

    Eaten fried, or made into a stew or gumbo, if it’s prepared correctly it will taste like rabbit, not chicken. There’s a nice difference.

  92. Raccoon

    Traditionally a southern dish, raccoon hunting seasons exist throughout the U.S. The animals are cleaned with scent glands removed, then parboiled with potatoes and other vegetables prior to baking.

  93. Rattlesnake

    After skinning and deboning, rattlesnake is normally fried, stewed or poached. Common dishes are chilis, pastas, and soup or stew.

  94. Reindeer

    Farmed in areas such as Alaska and Norwegian and Alpine countries in Europe, reindeer meat is said to almost purple in color. It's separated into individual cuts for cooking or smoking, or made into soups, sausages, or jerkies.

  95. Sardines


    These Bar Harbor Foods Skinless, Boneless, Smoked Sardine Fillets are one of my favorite snacks, especially when drizzled with olive oil, or served over Jasmine rice with a touch of soy sauce.

    Sardines get a bad rap because they're a canned fish that doesn’t fit what people think preserved fish should taste like (i.e., most canned tuna). I've enjoyed them my whole life, particularly those that are smoked, or preserved in mustard sauce.

  96. Sauerkraut, Raw

    Most of the sauerkraut in supermarkets is a highly-processed food. Raw sauerkraut is simply shredded cabbage and salt, stuffed into crocks and sealed for at least 45 days before opening. Variations include the addition of caraway or poppy seeds, red cabbage, carrots, beets, peppers, garlic, and many others.

  97. Scallops

    Farmed in beds in most oceans, the meat of the scallop is usually seared and used as the main ingredient for an entrée.

  98. Scrapple

    A mush of hog trimmings and offal, combined with cornmeal and seasonings in a hog stock. This is made into a loaf, from which slices are cut and panfried as a breakfast meat. I dredge the slices in flour and fry it in lard, making it nice and crisp. Mary and I agree it comes across as a mild breakfast sausage

  99. Smelt

    Small fish indigenous to the Great Lakes area. When smelt are running it’s popular to have smelt dinners where the cleaned whole fish are pan-fried in a cornmeal batter. They’re also eaten whole as the bones are too small to remove and are also edible.

  100. Spam, Fried

    Even people who don’t like Spam have said they enjoy a breakfast of Fried Spam & Eggs, which became popular on Hawaii during World War II.

  101. Squid Ink


    A squid ink Strozzapreti (aka Cavatelli or Sicilian Casarecce depending on the length), that I served with a local marinara and andouille sausage, on December 14, 2020.

    The only natural way to achieve a perfectly-black color in food, squid ink is both flavorless and odorless. Its use as a food coloring ranges from coloring pasta, to its use in cake, cookie, and pastry decorating. I must say it was really only a novelty, the ink really adding nothing to the pasta but the black color.

  102. Squirrel

    Squirrel hunting is extremely common, with seasons being long and daily limits being quite good. Recipes abound as there are countless ways to prepare them. Just make sure to get all the buckshot out. The one we enjoyed was hunted by our son Ryan when he was sixteen, which he cooked via suggestions from his hunting mentor who’d been hunting for more than 50 years. The squirrel was very sweet, juicy and quite enjoyable.

  103. Sturgeon

    A spiny and quite prehistoric family of fish, sturgeon live in both fresh and salt waters north of the equator, growing to be from 6 – 12 feet in length. Both their meat and caviar are prized for their richness. Sturgeon can be grilled or smoked, and can be quite expensive.

  104. Sweetbreads

    Not a bread of any kind, this is the term for calf or lamb thymus or pancreas. Generally used in stuffing, terrines or patés, they are also poached in milk before frying and served by themselves or as part of another dish.

  105. Swordfish

    Served as steaks or the collar of the fish, they’re either simply seasoned or marinated before grilling.

  106. Tartare

    The thought of eating raw ground beef, mixed with herbs and chopped onion, was once a scary thing for me, especially topped with a raw egg. I vowed it was the thing I would never try. A proud chef friend placing one in front of me unannounced made me change my tune. And it was one of the best things I ever ate. Kibbie Nayyah is a similar preparation which can also include lamb and/or goat. I enjoyed the lamb Kibbie Nayyah at Sidon Mediterranean Grille in Toledo, with spiced minced raw lamb and bulghar wheat, as well as onions, pine nuts, and other flavors, served with flatbread.

    1. Buffalo
    2. Elk
    3. Goat
    4. Heart
    5. Lamb
    6. Liver
    7. Ostrich
    8. Rabbit
    9. Reindeer
    10. Steak


    The first serving of Steak Tartare I enjoyed, with my then-17-year-old son, at a local French bistro, on March 9, 2007.

  107. Testicles, Bull, aka Rocky Mountain Oysters


    The Rocky Mountain Oysters at the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming, on March 1, 2019.

    Not oysters at all, Rocky Mountain Oysters is the rather playful name for bull testicles. Removed from younger bulls prior to brandng, the outer membrane is removed from the testicle, which is then traditionally seasoned well before being battered and fried. The Rocky Mountain Oysters we first enjoyed were at Irma Restaurant & Hotel in Cody, Wyoming. Founded by Buffalo Bill Cody in 1902, the restaurant lists the appetizer as “Buffalo Bill’s original sack lunch.” The thick slices of testicle had a crisp batter on them. They were meaty with a minor “bite” to their texture, tasting like a good sirloin. We thoroughly enjoyed them, and will have them again.

  108. Tongue


    The Lengua Tacos at Esmerelda's in Monticello, Indiana, on August 27, 2015.

    Beef or sheep's tongue are the most common. It's boiled or scalded to remove the skin, and can then be sautéed or panfried. It's then used in dishes such as Lengua Tacos, or as chunks in Blood-Tongue Sausage.

  109. Tripe

    The lining of the stomach of a cow, the honeycomb structure of tripe is most commonly found in the Mexican soup Menudo, although tripe can be prepared a number of ways.

  110. Truffle, White or Black


    Shaved black truffle on my Truffle Macaroni and Cheese at the Truffle Truck in Wells, Maine, on Father's Day, June 17, 2018.

    Former and latter, the first and second most expensive fungus on the planet, used sparingly (sliced extremely thin) to enhance the flavor of dishes.

  111. Turducken

    A deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck stuffed inside a deboned turkey, tied with twine then roasted. Supposedly quite good if seasoned and cooked properly, with a lot of good variations in meat selection for diners.

  112. Turtle, Fried

    The body of a snapping turtle can be very meaty. Removed from the shell, battered and deep fried, one turtle can generally feed two people.

  113. Turtle Soup

    There’s a place near us where the owner makes fresh turtle soup from Lake Erie turtle every day. Everyone who tries it becomes addicted, and orders it every time they go. It has beautiful tender chunks of turtle on a beef broth with good vegetables. Excellent stuff.

  114. Uni


    The top hand roll in this pic contains three sections of uni, at Mr. Tuna in Portland, Maine, on September 5, 2020.

    Go snorkeling. Find sea urchins on the bottom. Pick up the spiney creatures with gloved hands. On-land, flip them over and use scissors to open the underside. Use a spoon to eat the sea urchin roe right out of the animal at seawater temperature. Delicious!

  115. Vegemite

    Made from leftover brewer’s yeast extract as a paste with a few other ingredients, Australians spread it thin on toast as part of their morning meal. Has flavor and texture that differs from the New Zealand and British versions of Marmite.

  116. Wasabi

    This is the spicy green paste found in Asian cuisines. Various legumes (soybeans, peas, etc.) are also fried or roasted, coated with a wasabi powder and sold as a hot spicy snack which is quite addictive.

  117. Whisky, Single Malt

    Only Scottish whiskys (no 'e'), such as Glenlevit, Macallan and the like, can be trusted to be true single malt whiskys due to better regulations there.

Additional Questions
  1. Steak Doneness

    Please select how you like your steak cooked.

  2. Egg Type

    Please select your single favorite egg preparation.

Average quiz results so far range in the 40s.

The highest answer was was 105, or 89%, from a Chef in Jackson, Wyoming, who said "Part of my job is trying new foods and learning more about them."

Number of bolded items (i.e, items I've tried): 94

Please include your name and email.

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5 thoughts on “Food Bucket List”

  1. I have tried 80 of the items on the list. Many were tried while I played basketball in Europe and Asia. I was willing to try many one time but the dreaded “eat with your eyes first” kicked in. They all were interesting and only a few were not desirable to me.

    Nice article, Dave!

  2. Number Of Items Selected: 104 out of 171, or 61%
    If it looks good, eat it!
    Any fans of salty black licorice?

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