The omnivore’s 100

If you grew up in South Africa (possibly also in the US and UK?) at the same time as I did, you'll remember the old Electrolux slogan:  "Nothing sucks like Electrolux".  Well, I have now conclusively proved this slogan wrong by discovering something that sucks a lot worse:  losing. 

Yup, the votes are in and counted and my story didn't win the Can You Twist short story competition.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect R10,000.  A thousand thank yous to those kind souls who did vote and to my cheerleaders who were so encouraging throughout the competition, but in the end those who did vote for me were outnumbered by those who didn't.  Well done to Ragel whose story won, but I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn't gutted.

In the words of the inimitable Bill Murray in Stripes: "And then, depression set in."

In my depressed post-loss blog trawling I found this over at Andreea's blog and thought it might cheer me up.  Nothing like some gratuitous list-making to brighten my mood…! Andrew of Very Good Taste has posted his totally subjective list of the 100 good, bad amd ugly things that every omnivore should try.  He's asked other bloggers to do the same, so here goes mine.  The rules are as follows:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Andrew's blog linking to your results.

My total is 58 and there are very few things on the listI absolutely won't eat (I don't like pain, so the phaal and scotch bonnets were immediately out!).  Insects give me the heebies, and the jury is still out on fugu (is a fish realyl worth the risk of death??) and abalone.  Abalone is now so endangered and expensive that abalone (or perlemoen) in South Africa is the target of an organised gang of professional criminals who think nothing of stripping the coastline bare and threatening or assaulting people who get in their way.  South Africa suspended all abalone fishing in February of this year, so please don't eat any abalone in SA – it was definitely caught illegally.  After much thought, abalone remains on the list but I would have to be very sure that it came from a farmed and sustainable source before I tucked in.

So – on to my list!

1. Venison  – hell yeah!
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare (or my sister-in-law's Italian take on it, anyway)
5. Crocodile – and it really does taste like fatty chicken.
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht - delicious, despite my not liking beetroot :)
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich - a school lunchbox standby
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes 
19. Steamed pork buns – possibly the best dim sum ever
20. Pistachio ice cream – the true test whether an ice cream shop is any good
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries – from hedgerows in Cornwall.  Marvellous.
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – half a point I guess
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O –  aaaaah, university days…
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail – of course!
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – highly overrated in my opinion…
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV – God bless the Belgians
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict - and various riffs on the theme
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant – had the a la carte, but at least it was a three star.  Half a point?
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
100. Snake

If the list were mine, I would also have included:

biltong, beef jerky or carne seca

– fresh buffalo mozzarella

– aged Parmigiano cheese


– bone marrow

Jamon Iberico de Bellota (or Culatello di Zibello)

So… what's your total?

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  1. says

    Fun post! What do you mean you wouldn’t eat a whole raw insect?!?!
    I probably wouldn’t either. You’ve certainly tried many things– it’s very impressive.

  2. says

    I’m so sorry you didn’t win – I enjoyed your story a lot – I haven’t read the winer yet. I did read the beginning of another one, but got bored so didn’t finish it. Yours kept me going the whole way! Keep writing though – don’t let it get you down.
    I’ll have to try this list. I don’t know how adventurous I’ve been – certainly no insects, but I have had snails!

  3. says

    Oh you poor girl;sorry you didn’t win!! Cheer up…you got 58 on the list? I began reading it & couldn’t go very far. I’m hardly adventurous…& my jaw was dropping lower & lower as I went down the list. Now have serious doubts as to whether I qualify as a foodie???

  4. says

    I like your thoughtful comments on the list and have finally been convinced by you that maybe I should do it but like DTW I will need to personalise it a little! Sorry you didn’t win your comp but am sure your story is not any worse for not winning :-)

  5. says

    Hey girl. I don’t know how or why I won either! Seriously… I still can’t believe it and I KNOW I didn’t deserve it more than anyone else. PLEASE don’t be sooo gutted that you will stop writing?!? You’ve oodles of talent and it was SUCH an honour for me to be included alongside you, Bridget, Laurian, Alice and Nikki.

  6. says

    I need to try this. But I find I would tryjust about anything once.Sorry about the outco,e of the contest. I really enjoyed reading it. Dont get down. If anything it was a wonderful exercise for you and many great writes dont always win or get accepted. Keep plugging away. You have loads of talent.

  7. says

    Cookinpanda – I know, I know – I am a wuss! But I just don’t imagine either the texture or the taste being something I’d like. And I felt embarrassed that I haven’t tried ENOUGH!
    Kit – thanks so much for your lovely compliment. It’s comments like these that will make me go back and tackle more fiction :) I’d love to see your omnivore list!
    Deeba – thanks :) And I wouldn’t feel at all daunted by the fact that you may not have a huge total on this list. All these lists are subjective, and unavoidably biased towards the background and residence of the list-maker. So there are probably all sorts of exotic foods that you’ve tried that just don’t happen to be on this list. Trust me, you ARE a real foodie 😉
    Darius – that would be great fun, making your own adapted African-American list! Can’t wait for you to post it :)
    Johanna – I love how the list is inspiring people to make their own customised lists – let me know if you do one! And thanks for your mind words – of course, you are right, but at the time I was just sooo miserable.
    Amy – loved your list. That roadkill disclaimer had me in stitches 😀 And glad to hear you enjoy Cooksister!
    Andreea – thanks. Ah well, pick self up and try again. Thanks for posting this list in the first place so that I could discover it!
    Dragon – exactly. The idea of the crunchy shell without much inside and the scratchy claws… shudder
    Red – go on, you deserved it. The honour was all mine 😉
    Justfoodnow – I know. SOme of them I was just “eeeeewwww!”. Strangely, I would try snake, as long as it was cooked & seasoned! It was the insects that freaked me the most. And yes, I probably will. Love it too much to stop 😉
    Courtney – I’d love to see your version of this list! And thanks for your kind words – you are so right that great writers aren’t always the competition winners. Or so I hope! :o)

  8. browniegirl says

    Eisshh Jeanne, sorry about the no win girl……but hey I liked your story!! I have been trying for the past month to get onto the SA food & wine bloggers roll but I dont know if its my pc’s fault but I cannot seem to access it to register. Will try again soon. I have been reading your blog for the past 2 years already under the name Collywolly or Colleen and I really enjoy it. Just started my blog 2 months ago now. You are a great inspiration to me. Thank you xxx

  9. says

    What I long list, I totally support your boycott on perlemoen. I also won’t eat Foie gras after seeing what those poor birds go through in order to provide a delicacy – a little cruel for that animal to suffer.

  10. Maria says

    Well I’ve tried 52 of them (and a half for the cognac with no cigar!). But considering that I’ve been vegetarian for the past 24 years, and vegan for the past 4 of those, I don’t think that’s bad at all…

  11. says

    Jude (apple pie, patis and pate) pointed out that he had eaten whole insects when riding on his bike. I realized that I could probably have made insects bold too (although, in retrospect, I may have spit them out before they could be swallowed).
    I’m thinking that between the two of us, we have a combined score very close to 100%.
    I’ve had marmite but I just don’t get the attraction. Mmmmm, aged parmigiana. I love those caramelized shards. I’d revise the revision: Aged parmigiana with Grappa (or marc, or eau de vie) … mmmmmmmmmmmm

  12. says

    78… although i didn’t light the cigar 😉 i was wondering who compiled the list – it’s curious mix of “need to try before you die” or “and if THAT didn’t gross you out, have this…”.
    shame you didn’t win… i loved your story. i hope it wasn’t due to my inability to log on or see the page i was supposed to see. you can always blame it on the software not working. although that doesn’t put the 10k in your account 😉