The world is full of things that sound far better than they are. Roller coasters are awesome on paper, but in reality mean spending hours surrounded by screaming children in a sweaty queue for something that’s over in a matter of seconds. This same logic can also apply to food.
There are many dishes out there that seem to have benefited from the insight of an expert marketing team, making what should be the most unpalatable combination of ingredients sound totally delicious. This con has, in some cases, been going on for centuries. To help you keep a wary eye on the kitchen, here is a list of the foods that might sound tasty, but are actually terrifying.
It might sound like something you’d expect to see as part of a pasta course in a fancy Italian trattoria, but stigghiola are an absolute horror show. Sheep or goat intestines are wrapped around a leek, before being grilled to make a dish that looks like a weird mutant cucumber.
You could be forgiven for expecting something crispy, deep fried and thin when you order a plate of chitterlings. Alas not. A weird chunky slop, prepared from pig intestines, chitterlings were for centuries seen as the ultimate peasant food. Yum.
3. Black Pudding
To anyone outside of Europe, puddings conjure up images of sticky sweetness and indulgent desserts. Black pudding is about as far away from this ideal as it’s possible to be. A sausage stuffed with coagulated blood, black pudding is better suited to breakfast than finishing off a meal.
Another misleading dessert impersonator, sweetbreads sound like they belong on the same shelf as a croissant. In actual fact, sweetbreads are small fleshy morsels, cut from the pancreas of a lamb or calf.
If you think an andouillette sounds cute and fluffy, you’d be sorely mistaken. An infamously stinky sausage made from sliced up portions of pig rectum and intestines, andouillette is considered a delicacy in Northern France.
6. Head Cheese
Though anything with cheese in the name can sound delicious, this is one dish that could cause suspicion should you spy it on a menu, and with good reason. Head cheese does not actually contain any cheese at all, and is instead a meat jelly made with cow and pig head.
7. Eskimo Ice Cream
If any people are going to be expert ice cream makers it’s going to be the ones who spend their lives surrounded by snow, right? Unfortunately, eskimo ice cream differs drastically from it’s southerly relatives. A frozen miscellany of seal fat, blood and berries, you’re unlikely to spot it in your local ice cream van.
8. Mountain Chicken
You might expect a mountain chicken to be a leaner, hardier version of our familiar feathered food source. You’d be wrong. In another great example of foodie fraud, mountain chicken in fact refers to a particular species of giant frog - though the food is increasingly rare as the species is now endangered.
9. Rocky Mountain Oysters
If you’re wondering why there are so many oysters so far from the sea, you’d be right to worry. This famous North American delicacy is in fact a battered and deep fried calf’s testicle - tasting nothing like its fish namesake.
Menus are always going to try all sorts of tricks to sell you their wares. Knowing the game, you need to be extra careful you don’t end up with something unexpected. Before you know it, you’ll be ending your meals with a bucket of seal blood.