"When I was 12-years-old, I was left at home alone for the first time. I was really excited and so I did all of the normal kid things: played video games, used the swing set, ran around in my pajamas. It was great! But then I got hungry... I hadn't planned for this. I went to the kitchen, only to find that the fridge was empty! My parents had left $25, but I wanted to pocket it, so searched through the cupboards until I found something that looked palatable: a bag of white chocolate chips.
I had never had white chocolate, but I figured that it would be similar to milk chocolate & dark chocolate so I happily ate THE ENTIRE BAG.
Instant regret. I was sick for all of the next day and didn't eat white chocolate for the next ten years."
"Have you ever been Beanboozled?
I was Beanboozled by my precocious 10-year-old daughter. She lured me into the trap by using my love of Licorice to tempt me. She knew I would risk eating a Skunk Spray jelly bean for the chance to get a licorice one.
Our family was lazing around one early evening when she presented to me two unassuming pellets of power. She held them out to me and said they might be either flavor if I wanted to test my luck.
I should've known better. I'm not that lucky, but I thought, 'How bad could it be?'
I popped one of the rancid sugar nuggets in my mouth and hoped for licorice but instead, my mouth filled with the sensation similar to what I imagine licking a skunk's butt to be like.
It was the worst thing I've ever put in my mouth, yet it was so much more. There was a slight moment of panic when I realized it was much worse than anticipated. I didn't know what to do. I was filling up with skunk saliva and I didn't want to swallow, but I knew that from where I was, I wasn't going to make it to the sink. I had to swallow and when it hit my gut, I felt it land. And more saliva was coming and I still had the wasted bean in my mouth. I swallowed that too. Nausea ran over me like a tidal wave and the one thought in my head was, 'Eat the other one to offset the abomination stuck in my teeth.'
It didn't occur to me that they both might be skunk flavored. They were. I thought I was going to die. My wife and kids never laughed so hard and now, a full year later, still laugh about it."
"Fish Oil Capsules. My mother made sure that I took these capsules every day when I was in 5th grade. These contain omega-3 fatty acids and are good for health.
But the 10-year-old me saw them as soft, jelly-like, squishy, yellow, and yummy! Which they were, except for the last adjective. Who cares about the fatty acids in 5th grade?
So my mother always made me swallow it with water. But the curious 10-year-old me wanted to taste the 'yummy' jelly like thing. And so on a fateful day, I chewed it.
It tasted like...I don't even know how to describe the 'yummy' taste since I have never tasted something so bad. So now I know how fish oil tastes. And it tastes sick. Fortunately, I didn't puke. But I still remember how it tasted. That was the worst.
I thought it would taste sweet, like a candy. On that fateful day, I finally understood what my English teacher in school meant by, 'Not all that glitters is gold.'"
"Oh the horror... I still have nightmares sometimes about that day.
I was in a summer exchange program right after I finished high school. I decided to go and experience the American Dream, but not through the eyes of a tourist, but those of a local. So I went on this cultural exchange program to work in a restaurant for the summer. Like any good ol' Fine Dining restaurant, half of the kitchen staff were Latinos. I was working as waiting staff.
One day, I came to work early in the morning at 6:30 to set up the terrace, clean the tables and have everything prepared for breakfast. While doing my usual work, I went through the kitchen area and there I saw all my compadres gathered around the counter. On it was a plate of the most tender chicken crisps ever. Big, fat and juicy. It was not something that we served, so I guessed my co-workers made it at home. I didn't have a chance to grab breakfast because it was too early when I woke up, so at that moment the hunger just hit me.
I was so distracted that I didn't even notice that the other guys were laughing and crying at the same time. Also that they were overly enthusiastic for me to take some chicken and dip it in the amazing golden sauce next to it.
Being European, I wasn't really familiar back then with the 1000's of dips and sauces that you could have with your food. I thought it was going to be something nice, maybe with an Italian touch to it.
I took a piece of chicken, drenched it fully in the sauce and took it to my mouth. I bit out of it more with my lips rather than my teeth because the meat was very tender it just fell apart, melting in my mouth. The sauce was both in my mouth and on my lips.
Not even two seconds pass and I feel this burning pain hitting my brain faster than I could realize where it was coming from, at first I thought I rested my hand on the burning stove or something. Then everyone looked at me laughing and asked me if I'm Ok. When I wanted to reply, I felt like my lips were melting and someone was trying to nail them back to my face with 1000 hammer hits per second.
Instant sweat started gushing from my forehead and armpits. My perfect ironed shirt and tie were just a dear memory now. Also my underwear maybe, who remembers anymore? I could not open my mouth, I could not talk, I could not scream, I was just moaning with my mouth shut tight.
Add the sweat, the blood red eyes, the veins on my forehead ready to pop and the desperate look of wishing to be put out of my misery like a deadbeat horse.
Apparently, the sauce in question made from Bhut Jolokia, or more commonly known as 'ghost pepper.' It's just under U.S Pepper Spray on the pepper pain chart. There was also a technique my amigos forgot to tell me:
-Dip it just a bit on the side
-Bite it with your teeth
Needless to say, they should have also told me the third most important technique:
-Don't rush to drink and wash your face under the ice cold faucet water
I prefer to think that after that I just fell unconscious because the pain knocked me out. I don't really remember what happened next. Just that I never finished setting up for breakfast that day and was sent home. As a bonus, I had Kim Kardashian's lips for a whole week."
"I was probably 9 or 10 years old. My mother had asked me to go to the full-sized freezer in the basement and fetch some meat from there. This was a very large upright freezer, used mostly to store meat; my family every year would go in with friends and buy 1/4 share of beef and 1/2 of pork (so literally 1/4 of a cow and 1/2 of a full-grown hog). This would be butchered and stored in the freezer and provide much of our meat for the year. Other stuff was also in the freezer, but pork and beef dominated the space.
This particular day I went down to the basement and when I opened the freezer I was greeted with a canister of Cool Whip.
I'm not so fond of it now, but most children (myself included) love the stuff. This was sitting in the freezer, and I had eaten frozen Cool Whip in the past to know that it was pretty tasty. So with an impish smile, before heading upstairs to deliver the frozen meat to my mother, I opened up the Cool Whip container, scooped a big chunk out with my finger, and prepared to pop it in my mouth.
As I had scooped it out, both the texture of the 'Cool Whip' and its color had struck me as unusual--a little too 'greasy' and not quite 'snow white' enough. I had dismissed these warning signs, and I climbed the first step and popped it in my mouth, intending to finish it quickly before I entered directly into the kitchen--mom would never know of my surreptitious treat. Then it hit me--this was the vilest, nastiest, greasiest Cool Whip I had ever tasted. I screamed, 'Mom, something is wrong with this Cool Whip in the freezer! I think it's gone bad!' When she realized what I had done, she nearly cried with laughter. It took her a minute to explain to me my error:
I had mentioned that this freezer was for both beef and pork from a private butcher...the butcher had used old Cool Whip containers to store the lard from the pig. Children, don't ever eat frozen lard!"
"I live in Atlanta, GA. I kept seeing billboards on my side of town for McDonald's Mighty Wings. I love chicken. Especially fried chicken. I knew that McDonald's wasn't KFC. They definitely weren't the amazing fried chicken I eat at Giant City Lodge in Makanda, Illinois or at Monell's in the Germantown area of Nashville. But something about seeing the words Mighty and Wings together made me want to desperately try them.
I get to McDonald's and order a 5-piece Mighty Wings with fries and Sweet Tea as my beverage of choice. I live in the South and Sweet Tea is the "house wine of the South".
So I'm munching on the wings and they are just okay. Nothing great, but with ranch dressing, they taste good. Good still equals okay! There wasn't anything else memorable about the wings. Sorry McDonald's!
I finally get home after leaving McDonald's and decide to just relax. About an hour into relaxing, I feel nauseated and an intense feeling to want to poop. I go to the toilet and projectile fecal matter vigorously shoots out of my bum hole like pea shooters in Plants versus Zombies. I'm now sweating and my stomach aches. But I feel much lighter.
For the next few hours, I seem like I am on a continuous loop from my bed to the toilet. I continue to poop and poop and poop. I don't know how I created so much of it. I only ate 5 wings, French fries and a drink.
I am thankful to McDonald's for cleaning out my colon. But I don't appreciate the nausea, stomach ache and what seemed like endless trips to the restroom.
I will never eat Mighty Wings again."
"I was visiting my mother and had a craving for mac and cheese, so my mom pulled out the blue box and made a pot of it. I gobbled it down. Very shortly after, within minutes, I felt sick. I thought if I vomited I'd feel better, but I couldn't stop vomiting. At some point, mom checked the expiration date on the box and realized it had long since passed. I think it had expired at least a year earlier.
I remember crawling into her front yard and gripping the grass to keep from falling off the earth, which felt like it was spinning in a completely different direction than I was. Violent spasms pushed my limbs out in all directions. I must've looked like a dying frog. When I had vomited too much in one area, I belly crawled to a fresh patch of grass.
I can't recall if my mother drove me to the hospital or if she called an ambulance to come get me. I do recall being certain there was no way I could make the approximately 10-minute ride without throwing up at least a few times. The hospital didn't officially admit me, but they kept me in the emergency room for the better part of two days. I missed my first day of work at a new job and couldn't even call to tell them. My mom had to call for me because I was still vomiting periodically and was doped up from all the anti-nausea medications they'd put in my IV.
Look closely at the expiration date on your macaroni and cheese. If it's expired, for God's sake, don't eat it! When that powdered cheese goes bad, it goes very bad!"
"The worst decisions are usually the ones that seem innocuous at the time. They creep up on you slowly. Biding their time before they wreak havoc. But once in a blue moon, you wind up making decisions that are both terrible at the moment and have lasting consequences.
The worst thing I ever decided to do to my gastrointestinal tract was a plate of curry. Curry you say? Yes. Curry. But no ordinary curry. I had lived in Japan for about 7 months and I had ignorantly come to the conclusion that the Japanese do not know what spicy is.
So, I walked into a local curry house in Japan and asked for the spiciest thing they could give me. They told me they made things on a scale from 0-10. I asked if they had an eleven. I even gave a five-minute talk about how nothing in Japan tasted spicy.
This guaranteed my doom.
If anything in life has taught me humility, it is this event. The chefs smiled politely, said very little and a tiny little lady came back with a regular looking plate of curry and rice.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I proudly picked up my fork to declare victory before the battle had begun. I nonchalantly swung my spoon into a large mess of chunky brown stuff. I had decided to not even waste my time mellowing out the flavor with rice.
And I proudly stuck that first bite into my mouth.
The English language doesn't have too many non-expletives that can properly explain the pain I felt. My mouth... felt like it had been napalmed. I say napalmed because this wasn't the kind of burning you could just put out with water. No. This was a burning sensation that made me brain want to bash its contents out on the table in front of me.
My hands grasped the table as if someone was disemboweling me and I was still obliged to be silent during this ordeal. The tiny woman server came by and asked me how it was. After my long speech about spiciness, I couldn't tell her the truth.
'Oh, this is nothing!' I managed to barely blurt out without emptying my intestines onto the table.
'Oh, I am so glad to hear! The chefs were a little worried because we only make the number 10 spicy dish about 2-3 times a year.'
'Please tell them it's delicious.' I pinched myself under the table. When I say pinch, I mean, I stuck my fingernail into my wrist hoping that I could just end the pain and quietly bleed out under the table with no one realizing.
At this point, a chef came out and was beaming at me.
(At this point, I thought... Do I have to finish all this? Can't someone come and just severe the nerve endings in my spine and put me out of this misery?)
I managed to put 3 more bites into my mouth. By this point, I had lost all sensation in my tongue. The pain was slowly traveling down my body. My stomach started blaring out SOSs.
5 bites later, a fierce conversation was taking place in my brain about what was so damaged with my identity that I needed to arrogantly put my body at risk.
7 bites after this... I had managed to make peace with the universe. My pain centers were overloaded. If it was a battle of attrition, my side had lost in a battle not worth fighting for.
10 bites later, I had finished the plate. I ordered a small and it had taken me about 15 minutes to consume. I think I remained stuck in my seat for about 60 minutes after this. My body refused to move. My brain went into hiding - the damage was too great to deal with all at once.
And...I walked away. Feeling proud of myself.
...That was when the real trouble started. One thing I never really knew about eating desperately spicy food is that if your body isn't used to it... it can't process it that well. My body had ingested a hurricane and my internal version of FEMA was disastrously underfunded.
The first pangs started about 2 hours later.
My stomach started to make sounds. My legs started to feel weak. My body felt like it couldn't continue. Luckily I didn't have to work for another 12 hours. Which was good because I wound up spending 10 of those next 12 hours on the toilet. Worse, during work, I had to leave for the bathroom for about 5 minutes every hour.
...For almost the entire week.
This taught me the following: Never say you are good at eating anything. If you are, events will bear you out. Don't rush things. Life is long and the toilet is usually far away."
When I was seventeen and travelled through Scotland, I bought haggis and chips at a chips shop. Probably not the smartest way to test a local delicacy, but the stuffed and boiled sheep's bladder tasted like a huge cockroach crapped in my mouth. I spat out the bite and threw the haggis away.
Then a gull swooped down and picked up the haggis, then dropped it again and flew away.
If even a gull won't eat your food, then the food is truly horrible."
"Hands down, the Durian Fruit. I managed a team in Kuala Lumpur many years ago and traveled there a few times per year. The first time I went, we took the team out to lunch where we dined on a number of surprisingly great dishes. Then came dessert. Out came a big bowl of melty, vanilla ice cream, with this viscous orange dressing on top. I assumed it was perhaps a bit of mango ice cream and was looking forward to the combination.
Nope. Not mango. I dove in quickly with a big helping only to experience my gag reflex kicking in. My brain was not expecting this particularly pungent flavor. Then the smell hit me (I really dove into the dessert quickly). Took all my effort to muscle it down. It is hard to describe. The taste wasn't terrible, but pretty close. The smell and the gooey consistency was the real problem. Dirty sweat socks left to soak in a pig sty comes to mind.
Needless to say, the expression on my face caused uproarious laughter from our team, and from some of the patrons at nearby tables. Everyone was in on the 'joke,' and we all had a good laugh before returning to the office."
"I went to a boarding school in Kenya in the mid-'80s. We had no TV's, computers, internet, cell phones. Heck, we did not even have our own bedrooms. We had to share with 3-5 other kids. This was sometime around 9th grade. As you imagine, being a bunch of bored teenage boys, we were constantly trying to figure out ways to entertain ourselves resulting in a bunch of often alarmingly stupid dares.
There were these giant grasshoppers that lived around the school. I think they got up to about six inches long. They flew around and had giant spikes on the back of their legs, and they could bite. To catch them you had to grab them before they could 're-cock' their legs after they landed. This took a few seconds, and if you could grab them by the legs, they could not kick you or bite you (which often drew blood).
So some genius was looking at this beast and a 220-watt outlet and inspiration struck. They discovered that a pen cap would open the latch nicely. So the next step was to turn off the plug, open the latch with a pen cap then insert the grasshoppers back legs into the live holes and remove the cap which would lower the safety thereby holding the grasshopper in place. Then in the name of science they would flip the plug on to see what would happen.
Surprisingly it almost never killed the grasshopper, but it would kick so hard that it's back legs came off.
Now a grasshopper that has just been subjected to 220-watts wants nothing more than to crawl in a dark hole to hide. So our 8th-grade rite of passage was to put the grasshopper on your tongue at which point he would rapidly crawl directly down your throat like a self-propelled burrito.
There was a taste...we sometimes cooked and ate these things as well. But the texture of the four front legs scrambling down your throat was the most off-putting. Those that could do it without vomiting in the process could proudly move on to the other dumb, semi-psychotic things we were into in those days."
"Oh boy, I remember this one like it was yesterday.
Growing up in Pakistan (where our national flag is green and part white), I had become accustomed to eating a lot of desserts that were tinted green.
So naturally, seeing anything with a doughy consistency and green color triggered an urge for me to devour it ASAP. Unfortunately, I took that trait with me even after I ended up in the United States for a year on a Youth Exchange and Study Scholarship.
I remember the day vividly because I was unlucky enough to have my sweet sixteen celebrations on the same day. My lovely host mom took me to a nice and lavish Chinese restaurant with the rest of my host family and a couple of friends. Never having been to such a high-class restaurant, I was already dazed. So I just ordered a couple of salmon rolls. My order arrived a couple minutes later with an accompanying surprise that resembled the green desserts of my childhood. I devoured my salmon rolls and saved the 'green thing' for the last, cause inherently, I thought that it was a dessert.
So I just grabbed a spoon and shoved the whole thing in my mouth. Next thing I knew, tears welled up, my breathing became harder to accomplish, my mouth started burning and I thought I must've eaten something I shouldn't have and now I was going to die in a place that was thousands of miles away from my biological family. Frantically, I turned to my host mom and host brother, who oddly enough, were enjoying a hearty laugh off of the spectacle I was presenting them. Despite my condition, I found solace in their reactions and calmed down.
All my host mom had to say about the fiasco was: 'That's called wasabi. Welcome to America and Happy Birthday!'
Pretty safe to say, I was cautious of whatever I ate in the US from then on."
I get a chance to do a lot of focus studies here in Chicago, as there are many ad agencies. Once, I was in an ad agency and we were given a small cup with no labels, we were not told what it was. I don't even know what the brand of yogurt was. And this was when it was only the original greenish-yellow Gatorade, not the flavored kind we have now.
It was worse than swallowing a cigarette butt stuck to a piece of gum that had dried pee on it. A few people tried hard to be polite and not gag. We were all given cans of pop or bottled water if we wanted it. We all wanted it.
I spoke to the recruiter later in the week. I had been in the second group out of fifty. The agency stopped their study after the tenth group, though everyone was paid. The reason was obvious.
Some 'genius' must have thought it would have been a good way to sell more Gatorade...by putting it in yogurt."
"Hákarl, a piece of yellowish-brown dried flesh, is an Icelandic delicacy. It's made from fermented shark because the shark meat is otherwise poisonous 'due to a high content of urea and trimethylamine oxide.' Yum!
So, instead of just eating something nice like a nice steak or maybe even some reindeer, Icelanders have figured out how to make this toxic food edible.
How do they do it? First, they cut the meat into large blocks, and then stack them in a container. They place stones on top to create pressure on the meat. Then they leave it there for 2-3 months, with the goal of squeezing all the lovely liquid out.
Then they cut those chunks into strips and hang it out to dry for several months after. Oh, the anticipation! I can't wait!
Finally, after a grueling half year or so after which you've been absolutely starving, you can now feast on this rare Icelandic delicacy.
Locals cut up the meat into small little cubes which you can then snack on with toothpicks, presumably because they don't want any reusable utensils on it lest they need to burn/throw them out. After you bring the morsel to your mouth, you are immediately hit with an intense stench that can only be mirrored by finding a kitty litter box that hasn't been changed in weeks, sticking your face into it, and taking a huge breath through your nostrils.
At this point, you don't have to worry about tasting anything because you've lost all sense of smell due to the overwhelming stench of ammonia that now runs from nostril-to-mouth-to-lung. The texture itself is kinda like a jerky that hasn't quite been dried properly. It's somehow both tough and mushy at the same time. Fortunately, if you've forgotten the smell of cat urine by now, each bite releases a spray of it back up into the deep recesses of your nasal cavity, so you can relive the eye-burning sensation.
Locals drink some kind of alcohol called Brennivín that I can presume was invented only to kill your remaining tastebuds and sense of smell after eating a bite of Hákarl.
I'm an adventurous eater and give every food two chances. This is definitely one of the only foods I've had that won't need a third chance."
"A little background, I was raised a vegetarian. Not because of any religious reasons, but ethical reasons, I suppose. We did not even have eggs (just in cakes and pastries because it wasn't visible #VegetarianLogic). I am not one of those vegetarians who get disgusted if you eat non veg or shove my beliefs and ideologies down your throat.
So, it was our 12th-grade farewell in a very posh place. As usual, there were too many of us and by us, I mean tired, extremely hungry fools. We (= the entire 12th-grade class) were standing outside the kitchen hoping for somebody to bring food. Suddenly, a waiter appears out of nowhere with a plate FULL of delicious looking cheese. Amidst all the chaos caused by starving children, I managed to get a piece of it and gobbled it down. Then I realized that this did not taste like cheese AT ALL. That's when I heard my friend say, 'G, that's chicken!'
I swear, I wept. It's like, for 16 years of my life, I had never touched meat, so it was difficult for me to stomach it. When you eat a certain type of food all your life, your body gets used to it. I was filled with guilt. I was devastated.
I tried non veg food voluntarily multiple times after that and I came to the conclusion that I don't really have a palate for it."