We enjoy our food, even odd food like kale chips. And we are neither snobby nor necessarily squeamish, but when we find “food” that, on the surface or under the ingredient list, makes us cringe, it is our duty to share. You are welcome.

Duck, duck, gross

BalutPhoto: Dindin Lagdameo

Balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Are we wrong for wondering what men won’t eat if it’s considered an aphrodisiac? Most people eat the egg around the fetus and then snack down the baby duckling bones and all. While this may qualify as a whole food, we’re just saying, we would not eat this.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.


Ortolan birdsPhoto: Wikipedia

Cruel and unusual, mostly cruel

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

According to Wikipedia, “For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds — captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac — were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God.” 

It is now against the law to sell them in France, but not to eat them. Do we need to say anything more? We thought not.


Pickled HerringPhoto: Fun FeverColor us soured

This gassy can of bacterially active herring goodness has to be opened underwater if you want to mitigate the odor of rotten egg, rancid butter, and vinegar that results from the fermentation process. And if that’s not enough to put you off your herring, the chances that this can does not contain BPA has got to be next to nil. Yeah.








Jumping Jesus, this cheese could fly away on its own

Casu MarzuPhoto: Wikipedia

Casu Marzu is a sheep’s milk cheese crawling with live fly larva. Extreme foodies chase it down, even though it’s illegal in many countries: apparently the cheese can become toxic after the maggots die, so it has to be eaten while they are still very alive. Oh, and etiquette requires that noshers keep their hands over the cheese as they eat it because the larva can jump! Not for joy.


Soup packetPhoto: MaggiChicken soup for the iron-stomached soul

This is so tame compared to what has come before, you say. In fact, it’s supposed to cure what ails you, right? Not so fast, this “chicken flavored” mix tops its ingredient list, right after flour, with salt, cornstarch, sugar, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and partially hydrogenated palm oil — in that order.

All of that shows up long before you get to freeze dried chicken bits and a good dose of artificial flavorings. Don’t be fooled by pleasant packaging. This crap does not belong in your mouth.


Wyler's grape mixPhoto: Wyler’sDIY hair dye

But we have to ask, if this mix can dye your hair, which comment threads on the interwebs claim is true (though we confess to not having tested this theory), do you really want to be slurping this stuff down? Artificial colors aside, the aspartame and refined corn products and multisyllabic chemicals that ride along with this powder make it a dieter’s nightmare: your purple tongue will prove it.


Still have an appetite? We challenge you to check out these foods too

Need something to wash that Balut egg down with?

Disgusting goes mainstream with these awful fast food gimmicks

Do Not Eat This: The mother of all that is nasty

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!