All Of The Weirdest Foods People Actually Eat In America
Food is often a cultural thing. In fact, people from different countries and regions sometimes equate their heritage to the things they ate. And because the United States is one of the world’s biggest melting pots, American foods combine all sorts of cultures (for better or for worse). Some of the creations are delicious. Others turn out completely bonkers.
Here are some of the weirdest American food combos.
1. Brain Sandwiches
The contestants on Survivor had difficulty choking down brain, but maybe they just didn’t prepare it properly.
In fact, brain sandwiches are very popular in Indiana. Cow brains used to fill the sandwich buns, but they were eventually replaced with pig brains because of Mad Cow Disease. And there’s actually a proper way to cook the brain so that it’s at it’s best. For starters, make sure your hands are chilled so that the brain doesn’t start to, um, melt when you’re handling it.
Only in America would somebody think of stuffing an entire chicken into a duck that’s later stuffed into a turkey. That’s three uncomfortable layers, and they’re all pretty gruesome if you think about it.
Dr. Gerald R. LaNasa, a surgeon from New Orleans, is often credited as being the one who invented the dish. But like most foods, the origins have been contested.
3. Jell-O Salad
Jell-O salad is an interesting dish. It consists of Jell-O and a multitude of other ingredients such as chopped-up fruits, veggies, marshmallows, or cottage cheese. Though they were extremely popular — in both sweet and savory forms — during the ’60s and ’70s, Jell-O salads are still pretty classic. Many people in Midwestern states really enjoy them.
4. Pickled Pigs Feet
You’ve probably seen these in grocery stores before. My question is… why?
They look… not great. I’m going to go ahead and say they also taste… not great. I’ve never had them, so that review is unfair, but I feel like I’m smelling these things through the screen right now just by looking at the picture. But then again, I’m not from the Southern United States, where these are most popular.
5. Spray Cheese
It took me a long time until I realized that Kraft Singles weren’t actual cheese. And the same can be said for spray cheese.
I’m not here to hate on the stuff, as it’s served me well in life. And even though it probably doesn’t count as being cheese, it was produced in Wisconsin early on, which is known as the cheese capital of the United States.
6. Olive Loaf
Can we talk about olive loaf for a second? I feel like it’s always the weird second cousin at the deli party that nobody wants to acknowledge.
Olive loaf is exactly what you think it is — a loaf of meat with olives embedded in it. According to The Daily Meal, this was most popular in America in the 1950s. But why does this still exist when ham is an option?
7. Green Bean Casserole
Green beans, fried onions, and cream of mushroom soup combine to create green bean casserole, a dish often enjoyed by Americans at Thanksgiving… even though it definitely wasn’t present at the first Thanksgiving in the 17th century. It was created in 1955 by a woman named Dorcas Reilly for Campbell’s Soup Company, and interestingly enough, she has no memory of how she came up with this exact dish. A true stroke of genius!
Did you ever wonder what’d happen if you tried to brine a pickle in some other liquid? Well, someone did — which is probably how Koolickles got their start.
Likely invented by a pregnant woman with weird cravings, but definitely invented in Mississippi, Koolickles are pickles brined in Kool-Aid. Oh yeah. Pretty darn gross.
Akutaq is mostly enjoyed in Alaska, but it’s a legitimate dish. What’s in akutaq, you may wonder? Well, glad you asked!
Akutaq is an ice cream dish that, when made traditionally, uses seal oil. Sometimes, reindeer fat is used. The other name it often goes by is “Eskimo ice cream,” but I’d rather stick to Ben & Jerry’s, thank you very much.
10. Alligator Tails
When I think of alligators, I think of pure fear.
I don’t think of them as appetizers, especially when mozzarella sticks exist. But, people in Florida would disagree. In fact, many Southerners actually fry up alligator tails to eat as snacks. I will say, it does seem pretty cool to be able to tell someone you’ve eaten alligator before.
11. Lamb Testicles
Bulls aren’t the only animal whose testicles became people food.
Many people enjoy lamb testicles, too. But the dish is most often called “lamb fries,” probably to soften the impact a little bit. If you’re dying to try them out, they’re most popular in Kentucky. At least people are using every part of the lamb, right? It’s important to not be wasteful.
12. Spam Musubi
Spam itself is an odd choice, but Spam Musubi? Yikes.
My husband actually makes this one on occasion, and while he’s happy with it, I can always tell what went down based on the way the kitchen smells afterward. (To be fair, he feels the same way about me when I prepare seafood.) The dish originated in the United States — Hawaii, to be exact. And a Mrs. Mitsuko Kaneshiro allegedly created them.
13. Clam Pizza
Remember when anchovies were the worst pizza topping imaginable? Then, people started hating on pineapple.
But now clams have made their way unto unsuspecting pizzas. Frank Pepe’s white clam pizza from New Haven, Connecticut, has been praised pretty heavily. But you have to admit — it’s not what most people would order on a nightly basis.
14. Bull Testicles
You might know them better as “Rocky Mountain Oysters,” but no. They’re bull testicles.
Created by ranchers in the Rocky Mountain area of North America, they also may be called “meat balls,” which is anatomically accurate. But, you won’t want to place these on spaghetti. At least they’re usually deep-fried.
Now, to be fair, there are plenty of different types of burgoo. So, let’s talk about burgoo in its traditional form; it’s often served up in Kentucky.
Burgoo is a type of spicy stew. Sometimes, chefs make it with venison or mutton. But oftentimes, it’s made out of animals like squirrel, raccoons, and possums. Sure, it makes sense to eat those small animals in cases of emergency. But otherwise, how can they even provide enough meat?
I lived in Pennsylvania for a large chunk of my life, and a pretty decent segment of that time was spent in diners. That’s where I learned what scrapple, a dish created in Mid-Atlantic states, was.
But, I never tried it. It just seemed a little too strange. It’s literally a loaf of pork scraps and cornmeal that can be cut and sliced. Why even bother when meatloaf already exists?
Fans of the movie Babe, you may want to look away.
Seriously, we’re warning you! Chitlins are made from a disturbing part of the pig. Also known as chitterlings, this dish is made from pigs’ small intestines. Chitlins are quite popular in the South, and they grace many plates of soul food.
18. Garbage Plates
If you’ve ever gone to a buffet, there’s a good chance you unknowingly created your own garbage plate.
This Rochester, NY, phenomenon is gaining steam, and it’s perfect for the glutton inside all of us. Garbage plates are almost like uniqie art forms. There’s a ton of layering involved, and even if the food is garbage, the best garbage plates still look like masterpieces on Instagram.
19. Deep-Fried Butter
It’s true that things taste pretty good after being deep-fried.
But, someone pushed it too far when they created deep-fried butter. That someone is Abel Gonzales Jr. He created the dish for a 2009 State Fair in Dallas, TX. For what it’s worth, deep-fried butter actually won a prize for being the most creative entry.