Eating is a necessity that many – if not all – of us will have to undertake to survive. Over the course of time, many cultures and indeed people within those cultures have chosen to have their diets differ from those around them, sometimes defining themselves by their diet.
We have meat-eaters, vegetarians, vegans and many other diet types which have protracted names and various meanings. But the crux of the matter is this: there are many types of diet in which members of these various diets will not stray from a certain food set. A carnivore will not subsist on a diet of only vegetables, a fruitarian will continue to be insane and only eat fruit and many, many others will abstain from eating meat altogether.
There is one universal fact at the heart of everything: eating meat is awesome. It tastes nice, is human nature and is just generally a great way to spend your time. Meat is delicious. Delicious meat. However, some will argue that eating meat is not the natural order of things. Instead of listening to their rant and then entering into what will no doubt become a heated argument, you should shove these hilariously anti-vegetarian meals in their faces.
Just as disgusting as it sounds (or maybe not quite as disgusting as it sounds, depending on your frame of mind), head cheese is not actually a cheese at all, but meat taken from the heads of various animals (such as sheep, cow, pig or calf) which is then encased in that weird meat jelly (which is actually called aspic) along with various seasonings like onions, salt and vinegar, black pepper and others.
The meat in head cheese (the name alone is unpleasant enough) isn’t limited to “head meat” but can also include meat from the heart, tongue and feet of the animal as well. So essentially, you have random bits of meat from slightly uncommon parts of animals, smooshed into that weird meat jelly stuff that’s generally really unappealing to behold and then seasoned with more traditional seasonings.
As you can see from the pictures, the head cheese itself is quite unusual to look at, having the appearance of a brick wall built by an amateur builder or some sort, who used jelly instead of cement.
A true nightmare of a dish, papaitan is from the Philippines and mainly consists of animal offal (tripe, liver, intestines, pancreas, kidney, heart…Anything, really) being mashed into a stew.
However, that’s not all, folks, as it’s then flavored with garlic, ginger, onion, salt, pepper and maybe some other, less disgusting-sounding ingredients. But perhaps the real coup de grace is that the stew is also flavored with bile (yes, BILE, the stuff that you can bring up when you vomit) to give it its characteristic bitterness (the word for bitter being “pait”, where the dish gets its name), but also imparting a sweetish aftertaste, allegedly.
Papaitan is traditionally made with goat offal and bile, but can also be made with ox or beef offal as well, depending on the particular tastes of whoever is brave enough to eat this arcane concoction of animal bits and juices. It’s mainly served during festive occasions and due to its highly-seasoned nature, goes well with various beers and gins, accompanied by some rice.
Because of the content and its stew-like nature, papaitan can also serve as a great source of warmth and energy. So remember next time when you’re a bit cold and worn down, you can perk yourself up again with a sumptuous onion-y stew made from animal guts and vomit constituent.
Also known as blood sausage, it is basically a sausage made by cooking the blood of an animal (usually pig, cow, sheep or goat, with chicken and horse being used rarely) with filler until it reaches a thickness where it can easily congeal when cooled. Filler to be cooked along with the blood might consists of any number of things, but is typically ingredients like fat, meat, potato, bread, oatmeal, suet and various other agents that’ll help to thicken the blood but still proved some sort of taste or flavoring, as you can’t just go and put solid blood into a sausage now, can you? Oh wait, you can.
The blood sausage is generally served as part of a traditional breakfast in some areas of the United Kingdom and some Canadian provinces. Furthermore, the dish is also eaten all over Europe, with many regional variants coming into play. It is less common and even difficult to find in America and blood sausage-eating is usually confined to certain ethnic groups whose tradition calls for the eating of blood sausage.
Outside of North America, the blood sausage is surprisingly prevalent and popular, despite it really just being a sausage made from the cooked blood of a random animal.
This terrifying abomination of a meal heralds from Iraq and consists of you eating boiled sheep’s head. That’s pretty much it. Oh, also, you might get some trotters and stomach thrown in there if you’ve been good.
The ingredients are all boiled slowly so that a sort of broth (read: distilled liquid nightmare) forms around the head, and whatever other body parts are being boiled. It is then seasoned to taste (most likely with the screams of children) and served with some bread soaking in the broth itself. If the stomach is being served as well, then that would most likely be filled with rice and lamb before being sewn shut to keep all that stomach-flavored goodness inside.
Perhaps the worst part of the dish is that once you get over the oddness of eating a boiled sheep’s head, all you’re really doing is eating sheep meat, until the terror reveals itself with each consecutive mouthful of boiled head meat. Piece by piece and scrap of flesh by scrap of flesh, you will slowly reveal the rictus grin of the sheep skull beneath. Depending on whether or not you opt to have the eyeballs removed or left in, by the time you finish your pacha, you’ll be left with a skull on a plate, its empty eye-sockets a hollow mockery of their former selves.
Not the friendly dog companion from Fallout, but rather the meat from dogs, cooked to taste. These dogs that are to be served as food are raised in the same manner as other consumable animals, on farms to eventually be slaughtered. The attitudes of a culture towards dog meat vary greatly from country to country, however it is the general consensus amongst Westerners that eating dog meat is regarded as being taboo, but of course there are some for and some against the idea (and not just limited to those in the West, as some inhabitants of dog-eating cultures are also opposed to the idea), as with most ideas.
Amongst the cultures that do tend to opt for dog-flesh, it is usually only dogs reared specifically for eating that are consumed, as opposed to others that are raised to be pets. A dog can be prepared and cooked in a number of different ways, as with more commonplace meats, but can involve being boiled, skinned or even flash-burned to remove all the fur in one go. The dog meat itself is typically stewed with a thick gravy before serving. However, as with the majority of these things, the preparation and serving methods will vary greatly from region to region and culture to culture. Woof woof, nom nom.
Whilst this dish is popularly thought of to be of Scottish origin, the first known recipes for the vile thing have been found in parts of North-West England. The meal – if it can be called as such – traditionally consists of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep, mashed up with things like salt, onion, oatmeal, suet and other seasonings, all boiled inside the sheep’s stomach (although most commercial haggis these days is prepared in standard casing as opposed to an actual stomach).
Since its conception – which must have been purely by accident, perhaps after an entire sheep fell into some mashed up onions and stuff – haggis has become a traditional Scottish dish, immortalized in the Robert Burns poem “Address to a Haggis” and traditionally served with swede and potatoes, along with a glass of whiskey as part of a Burns supper.