Weird Foods

Today’s post comes from Chris in ND.

While hanging out in Philadelphia during the bicentennial summer, I was introduced to scrapple.  Scrapple is not a culinary specialty of the Northern Great Plains.  Most people around here have never seen or heard of it.

On the reservation where I work three days a week, my cooking options are limited.  I often spend my evenings wandering one of the grocery stores, trying to figure out what to eat the  next day. One night last week, I settled on some Jimmy Dean hot sausage and a bag of shredded extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar cheese.  The next morning, I added the cheese to a pot of cooked grits, then mixed it up with the browned sausage.  The result was surprisingly good.  I named it ad hoc scrapple.  I brought some home and will eat the rest it myself.  Renee said that’s ok with her. I also sometimes have biscuit fits, but that is another post.

What weird foods are cooked and consumed in your family?

46 thoughts on “Weird Foods”

  1. I first encountered scrapple when I spent a few days in Gettysburg shooting a television commercial. In my mind, scrapple is to Pennsylvania Dutch as poutine is to Quebecois.

    We have attempted, from time to time, ad hoc concoctions in order to salvage some ingredients we had in excess or that were otherwise likely to go uneaten. Few of those attempts have borne repeating although I might venture that most were prettier than ad hoc scrapple.

    The trouble with assigning weirdness is that it’s so subjective; one person’s weird food is often another’s nostalgia. Robin, having grown up in Japan, has some things she savors and that I am content to leave to her.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. Robin has been craving mackerel. It’s not that easy to find fresh mackerel in the Twin Cities. Coastal gets it sometimes. I don’t have any experience with mackerel, but it is an oily fish and often described as fishy tasting. We’ll get some somewhere and I’ll let you know what I think.

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        2. Once in a while I’ll buy a can of canned mackerel in tomato sauce. Makes for a heavenly mackerel salad to be savored on an open faced Danish pumpernickel sandwich.

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  2. I make something I call “messa eggs”, which is maybe half an onion chopped up with any other veggies that are available, some olive oil and butter, could have some cooked sausage or bacon thrown in. If I leave it too long before stirring, and if there’s enough oil, it can be flipped like an omelet. Can be seasoned differently each time, but often with just salt and pepper, maybe some smoked paprika.

    Husband makes something we call “goulash” but that’s not fair to its Hungarian origins… kind of like the above but hamburger would replace the eggs, and he throws in part of a jar of our canned tomatoes. This can be added to when there are leftovers…

    We do lots of “weird” foods – I’ll be back with more later. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Most of my weird foods are stuff I ate as a kid that originated as part of farm life over the generations. My two favorites are

    1. Fried Egg sandwich

    2. Corn meal mush with bacon, butter and honey.

    I was really surprised when we ate DownTown Minneapolis Saturday evening with my son, to find a fried egg sandwich on the menu. It was all gussied up with Ciabatta bread and avocado–not what I used to eat at all. Ours consisted of homemade white bread, mustard and an egg fried hard. There was probably some dirt from my fingers in there, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. My “weird” foods are usually something extremely healthy that I’m trying out. My 3 boys usually were not impressed. I remember one time I made a chicken stir-fry but used tofu. When I informed them of the switcheroo after they ate it, they read me the Riot Act.

    Another big fail was when I grew eggplant in my garden. I had no idea they would grow so well as they always seemed so exotic to me. Well, we had boatloads of big, beautiful eggplant. So I made a sort of eggplant parmigiana, which I absolutely loved. They all loathed it and told me to never make eggplant again.

    Now it’s just me and Jim, and he’s usually more tolerant especially when I tell him it will be good for his diabetes and better manage his blood sugar levels. Now I’m trying some gluten-free, wheat-free type breads and dishes which I’m really enjoying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i wake up sunday wanting to cook
      this week i had put some beans out to soak so i started up that burner and worked around it for the morning
      rice next and i mix with quinoa these days
      a big batch that will last 2 orc3 days
      then the flavoring part of the deal… onions peppers black olives artichoke hearts garlic mushrooms and the final decision is spice direction
      sometimes that’s the first decision
      cumin or curry
      scirachia or halapinio and with or without tomato eggs and flour or corn starch
      soup or burger add a side dish of potatoes and veggies and that’s a meal that will me tweaked and modified for 3 or 4 days until the next batch of weird stuff gets done up
      i’m down to wife daughter and son
      daughter is recent veggie bit doesn’t like my bean concoctions
      pasta and straight black beans with cumin are more up her alley
      son like my rice base and throws chicken variations into his lunch everyday
      wife eats oddly and enjoys some of my potato things but little else
      i have the kneecap shelf in the fridge and wife keeps putting big batches of stuff into smaller containers as i whittle through it so i have to figure out what the new containers house and where the heck the leftover i’m thinking may be lurking
      every now and again i’ll ask where is thevadperagis snd she will remind mr that was from 3 weeks ago and was doing it’s chia asperagus impersonation and danced into the compost pile for gardening projects to come

      i think i will try hay bales this year with tomatoes and basil to allow my food shelves to bear a recognizable fingerprint for the coming fall winter stash and a month of fresh picking

      i love pesto and there is no such thing as too much basil
      that and cumin are my go to spices

      thanks chris

      looking forward to the next installment

      any chance to throw a little garden in at the rez?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. tim, if you mean trying “hay bales” as in ‘Straw Bale Gardening’, they’re really not for tomatoes; too top heavy… i suppose if you wire up enough support for them it’s possible… but you’d need to water multiple times daily. I just don’t think tomatoes are recommended for straw bales.
        And be careful what you ask for; you don’t want HAY, you want straw. You know, I could put you on the delivery list… 🙂

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        1. Ben, tim isn’t a country boy and not too scientific about his nomenclature. I’m willing to bet he meant straw. I’m also willing to bet that most city folks use the words hay and straw interchangeably, even if they know the difference.

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        2. if tomatoes dont work i dont know wahat to do with them. i guess i can learn and plant my tomatoes in the ground like other folks do. come to think of it i can try my upsidedown tomato plants. a 5 gallon bucket with a hole in the bottom and the plant hangs and so does the fruit. its supposed to be good technology when you get the hanger built to hang the 5 gallon buckets on.

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  5. It will come as a surprise to no one that I excel in weird foods. I’ve already told you about the man who, through Freecycle, emails me twice a year to come pick up the “weird” parts of his half cow or half pig, i.e. liver, hearts, and tongue. He has me filed under “weird meat lady.”

    My dad had a fondness for old Danish foods, many of which incorporated the cheapest parts of animals. At our house, these weren’t considered weird, in fact fact, some, like calf’s tongue, were considered a delicacy. But, as is the case with many of these dishes, you have to know how to cook them right.

    Probably the “weirdest” thing I make is øllebrød. It’s a porridge or thick soup made from leftover chunks of Danish rye bread, and I know it sounds awful, but made right, it’s delicious. Here’s a link to a recipe: https://www.saveur.com/danish-rye-bread-porridge-recipe

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      1. I think it is, Bill. Hans won’t eat it, claims he plenty as a kid. Considering how many of the old Danish foods that I like that he won’t eat, I suspect that my dad was a better cook than his mother or their maid.

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  6. I thought scrapple was universally German-American, but it seems not. Wonder why I know of it. I found an intriguing recipe for vegan scrapple that looks like it will be fun to try. Since I think of scrapple as being about the seasonings anyway, the fact that it’s tofu based is no problem.

    I like a variety of foods that are quite “normal” in their regions of origin, so I see no reason to pick on them.

    I did this morning have something for breakfast I have loved since childhood. It make me laugh when I heard Stephen Colbert wondering what the heck it was, as it has been in the news a bit regarding tariffs.

    Sorghum. Just slathered a nice thick layer (which is what you are going to get on a cold morning) on my Wilhelmina Rye bread from Brake Bread. Very nice it was too. I think it is maybe something more commonly eaten in the Ozarks. It’s easier to find in southern Iowa than in the Twin Cities.

    For those who don’t know, it is kind of the perfect combination of molasses and honey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of sorghum and molasses as a child. Sorghum is one of the foods from my childhood I will not touch as an adult. Molasses in things like baked beans is all right. Grits which my mother sonetimes made is beyond repulsive. In the south they pretty much refuse to not bring it to your table. We had corn meal in several ways, such as her version of mush. Hate it. Hate t. Hate it. But used to make corn bread for sandy, but now it makes her sick.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ate many a fried egg sandwich as a child. Eaten in hot fresh thick bread. Taught my wife to like them. Now she cannot eat them. My mother made too many mashed potatoes on Sunday for dinner, lunch in current terms. Then for supper she mixed them with chopped onions and fried them thick and soft in the middle. Then she fried eggs. I had mine very runny and mixed them with the potato cakes. She usually fried spam to go with it. This was not to be a delicacy but to save money.
    We ate just about every part of the beef animal or the pig. Oxtail soup, tongue cooked right, head cheese, boiled heart, fresh liver. Old hens were stewed slow and long, then meat taken from bone, cooked with home made thick noodles. Wonderful food. Later off the farm when my mother nvited you for Sunday dinner, we t was awful. Over cooked mat and vegetables. But drop in on her, she would fret and stew and then make wonderful food thrown together.
    Sandy is a diabetic, is lactose intolerant, has severe colitis. Figure out what she can eat. Not very much. We both get frustrated about it. Sometimes she throws together things she can eat. Never very good but she feels better for the effort. No pasta is a big hole. Pasta and rice send nether blood sugar not the stratosphere.

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    1. fried egg is a favorite. i miss bread. the egg with onion tomato and ketchup if there is no chili sauce mayo and a fistful of salt and pepper. two eggs over medium so the yolk drips but doesnt run
      life can be easy

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  8. Most weird things I used to make were weird because I was so ignorant.

    My erstwife and I loved scotch eggs served in British pubs, so I determined to surprise her by making them at home. She was supposed to stay out of the kitchen, but ultimately came in because of strange noises. She found me trying to turn cased sausages into the meat layer by flattening them with a rolling pin. I didn’t know stores sold bulk sausage meat.

    Similarly, when I made stuffed pork chops, I didn’t know stores sold bread crumbs. So I bought Brownberry croutons and smushed them with a mortar and pestle. That worked so well we still do that, for the croutons are tastier than breadcrumbs.

    Once my erstwife was away on business, leaving no true adult at home. I made green eggs and ham for my daughter. I used conventional ingredients but added enough food coloring to produce kelly green eggs. That recipe did not go into rotation although it tasted fine.

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        1. when is suess day
          i will organize something to celebrate that day

          march 2 i have some time to get it together.
          party at my house witrh green eggs and ham. wear your pajamas and bring a red fish and a blue fish

          Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve made my fair share of unintentionally weird food due to misreading the recipe. It makes a difference how much brown sugar you add to a pot of chili.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Peanut butter in chili? No kidding. Sounds intriguing, and turns it into a whole different animal. Of course, I know you’re a vegetarian, so I’m wondering what the remainding of the ingredients are?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. starts with onions and you can throw in mushrooms and garlic at the early point. i like to cook onions down to caramelized then bring in the tomatoes the sauce and paste and let the simmer go for a while beer goes in about now,i put in the cumin and chili powder the paprika and the decision about heat level. the peanut butter black olives and go in with the beans that have been simmering in another pot until the right level of tenderness. if it is too runny a little corn flour otherwise i think that it. cheddar cheese on top. maybe a little sour cream and black olives

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  9. I don’t think fried egg sandwiches are weird. I grew up eating them and still occasionally crave one. My dad loved ketchup on nearly everything – even just smeared on two pieces of white Wonder Bread as a sandwich. That was weird!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Friend of mine used to put potato chips on any sandwich – cheese, meat… gave it a nice crunch.

    A lot of things that might have tasted “weird” to me when young now I realize are just of a different ethnic background – cinnamon and cloves in a meat stew, or cocoa powder as mentioned above. Fish in tacos… ceviche where the fish is “cooked” by the lime juice rather than by heat.

    I think that lutefisk is probably weird food, but I’ve never had it. Read that the gelatinous texture is actually a mistake – if it were processed correctly it would have a normal texture.

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    1. I’ve done potato chips on sandwiches, but usually because no one has remembered there is a vegetarian in their midst. Bun, ketchup, mustard, relish, hopefully a piece of cheese, then the chips and voila – you’re taking part in the barbecue!

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  11. I often end up with “concoctions” but it’s mostly because I’m too lazy to go get the missing ingredient (or two or three). Or because I’m trying to convert a meat recipe to a vegetarian recipe.

    I once made a last-minute soup for a church potluck. I had forgotten about it so basically just started throwing stuff that I could find into the pot. Vegies, orzo, some beans, some cheese. People raved over it and asked for the recipe – something that rarely happens (unless it’s pie!) And, of course I had to tell people there wasn’t a recipe – that I had just thrown it together. There was one woman who was sure I was lying to protect some old family recipe!

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  12. if you can kinda remember … thats a recipe.
    i use the thrown together recipe evgery every every time. i referrence cook books or internet as a refference for suggested possible inclusions and those people… how do they measure their spices. a pinch or a shake arent mentioned anywhere.
    my new drink is a club soda with bitters. 3 dashes is the right amount. leave it to the bartender and they come up with odd measurements and way too much of it. i like the essence of a flavor not a bambardment. but in chili it just keeps coming. you have to do it a few times to know how chipotle or habanero with bite you.

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  13. If you ever want to come up with some off the wall foods. I suggest buying a pig from a local farmer and asking to keep all the scraps. My boyfriend and I did that a little over a year ago and it was amazing the creative things we came up with. At first it was a little intimidating trying make items like tongue and heart taste good. Which we ended up turning ours into sausage and scrapple. Although with enough recipe research and a little trial and error. We were making tacos carnitas from the actual pigs head. It’s a lengthy process and you have to be able to step outside your cooking comfort zone however it’s totally worth the challenge.

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