It has a funny taste. You can't put your finger on it, but if you had to describe it you would say it has the flavor of INTENSE PAIN.The masochist's meal is any food that is so unpleasant, painful, disgusting, or even outright dangerous to eat that the only reason any sane man would eat it is to be able to say that he did. Real-Life examples abound, to the point that fictional analogues tend to be really over-the-top. The food equivalent of a Gargle Blaster, often prepared by a Lethal Chef. Can overlap with Foreign Queasine and Eat That. See also Fire-Breathing Diner, Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce, and I Ate WHAT?
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Hot Stuff- Real Life
The hot foods we're most familiar with are mostly from three groups — the Brassicas (cabbage, turnips, radishes and relatives), the Capsicums (chile peppers, related to tomatoes, potatoes, and nightshade in the Solanaceae family), and the Piperaceae (black pepper and a couple of exotic relatives like long pepper and cubeb). (There's also spices like cinnamon and ginger, but except for things like cinnamon candy, they're better known for their overall flavor than just the heat.)
- Many types of hot peppers, particularly the species Capsicum chinense and hybrids thereof. The most notable of these are the Habanero and the Scotch Bonnet; the average C. chinense is a tiny round thing with a festive orange color that looks quite harmless, but causes really severe pain to the unprepared (like this guy). You need to build up a serious capsaicin tolerance before you can appreciate the delicious smoky taste.note
- There's one type of hot pepper called the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili) that can make you go temporarily deaf by sheer heat. It was ranked by Guinness Books as the hottest pepper in the world at 850,000 - 1,050,000 Scoville Heat Units. The only things known to be hotter are pure capsaicin, some of its derivatives and military/police grade pepper spray (which isn't actually that much hotter, just a few times). It is used for many things, including treating stomach ills, and the juice, when smeared on fences or added to smoke bombs, is potent enough to drive elephants away. (And it's been outdone by a variant of a variety called the Trinidad Scorpion, now outdone by the Carolina Reaper.)
- If you don't just want to take a bite of a super-hot pepper but want to try a super-hot full meal, then British-Asian cuisine is the place to be. Specifically the phall. It's basically just bits of chicken/ lamb/ beef/ whatever drowned in Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce with some lost tomatoes. Have a glass of milk handy or a lassi. Even beer won't do any good, and water might even make things worse.
- Capsaicin is soluble in fat and alcohol, but not water. So beer is as effective as milk in palliating its effects. Sodas, coffees, teas, and water, on the other hand...
- First hand experience: you're better off with the full-fat dairy than the beer — more fat. And, with a phall, you need that fat. You could get away with a beer and a vindaloo or downwards in the curry-heat stakes, though (depending on your taste buds' abilities at survival). Yup: mitigating the pain is as much of an art-form as creating it in the first place. Sweet can also help, if mixed in with the fat, as it gives the mouth a different flavour to latch onto in its desperation. You're a bit screwed, however, if you're going for one of the hot ones that already contains cream, yoghurt and almonds along with the ghee, though, as the chilli is already quite at home with the fat. British-Asian cuisine: pick your pain and your medicine wisely.
- A restaurant chain in the US now serves "triple atomic wings" for masochists to numb their mouths and clear their sinuses with.
- A few other wing chains have challenges where one must eat a pile of the spiciest wings in the house in a certain amount of time, with people able to do it photographed and put on a wall, maybe even given an "I survived" T-shirt.
- Wasabi. There are several very good reasons why it is recommended that one use only a dab of wasabi sauce on your sushi, and the ones that don't involve flailing around in pain like an idiot have to do with the subsequent volcanic trip to the bathroom.
- Horseradish as well. Wasabi is frequently cut with or imitated by green-dyed horseradish - though the wasabi plant is not in the same genus as true horseradish - and in Japan horseradish is known as "Western wasabi".
- It depend on what classification you use. Some botanists put them both into genus Cochlearia. Still they both reside in the cabbage family, Brassicaceae, and are similar enough in biology and taste.
- On the other hand, wasabi is also a very clean spice. Unlike the things listed above, it doesn't really linger or taste 'hot', as the compounds that give wasabi and horseradish their hotness are water-soluble and do not cling to your mouth as capsaicin do.
- A good analogy is that the spice of wasabi is like a flammable gas: a quick explosion of heat, but fades quickly. Peppers are like burning wood or other flammable materials like that: a slower, steadier burn. The stronger peppers could be compared to thermite: Very strong, and there's almost no chance of stopping it once it's started (like how it's hard to cool a mouth that's suffered something blisteringly spicy.)
- Horseradish as well. Wasabi is frequently cut with or imitated by green-dyed horseradish - though the wasabi plant is not in the same genus as true horseradish - and in Japan horseradish is known as "Western wasabi".
- Chimpanzees will sometimes deliberately seek out and eat fire ants, which bite. Gustatory masochism must be a common trait of the tribe Hominidae.
- Birds are immune to the effect of capsaicin, they can therefore eat all forms of hot peppers without ill effect. This is the point of capsaicin since peppers spread their seeds far and wide through the droppings of birds that eat them and would be digested too much if a mammal ate their fruit instead.
- Russian mustard, or rather anything with black mustard seeds. It's more or less the Jalapeno of mustards.
- Raw garlic. A powerful taste that can painfully burn your mouth for several seconds, possibly give you an upset stomach if you eat enough, and curse you with a stench that not only taints your breath but your actual body odor as well. That's not going to stop some people from chowing down on a few cloves a day. Justified, as studies have suggested that eating raw garlic has health benefits. On the "folk remedy" side of things, garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating at least as far back as when the Giza pyramids were built. Russians are also fond of this one, and of equally hot snacks made from raw garlic and cheese In some parts of china, a piece of it is eaten with dumplings.
- Garlic is also an natural Antibiotic, very useful for curing toothaches. This is done by soaking a towel in hot water mixed with chopped raw garlic and leaving the hellish mass of pain in your mouth next to the already painful toothache. It works.
- Another benefit of having a diet rich in garlic: A garlic-eater's body-odor acts as a natural mosquito repellant.
- The San Francisco-based Japanese fusion restaurant On The Bridge has spice levels that are as follows: Mild, Medium, Spicy, X-Spicy, XX-Spicy, XXX-Spicy, and XXXX-Spicy. Casual customers have been known to reach their limit at XX or XXX level. However, there are also "secret" spicy levels that go beyond XXXX-Spicy, the catch being that the chef has to know you personally before he'll let you try them. There are reports of people having done as high as 20X-spicy.
Hot Stuff- Fiction
Anime and Manga
- Angel from Angel Beats! is the only person that would eat the Legendarily-spicy Mapo Tofu not as a side dish, but as the ONLY dish, and enjoy it, when it would make other, grown men cry from the pain. She even eats half the dish in one go when she got into trouble for eating in the Lunch Hall during classes.
- A few other characters eat it during the show, and while they do find it incredibly hot, they also remark that it does really taste pretty good.
- TK even ate all the Mapo Tofu (and only Map Tofu, by the looks of it) in the cafeteria during the special. Instead of being absurdly round like the other two cast members, he looks and sounds completely dried out, and enters and exits the bathroom multiple times. "My stomach is destruction..."
- Mai-HiME had a moment where Mai made someone eat hot spicy curry, during a Beach Episode while being dug into the sand.
- In an omake strip for Nabari No Ou, Gau ate a piece of sushi with a huge blob of wasabi on it◊. The title says it all ("M" standing for "Masochism").
- The reason Kaolla Su is never allowed to take kitchen duty in Love Hina is because her spicy native cuisine is inedible to the rest of the cast.
- Although not hot per se (although one variety can melt solid metal), Bianci's "Poison Cooking" technique in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! can cause any food or later any object, to become dangerous to touch or lethal to injest, with the exception of the proir use of an "Iron Stomach" shot.
- Anthy's cuisine in Revolutionary Girl Utena includes curry so hot it blows you out of your body and into someones else's.
- Fairy Tail includes a species of allegedly edible fish which taste terrible no matter what you do to try and prepare them. Naturally, they are often the only available source of food.
- A very funny page from a Green Arrow Secret Files issue shows Ollie's famous chili recipe (which is not only an actual recipe, but apparently a very good one, if not really as hot as depicted). The JLA all have horrified reactions to it (including J'onn comparing it to fire and freaking out)... except Batman, who just thinks it needs more crackers: Link
- There is at least one joke regarding an inexperienced chili-taster who is selected as a judge in a Texas chili-cooking contest. While the notes from the other two judges talk about the nuanced flavors and proportions of ingredients, the newbie reacts like someone's coating his tongue with flaming LSD. At the end judge #2 speculates how the newbie would fare against really hot chili.
- Hotroot soup, eaten by otters in the Redwall books. They tend to have contests to see who can load theirs up with the most hotroot without spontaneously combusting.
- In Discworld, Mustrum Ridcully's powered up version of the Wow-Wow sauce, whose ingredients include scumble, sulphur and saltpetre.
- Ange from Little Brother carries around a spray canister of diluted capsicum.
- The Star Trek original series novel "Uhura's Song" introduces "tail-kinkers," little hard berries that seem to be the size and texture of a peppercorn, but which offer the spicy equivalent of some of the stronger peppers. Beware when eating a stew made by the local Trickster Archetype, or you may just bite down on a tiny little ball of pain.
- From the Animorphs series comes Cassie's dad's chili, generally considered to be just barely on this side of edible on a good day. Ax loves it, of course.
- The Observers from Fringe have little sense of taste, so they always spice up their foods. The first episode to focus on them has one eat a roast beef sandwich topped with eleven jalapenos, an entire bottle of Tabasco sauce and a whole shaker's worth of pepper. Another has them eating whole Bhut Jolokia peppers in an Indian restaurant.
- MythBusters once tested various methods of curing the burn from chillis (using whole milk as a control). One of them was using wasabi. Grant (who was using jalapeños for the initial burn) was in even worse pain than with the chili peppers alone. Tory (who was using the hotter habaneros) actually got some relief from the wasabi. None of the cures they tried were as good as milk.
- In Wasabi, the commissaire is discussing the case with his friend Momo in a Japanese restaurant. Before Momo can warn him, Fiorentini is snacking on the offered wasabi by the chunkful, as if it were guacamole, exclaiming after many mouthfuls on how delicious it is. At this point Momo, who knows perfectly well how powerful wasabi normally is and was terrified, seems mollified and tries a tiny bit out of curiosity... and promptly collapses in agony.
- FoxTrot has a number of strips involving Peter accepting dares to put a ridiculous amount of Tabasco sauce on his Mexican food (and suffering the consequences).
- They've actually done two variations on this. In one, Jason and Peter play a Name That Tune-esque game ("I can eat this taco with five squirts of hot sauce); in another, Peter does it to himself ("Who wants to see me eat this taco with eight squirts of hot sauce?!") as Paige and Jason look on, wryly remarking "Ah, the tears of a clown..."
- One strip has both Peter and Jason loading up on Tabasco after both have been to the dentist. One wonders about what will happen when the novocaine wears off.
- Jason also once played a prank on his father by dumping Tabasco sauce into his cup of coffee.
- In a Garfield strip◊, where Jon takes Liz to a restaurant:
Jon: Is your chili spicy?Waiter: Not really.Guest (offscreen): GAAAHH! MY THROAT! MILK! ICE WATER! ALOE VERA!!!Waiter: Unless you're a weenie...Jon: Bring it on!Liz: Jooooon...Guest (offscreen): I CAN'T SEE!
- The curry in Super Smash Brothers Brawl is so hot it causes characters to run around the stage spitting fire.
- It originally appeared in Kirby's Dream Land.
- There's a hot pepper item in Super Mario Galaxy 2 which, if Yoshi eats it, causes him to freak out and start running really fast. It allows you to do things like run over the surface of water and run up (and across) vertical surfaces.
- In Tales of Monkey Island W.P. Grindstump is the proud owner of a Fugu Jolokia Pepper. He won it by being able to place his tongue on the outer skin of the pepper for a full 10 seconds, and now offers a challenge for anyone who would place their tongue on the pepper for a full 11 seconds! No mean feat, as not only is the pepper spicy beyond all sanity, even on the outer skin (wheras most real-life peppers have their heat in the juice or seeds), but it is also hot temperature-wise to the tongue, to the point that Guybrush's skin nearly burns when he tries touching the pepper with his good hand; he needs to numb up his tongue if he wants to win the challenge.
- The Sega Genesis game Donald Duck's Quackshot allows Donald to collect hot peppers. Eating enough of them causes him to turn red and throw a temper tantrum, becoming temporarily invincible.
- In the "Heaven's Feel" arc of Fate/stay night, Shirou meets Kotomine in a restaurant notorious for hellishly brutal mapo tofu Shirou wishes to avoid. Kotomine gulps it down like gazpacho and, to Shirou's disbelief, orders more. When Kotomine offers him some, Shirou abruptly and emphatically refuses.
- In Persona 4, one of the dishes the Chinese diner Aiya serves is a spicy rice bowl. Eating it will boost your Courage stat.
- Also, anything Rise cooks will fall into this trope.
- Nanako said Rise's rice omelette was spicy but good, so it's possible rest of the cast are just weenies. But, she also manages to eat Chie's and Yukiko's omelettes as well, the two responsible for the "Mystery Food X" entry later on this page, so it's also possible she can eat anything.
- Also, anything Rise cooks will fall into this trope.
- In the excellent Firefly-esque webcomic Crimson Dark, the captain's chili has been described as volcanic. This also leads to one of the funniest moments in the comic.
- Discussed in Freefall here:
Florence: It must be so much fun being human. You guys can eat anything. Even the weird stuff like jalapeño peppers. I mean, really. What other species would eat something like that and sit there with nose burning and eyes watering, trying to figure out how to make it even hotter?
- In Rhapsodies Blossom isn't allowed to take her curry to potlucks anymore.
- Sydney of Grrl Power makes a point to offer mortal insult to a new chili restaurant her first time there, just to be sure she gets a sufficiently hot meal.
- She was also required to sign a legal waiver to order said meal, making absolutely sure that she knew that this wasn't going to be your everyday hot sauce. (Which leads to her being a Fire-Breathing Diner...do a bit of Stop, Drop, and Roll....only to thank them for making something so spicy and continue eating.)
- In The Simpsons episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer," Chief Wiggum challenges Homer to try his chili made with extra-hot peppers "grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum." Homer screams in pain with the first taste, but after coating his tongue with wax, he successfully eats four whole peppers to everyone's shock. Then he begins to hallucinate.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender Sokka cannot stand the heat of the Fire Nation delicacy fire flakes, although Mai has no problem snacking on them.
- In the Regular Show episode "Weekend at Benson's", Benson, Mordecai and Rigby get involved in a hot-sauce drinking contest, and their last course is a concoction their rival calls "Mississippi Queen", consisting of a whole bunch of hot sauces and shellfish mixed in a large sifter. All three drink it down and at first feel just fine. Then the hallucinations start.
Other Dodgy Foods- Real Life
- Fugu, or Japanese blowfish, carries tetrodotoxin (TTX, one of the most potent neurotoxin in the world) in their skin and internal organs. Death by TTX is extremely nasty: rapid full-body paralysis followed by slow asphyxiation, and the patient remains conscious throughout the ordeal; there is no known antidote and the treatment consists of helping the paralyzed victim get oxygen while waiting for his/her body to process the toxin (one wonders how they discovered which bits were safe to eat). Aspiring fugu chefs must take a 3-year course, and the final exam requires the students to prepare a plate of fugu, then eat it. Only 30% of applicants pass (most of them fail the written portion, EMS is on hand to take care of everyone else). Averted nowadays, as most Japanese restaurants serve farm-raised fugu, whose diet does not contain the poisony stuff they need to be screamingly toxic. The finished dish is then sprinkled with a very small amount of bottled toxin to get the tingly/numb lips and tongue (if the numbness spreads past your neck, go to the nearest emergency room as fast as your and your friend's legs can carry you).
- Fugu is supposed to have a narcotic effect. Apparently it's good enough to be worth the risk of waking up in your own grave (the active ingredient is a key component in the zombification process - really, no kidding). What some people will go through just to catch a buzz.
- A famous Japanese actor once killed himself after eating four Fugu livers, the most poisonous part of the fish, on a dare. Not at the same time, four separate times in his life. Similarly, hobos are known to accidentally ingest it after digging through the trash of restaurants. This is why serving fugu liver is illegal in Japan and why it's considered biohazardous material and must be properly disposed of.
- The Munchkin Expansion Munchkin Fu has the Fugu card. It givies you a level up... 5/6 of the time. Otherwise, it kills you stone dead.
- There is a specialty restaurant in New York where people pay through the nose to eat such things as deep-fried tarantula.
- You can also roast them, apparently, together with other delicious creatures, like cockroaches and centipedes among others...
- People have been known to eat live scorpions. Yes, live as in "still got the poisonous stinger".
- In Cambodia, certain villages started eating tarantulas under the Khmer Rouge regime due to famine. They got used to it and still eat them. Arachnovores of the world, unite.
- Balut, a boiled duck or chicken egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside. Although a popular snack in such countries as Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines, its unfamiliarity to most Westerners has made it a standard "gross-out" food challenge in such reality game shows as Survivor and Fear Factor. Unlike most examples, the dish itself is merely horrifying in concept and looks, but given what it is, it's actually not that much worse than the bird it would have become.
- Many monks during the Middle Ages, in an attempt to make their food less pleasurable, would sprinkle various powders on it to make it bitter. At least one (who later became a saint) is known to have done this to an extent that another monk who tasted it was laid out for three days with nausea.
- Casu Marzu, a Sardinian delicacy. The cheese gets its unique flavour and odour from the live insect larvae that inhabit it, but you have to be careful when eating it because said larvae are known to jump into the eyes of diners or live on in their intestines as parasites. Apparently, the best way to eat it is to put it into a paper bag or similar item to suffocate and kill the larvae inside.
- For a short time, Casu Marzu was banned in Sardinia due to the intestinal parasites. As more than one comic quipped, why would you ban something in the only place where people are crazy enough to eat it?
- It's almost impossible to get real kefir, a liquid dairy product, in the United States, as it contains so many (harmless) strains of living bacteria, fungi and protozoa that it's considered "contaminated" by FDA standards, even fresh from the vat. Genuine kefir is so alive that the lumpy curds it's derived from not only grow larger inside those vats, but actually split in two as they grow, as if the lumps themselves are reproducing microorganisms.
- In a sense, they are. Biologists believe that such compound colonies of protozoa, that existed in the bacterial mats on the early Earth, were predecessors of all multicell organisms. BTW, kefir grains don't really split. Being lumps of starchy fibrous matrix, produced by bacteria as a substrate to live on, they simply grow large enough to be broken by any agitation of the liquid.
- This infoMania Viral Video Film School. Please don't become one of these people.
- Actually, the girl who ate the light bulb seems to be a fun person to hang out with.
- Everything mentioned in the Steve, Don't Eat It! series of articles from The Sneeze (except perhaps the "tree brain," which a mushroom fan would instantly recognize as not only edible, but delicious—as Steve found out). If you think the dog treats and pickled pork rinds look unappetising, wait till you see the silkworm cocoons and fungus-infected corn.
- The Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and the follow up Bizarre World with Andrew Zimmern is all about this trope.
- Another Travel Channel show No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain has moments of this trope.
- Any place where you can choose what goes in what you want (as in a sandwich, milkshake, etc.) typically has a few disgusting options for the sake of it. An example being a milkshake with pickled beetroot and custard.
- Hardtack. An incredibly dense and hard form of bread, valued more for the fact that it will never go bad if kept dry than for its edibility. The standard Civil War solution to consuming it was to whack it against a hard surface to knock most of the weevils out, then soaking it in your cup of coffee to soften it up enough to chew. Still consumed in a few places a long way away from regular resupply. Taste-wise, though, it isn't so much bad as it is bland. Think of a biscuit or cookie made out of unsalted hard pretzel dough and you'll have an idea of what it tastes like.
- Its distant successor is the Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) series of meals. Keeps for years and can be prepared in 15 minutes by literally just adding water, which reacts with the heating element to cook the pouch of food. On the downside, it's notorious for being extremely dry and even causing constipation. They see wide use in the military, where keeping up with one's nutritional needs on the go is a very high priority, but American civilians who really want to try them can easily purchase them at the local surplus store.
- Lutefisk, from Scandinavia. Essentially, you take a perfectly good fish and let it rot slightly, then soak it in lye and smoke it. Then, you soak it in water to get all the lye out, boil it, and serve it with innocent mashed potatoes which had done nothing to deserve the treatment. The resulting substance often tastes like a science experiment gone tragically wrong. According to some, the best lutefisk is the kind that can dissolve the silverware used to eat it!
- Eating lutefisk is something of a rite of passage for people who live in Minnesota (which, of course, is largely populated by people of Scandanavian descent). Legends of its origins vary from "way to eat fish that had been stored outdoors" to "food intended as a deliberate poison given by St. Patrick to Viking raiders that was declared a delicacy after they ate and loved it."
- Properly made lutefisk is delicious, but the problem is that the right amount of time to soak it in lye is in an extremely narrow range. Too little time, and it tastes hideous. Too long and the lye will turn the meat's entire fat-content into soap, because the way soap is usually made is by treating fats with lye.
- There is also Surströmming, which is herring that has fermented. Sold in tins that usually bend and warp from gases released during the process. A polarising delicacy, as you either love it or try to avoid it like the plague (quite literally, as a single tin can stink up a whole building). Unexpecting non-natives have been known to try to alert authorities about biohazards when presented with the dish for the first time.
- Hakarl is an Icelandic meal made by gutting a Greenland or basking shark, burying it in the sand for 6-12 weeks, cutting it up, and hanging it out to dry for several months. It has a high ammonia content, stinks to high heaven, and will usually trigger a first-time eater's gag reflex. Not surprisingly, eating it is, to quote from The Other Wiki, "often associated with hardiness and strength."
- Russians are no slouches in the department of queasy fish, either.
- Vobla (basically roach fish mummified on the sun with intestines still in) is rather tame, as it only looks horrible. You eat it with your hands, with beer; eating the bladder, too, is a sign of badassery.
- Smoked Siberian omul is much worse, it emits an astonishingly strong smell of not exactly fresh fish and aggravates the innocent passengers of the Trans-Siberian rails to no end.
- Everything from The Old Wolf's Banquet from Hell, from a certain point of view.
- Cracked offers a brief summary of the 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World.
- Cloves. A seasoning typically found in small quantities in Indian food, they are occasionally boiled whole in something to season it instead of powdered and added; biting into a clove is easily enough to numb an area of your mouth entirely, which is why eugenol, the chemical that gives cloves their distinctive flavor, is frequently used as a topical painkiller in dentistry.
- The Heart Attack Grill. Not so much the taste so much as how disgustingly unhealthy their options are. Their options include fries cooked in pure lard, milkshakes made from butter fat, and more infamously, the "Quadruple Bypass" burger, a four-patty burger that easily tops 9,500 calories, over four times the generally-recommended daily intake for most adults. Since their introduction, they've since gone up to the "Octuple Bypass" burger. The best part is, customers who weigh over 350 pounds and weigh in with staff get to eat a meal for free. And yes, people have suffered fatal heart attacks there.
- Stinky tofu, popular in parts of China, lives up to its name. It smells like concentrated sewage mixed with vomit, and you can usually smell if a street stall is frying it from several blocks away. The proper fermentation process takes months, and enterprising street vendors have been known to take short cuts...
- Century Eggs are another chinese delicacy that often sends foreigners up a hill in revolt. It's an egg that has gone through a preservative and fermentation process that turns the entire egg black and the yoke into a gooey grey mush. It's taste is extremely pungent and polarizing; you either love it or will puke at the merest taste. This is due to the high amounts of iron within the egg (which, given the color, you wouldn't be blamed if you thought there was only iron left in it). The legend on how it's made isn't exactly pleasant either; rumor has it that it was invented by someone soaking eggs in horse urine.
- The durian fruit, known for its notoriously strong odor. So strong, in fact, that metro systems and hotels in Southeast Asia, where durians come from, are known for banning them. The fruit itself has a tough husk covered entirely with the kind of spikes that a cactus would envy. One must wonder how hungry someone must have been to say to himself "the inside of that spiky ball might contain something delicious."
- From the British Isles, we have Stilton, a type of cheese that is REQUIRED to be moldy. This isn't specific to Stilton, it's true of 'most all "blue" cheeses.
- The Spartan black soup. There is a famous case of a person from an Italian colony (these had a reputation for being rich and spoiled) tasting it and saying "now I know why Spartans don't give a damn about dying in battle". The Spartans, from their side, claimed that it's quite edible if you live like a man - that is, exercise as a Spartan and swim in ice cold rivers. Unsurprisingly, no recipe survived.
Other Dodgy Foods- Fiction
Anime and Manga
- Tadashi of Onidere is one of two people able to eat Saya's cooking. Every time someone tries it, there is a flashback to the worst pain they have ever endured, and then a multiplier. For Tadashi it was 30 times worse than stubbing his little toe as a child. That was the first bite. The tea served afterwards? Five times worse than 'the entire meal'.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, anything that England cooks is this, due to his preparation. The only character who can eat his food without suffering is America, since he grew up eating his food (he doesn't like it, however). Finland's food is also this, due to the ingredients such as salmiakki, and even his dog describes it as "poison".
- In Ranma 1/2, Cologne gets a hold of an order of Chinese noodles with an absolutely horrific taste (they managed to knock her, Shampoo, and Mousse out, they were so vile.) But she has crates and crates of the stuff, so, to get rid of it, the Cat Cafè holds a contest: she'll hide a mystical "noodle of strength" in a mountain of the rancid ones. Cue the egotistical martial artists in town (and a few Muggles) scarfing their way to the (quite literal) afterlife. Oh, and the strength-giving noodle? It tasted even worse. And it didn't work as advertised.
- Again, when Ukyou was sick and Ranma, Akane, and Konatsu volunteered to tend to her restaurant, Akane's okonomiyaki were so gruesome no one would eat them. Ranma is then inspired to hold a similar contest, with a prize going to whoever could finish their whole meal. Akane was not amused.
- And also related to Akane: after a whole saga involving her trying to get Ranma to eat her home-made cookies, he finally takes them just to make her happy. He spends the next week bedridden. The several dozen incriminating photographs he had disposed of earlier probably didn't help.
- The very first time Akane's cooking entered the scene, Ranma and Genma retched and gagged, but didn't even call Akane out on it (yet) and instead just ran away. When Ryoga tasted it, he was visibly in serious pain but he kept grinning madly and eating it just for the joy of having Akane's cooking. In the original manga version, cue Ranma himself forcing himself to eat it just to prove to Akane that he liked it too (in other words, to prevent from being "shown up" by Ryoga). Needless to say, that was the last time in the series he would dare to try giving her cooking a chance, and otherwise would have to be forced to eat it.
- A very literal masochist's meal is prepared in MM!, when Mio attempts to make squid ink pasta. (Key word: attempts.) The first to try it is Tarou, the masochist who enjoys any pain or discomfort inflicted on him by a girl. Naturally, he loves it. Then a couple other people try it...
- Some ingredients on Toriko are even more dangerous to eat than they are to catch or prepare. In the "Gourmet Casino" arc, Toriko eats a Nitro Cherry and barely survives since it's like eating a lit stick of dynamite. And he only survived because he ate two other masochistic foods — the Dynami-Dragonfly, another explosive ingredient that reduces the effects of other explosives, and the Troll Cheese, whose foul odor messed up Toriko's super sense of smell so that he wouldn't succumb to the Nitro Cherry's fumes. Near the end of the arc, he eats a Poison Potato, the most poisonous food in the world, one that not even Coco can fully neutralize. Luckily for Toriko, the Poison Potato is compatible with his Gourmet Cells, so he gets a powerup instead of a nasty death.
- All food with the exception of coffee and water is this to the titular Ghouls of Tokyo Ghoul. It tastes incredibly vile to them, often causing them to become violently ill — tricks have been developed to pass for human by swallowing small bites whole, creating the illusion of eating without having to taste it. However, their bodies cannot digest the food and if they don't throw it up within a short period of time, it will make them seriously ill. Because her Muggle Best Friend is a Supreme Chef, Touka frequently forces down human meals for her friend and makes herself ill. On the other hand, Kaneki gives some horrifying descriptions of what human food tastes like, often comparing it to rotting garage or various inedible substances.
- In Astérix on Corsica, there's a cheese which smell can knock out non-Corsicans and occasionally explodes. Related to Casu Marzu? It's not the right island, but close...
- Played with in Men Of War when the villagers perform an elaborate ceremony serving the invading mercenaries large eggs containing unborn chicks which they choke down out of respect. Turns out its a practical joke.
Nick (a mercenary): So you guys eat this all the time or is just for... uhm... ceremonies?Po (a villager): Are you kidding? We don't eat that shit!
- In Star Trek: Generations, Data has just acquired emotions, and is having a drink (type unstated) in Ten Forward. He tastes it twice, concludes "I hate this! It is revolting!" ... and then immediately accepts Guinan's offer of a refill.
- In End of Days, Schwarzenegger's character is seen starting his day by mixing coffee, beer, pepto bismol, leftover chinese food, and a slice of pizza dropped on the floor in a blender and then chugging the resulting concoction. Ick.
- In The A-Team, Murdoch makes Face and B.A. some steaks that have been burnt beyond imagining through the application of gunpowder on the meat. He then offers them some of his "secret sauce", which is antifreeze. Face mentions how he got temporary Bell's Palsy last time, so Murdoch tells him to "take it like a man".
- In The Returner Mizoguchi shows he's a tough guy at his meeting with the Triads by eating his lobster-shell and all.
- The Discworld books have several examples:
Rincewind: "Dwarf bread?"
- Dwarf bread is tremendously useful for surviving in the wilderness with, because if you have some on hand, you're always willing to find something else to eat. Like your own foot. This is because dwarf bread is so hard, it's of better use as a blunt instrument.
Mad: "Too right! That's what kept us going across thousands of miles of shark-infested ocean. If we hadn't had that sack of dwarf bread we'd—"
Rincewind: "—never have been able to club the sharks to death?"
Mad: "Ah, you're a man who knows your breads."
- Apart from dwarf bread, dwarf cuisine consists of "what the dwarfs found underground — rats, snails, worms (useful protein), bits of stone and so on". Dwarfs are famed for their sauces, since no-one would eat rat without something to hide the taste. In Ankh-Morpork, "fusion" cusine aimed at humans is designed to look a bit like actual dwarf cookery, while being in a very real sense nothing like it.
- In Pyramids there's a parody of fugu which contains a poison that, if not removed, causes the eater to expand like a blowfish and explode. It's traditionally served with roots that need to be prepared exactly over several days, or else they react catastrophically with stomach acid. This is described as 'fish and chips For Men'.
- This shows up again in Interesting Times, being used by the Evil Chancellor.
- Further Discworld example: CMOT Dibbler's sausage-inna-bun. It's possible that the books exaggerate, but they're described as the culinary equivalent of a B-movie: they're absolutely awful, yet somehow appealing.
- His Fourecks counterpart, Fair Go Dibbler, serves a meat pie floater. Apparently you have to be astonishingly drunk to consider eating one a good idea. In fact, all food served by Dibblers are like this, from Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah's disturbingly live yoghurt (he had to keep hitting it with a spoon to stop it escaping) to May-I-Be-Kicked-In-My-Own-Ice-Hole Dibooki's chunks of blubber (Rincewind reflects that it's one thing to butcher beached whales, and something else to just wait until they explode into bite-sized peices on their own). Inverted with Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala, who we first see being accosted by a customer complaining that he's been sold a fresh egg, rather than one that's a thousand years old.
- And yet another: Sam Vimes is the first man to be brave enough to refuse to eat the "tribal delicacies" of the D'hregs, guessing that the D'hregs are having him on and that nobody could eat that rubbish. He's right.
- Although it's doubtful that he actually intended to digest the thing, a performer in Maskerade is seen applying mustard to a blade in preparation for his sword-swallowing stage act.
- In A Hat Full of Sky, one of the flashbacks Tiffany experiences from a past victim of the Hiver is that of a long-ago desert queen who'd poisoned her enemies. Emerging from the memory-flash, the young witch groggily murmurs about a scorpion sandwich.
- The Monstrous Regiment has an experienced corporal (who had only one actual limb not made of wood, with at least one of his legs having went by being swapped with another man's to stave off starvation in a campaign, which they considered preferable to Autocannibalism) make it pretty clear to the recruits to expect this in military life should they have anything at all. A thin soup made of...whatever called scubbo is frequently mentioned. To the shock of absolutely everyone, the squad's lieutenant rather likes the stuff. The corporal in particular prefers rat over horse.
- In The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson, the three nannies, after the infant prince is kidnapped from under their noses, punish themselves by inflicting horrible meals unto themselves, vowing to never ever again eat something they like, until the prince is rescued ... the earliest opportunity for which is after nine years of horrible food, and dipping their toes in ice water whenver they start to feel too good. When, finally, a rescue team can make it through the magic portal, the nannies sit in front of a crate of bananas, hoping to be able to open it, soon. (Their punishment is entirely self-inflicted, the Queen and King are much too kind to punish them at all.)
- All of Pervian food in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures. As Aahz once put it: "The biggest problem with Pervian food is to keep it from crawling away from your dish while you are eating it..." And it stinks.
- In the comic book, they mention that they serve this stuff on purpose to scare away would-be interdimensional tourists.
- On one occasion, Skeeve walked into a Pervish restaurant and ordered something Klahddish... only to be served a stuffed Klahd. Not really, but only because the place didn't have a license to serve sentient creatures.
- Gleep the baby dragon is sometimes seen swallowing unidentified things he's found in gutters or basements. Usually Skeeve is glad not to have a clue what they are, as the number of legs sticking out between his pet's jaws is disturbing enough.
- Just about everything Miss Mush cooks in the Wayside School series.
- Ironically, she's fine if she just cooks for one person. She cooks for over 300.
- Moonglow in the Star Wars universe is not unpleasant to eat (the description makes it sound rather like an Asian pear), but requires a ninety-seven step process carried out by a trained chef to make it safely edible.
- In Bridge of Birds, improperly prepared porcupine meat - and when we say improper, we mean such as cutting the meat into pieces of the wrong shape - will kill you in a horrible way that we won't even go into here.
- Well, maybe...it must be noted that "porcupine poisoning" doesn't actually happen to anyone in the book. Two characters claim that it happened to someone as part of a ruse. The whole scene reads like some finicky gourmet's preferences got mixed up with actual cautions, similar to those concerning fugu, to create an Urban Legend of epic proportions.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Dragon's Honor seems to take this to its logical extreme. Our intrepid crew is having dinner on a planet based on ancient China, and Picard's politeness regarding the local (hideous) cuisine bites him on the butt. The emperor orders the most elaborate dish possible. It hasn't been prepared in a hundred years, and it's an honor just to be part of the staff cooking it. It's a vile conglomeration of miscellaneous animal parts, mostly from venomous creatures. Picard has been eating stuff that makes fugu look palatable all night, and says that he can't eat it. Continuing to be dense, the emperor suspects that Picard may not want any because it was prepared wrong. He tosses a bit of it to a dog, who dies within seconds.
- The dog died because the dish was poisoned on purpose, not because it was improperly prepared. But that wasn't why Picard refused to eat it. It's just that after all the other vile pieces of 'gourmet cuisine' he had consumed over the course of that wedding feast, he just couldn't bring himself to swallow something that smelled like a Klingon locker room.
- In Star Trek Klingon food and drink are often like this. Example: Gagh is unprocessed serpent worms, usually eaten live. The taste is revolting and it is eaten solely for the unique sensation of the gagh spasming in one's mouth and stomach in their death throes.
- In Deep Space Nine, Ezri implies that you're supposed to eat it whole, and alive.
- In another Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, Riker becomes violently ill from having lunch with Worf and accidentally eating some Klingon foods that are indigestible to humans. His reaction after being treated? "Bring on the next course."
- Riker actually spent time with Klingons in the episode "A Matter of Honor", so he'd learned to stomach a number of Klingon foods and seemed to find it something worth experiencing.
- Klingon tea is deadly to humans and not particularly good for Klingons. It's consumed in a ceremony with two or more participants as a test of courage and to show that "Death is an experience best shared". Thankfully for Dr. Katherine Pulaski, she is aware both of the poisonous nature of the tea leaves and what to take beforehand as an antidote.
- An interesting twist occured in one episode, where Riker tries to make omelettes from alien eggs, only to end up with the food declared horrid and inedible by his crewmates...except for Worf, who thanks to his Bizarre Alien Biology is snarfing down his helping and enthusiastically asks for seconds.
- There's an episode of CSI: New York where the murder is tracked to a festival of bizarre foods such as deep-fired tarantula, with the murder weapon being a live squid. The squid was meant to be eaten alive after its tentacles were bound, but the killer deliberately left them loose so the victim would choke on it.
- In the very first episode of Lois and Clark, Superman had to deal with a ticking bomb, he couldn't disarm it or throw it away fast enough. So, he ate it and the ground shook from the explosion. Superman just burped.
- Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson's extremely manly V8 smoothie.
- It works as a drink up until Jeremy added the brick.
- In A Prairie Home Companion episode of The Lives of The Cowboys called The Second Lefty, the titular character engages in a high-stakes game of Scrabble with Dusty. During the match the Second Lefty orders a whiskey, and soon after we hear a crunching sound. Dusty asks him not to chew his ice cubes while pondering his next move. The Second Lefty replies it wasn't ice; he was chewing the neck of the bottle.
Second Lefty: I happen to like glass.
- Dragon: The Embers: Dragons can eat non-food-like "foods" such as gasoline and ammonium nitrate/fuel oil, though they suffer temporary minor penalties for doing so. But so long as it burns well, it recharges their Breath.
- "Yumyuck moss", in this Goblins comic.
Minmax: "You dwarves actually eat that crap?"
Forgath: "Yeah, but we're usually drunk."
- El Goonish Shive gives us the Pancake Mount Doom Meal - "A dozen flapjacks, a variety of fruit fillings, sides of bacon, sausage, hash browns, three kinds of syrup, and your choice of eggs" at the standard Greasy Spoon restaurant. Though the food itself is edible (and likely delicious), it's the quantity that pushes it into this territory. Naturally, only husky people have managed to finish it... and Grace.
- Delicious Fruit is what the people of I Wanna Be the Guy eat. You know, those enormously lethal, gravity-defying apple/cherry/things that kill you in one hit? (just like everything else) According to the creator of the game, people have to knock them off trees with sticks and then they boil them three times to eliminate all the poison. If you only boil a Delicious Fruit twice, it turns into a bouncing ripe red engine of death, as evidenced by the Breakout level. And people eat these things!
- But... they're Delicious...
- Kingdom of Loathing has all kinds of unpleasant foods, like brain-meltingly-hot chicken wings or centipede eggs, which inflict damage, substat-loss, or a negative status effect if you eat them. Dwarf bread is included as a shout-out to the Discworld example above, and although you have the option of eating it, you can also throw it at enemies to stun them. However, special mention goes to black pudding, which is described thusly: "This is either a sausage made of congealed animal blood, or an acidic underground-dwelling scavenging ooze. Either way, mmmm-yummy." Sure enough, if you try to eat it, it has a 35% chance of attacking you. There's actually a trophy you can earn for defeating 240 of them in combat... which takes about three straight months (real-world time) of stuffing your face with black pudding every day.
- There are several meals and drinks that can only be created when your bartender-innabox or chef-innabox explodes. They're universally horrible things, such as the "white chocolate and tomato pizza" and the "tomato daiquiri". Consuming enough of these two get you the Weeping Pizza and Disgusting Cocktail trophies, respectively.
- Another special mention must go to World's most unappetizing beverage, which is... you know.No really, what is it?
- The PVP revamp introduced "nailswurst", which is probably the closest thing on here to the page image, and "used beer". Yep. Neither of these gains you adventures, but they piss you off (giving you extra PVP fights.)
- In Jade Empire you can meet Chai Jin, an exotic chef. The dishes are revolting and downright damaging - depending on what you choose you'll hurt your body, mind or spirit - but if you sit through three courses of escalating grief to your system, you won't have to pay. You can then also try his newest meal, which is so horrid he won't even describe it, and which he hasn't even tried himself yet. If you survive the thoroughly harrowing cuisine, you can either warn him of its danger or tell him it's delicious. If you choose the latter, he will sample the food and drop dead.
- Lampshaded in The Lord of the Rings Online. In one dungeon infested with undead, you can find a piece of cheese. If one didn't think a piece of cheese found in thousand-years old ruins would be bad to eat, the description for the cheese even says "It's quite smelly and no doubt highly deadly. Only the unwise would eat it." Eating it results in a big Damage over Time-effect that lasts for 20 minutes, in addition to the character title "The Unwise".
- Cuisine in World of Warcraft is a bizarre and frightening thing. You can buy innocuous enough food from vendors, like grapes, bread, fruit juice, tea, or filtered water, but if you pick up the Cooking skill, bad things start to happen immediately. If you can kill it and it's not obviously sentient (with the exception of murlocs), somebody's figured out a way to make it into a stat-boosting food. You can learn to make bat wings, rat stew, spider cake, wolf steak, bear burgers, rhino stew, ravager sausages, chimera chops, and a brand of chili so hot that it causes you to randomly breathe flame, among many other options.
- Bear is the odd man out on this list, as it is in fact quite a tasty meal.
- Subverted by the "Sinner's Sandwich" in Deadly Premonition. Upon hearing its list of bizarre ingredients, York assumes it's this type of food, meant to be eaten as atonement for one's sins. Upon actually trying it, however, he announces that it is in fact delicious.
- To wit: Turkey, jam, and breakfast cereal on your bread of choice. There are more than a few posts on various websites and forums that attest the sandwich is in fact as delicious as York says it is, with the cereal and turkey creating a pleasant balance of crunchy and firm textures while the jam takes front and center on the flavor.
- In Persona 4, when individually lethal chefs Chie and Yukiko join forces, the result is a concoction that Yosuke aptly names "Mystery Food X". You can choose to eat it willingly (if your Courage stat is high enough) or be forced to eat it because there's no other way out, but either way, one bite makes the protagonist and Brosuke faint with a very loud crash as they hit the table.
- Persona 3 has the Wild Duck Burger, a burger with mysterious ingredients. Eating it will increase your Courage stat.
- In Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na: Moonlight Cradle, Trattoria Samon begins offering intensely spicy pasta dishes. One of the side stories involves Karen and Wreathlit trying to one-up each other: Karen succeeds in finishing the spiciest dish available, while Wreath gives up in the final round, leaving Karen to finish her plate.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, for one quest you have to imitate a world famous chef and make his signature dish (which you have to improvise for), the player has the option of adding some absolutely insane ingredients (Vampire dust? A septim? A giant's toe?!) Humorously enough, if you choose the most outrageous options the dish actually turns out fantasticly despite the dodgy items you put in there.
- Team Fortress 2 gives us the extremely rare Robo-Sandvich—it's made from bread-shaped chunks of sheet metal, screws, circuit boards, a blinking light, a switch, valve knobs, loose wires, and what look to be pieces of carpet. In spite of its sharp edges, unappetizing appearance, and more iron content than some of the game's maps, the Heavy can still eat it to heal his health completely.
- Then there's the Festive Sandvich, which doesn't seem like much except it's gift-wrapped, and the Heavy doesn't bother to unwrap it before chowing down.
- Though not implemented in the game as of yet, this mod turned community contribution has all the hallmarks of this trope. The only nod it has to actually being food is the presence of bread. The rest of it consists of Huntsman arrows, spy knives, minigun bullets, and a railroad spike. To top it all off, what was once a toothpick with an olive is now a needle from the syringe gun.
- In Monster Hunter Tri, one of the food items at the canteen you can eat for buffs is Thorny Meat, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. According to the chef, the prickliness has made it surprisingly popular.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney case 3-1 probably qualifies, as Phoenix willingly chows down a glass bottle with poison residue. And survives it just fine. If that doesn't taste as pain, I don't know what does! He didn't outlive the taste of betrayal within that bottle just as easily though.
- Toyed with in Spongebob Squarepants. When a guy is trying to get in the Salty Spitoon:
Reg: How tough are ya?Tough Guy: How tough am I? HOW TOUGH AM I?! I had a bowl of nails for breakfast this morning!Reg: Yeah, so?Tough Guy: Without any milk.Reg: (visibly intimidated) Uh, right this way, sorry to keep you waiting...
- The Fairly OddParents has an episode with this. The pain lovers pizza (land mines, barb wire, sand bags, bomb stuffed crust.) and the unlucky pizza (after eating he got an anvil on his head, a safe, a piano with a player(cupid))
- "The secret ingredient...is phone.
- Wildcat's 'Tiger Tonic' in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Not even Batman can stomach the stuff. Metamorpho, however, loves it...
"It's got fish and bananas!"
- The Simpsons: Homer has a brush with death when he eats a poorly prepared Fugu fish.