Food is one aspect of our culture that is always fascinating. There are some dishes that are so simple a 5-year-old can probably cook it by himself – like ramen, egg, and bread. On the other hand, there are dishes that are so elaborate you probably can’t find them anywhere outside of fancy restaurants downtown.
And then there is food so obscure you have to wonder “How did they even think of that?”
Today on Topthingy, we will introduce you to the 5 foods that raise more questions than they answer.
Kiviak is a traditional Inuit food from Greenland. To cook it, you need to stuff up to 500 little birds called auks into a seal skin. The bird is whole, that means it includes feathers, beaks and all that. Remove as much air as possible from the seal skin and sew it up and seal it with some seal fat.
The finished skin bag is then placed under a pile of rocks to keep the air out. After a couple of months, the birds will ferment and ready to be served. They are usually during the winter.
That’s one strange food now, isn’t it?
2. The Buah Keluak
The Keluak tree is a native flora found in mangrove swamps in South East Asia, especially Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The Keluak produces fruits that contain hydrogen cyanide – a deadly poison.
To make it edible, you have to first boil the seeds then bury them in ash for up to 40 days. Once they have turned brown and grey, they are edible.
One has to wonder how the native Indonesians found out about this cooking method.
3. Sea Urchin
To the unknowing, a sea urchin doesn’t look like anything remotely edible. They are dark brown or black, have a tough shell and are very spiky. Everything about the sea urchin screams “Don’t touch me or you’ll get hurt.”
Despite their intimidating look, sea urchin is a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world. Once you crack their shell, you can often eat the urchin raw with lemon, or combine with other food to make tasty dishes.
4. Cashew Nuts
Not many people know this, but unprocessed cashew nuts are quite deadly. The shell of the nut is poisonous, as is the oil from the shell. You can get contaminated if you touch the shell.
To make it edible you have to roast the cashew nuts and carefully remove the shell first before eating.
It makes us wonder why the people who first discovered these nuts didn’t back down after getting into contact with the poisonous shell.
Potato is probably one of the most popular food around the world. It is used in many traditional American dishes and is an important part of our culinary.
And yet it’s poisonous. You can find solanine in the green parts of the potato plant – including its sprout, the stem, the leaves and the even the tuber if they are exposed to sunlight for long enough.
How did our ancestors figure it out that the underneath all that poison is an edible (and delicious) food? We don’t know, but we really appreciate that they did!