Published July 11, 2012
From deep-fried bull's testicles to marshmallow salad, some of the word's wackiest grub can be found right here in the United States. Here we take a culinary tour of the nation to locate the weirdest regional foods:
The Pennsylvania Dutch don't like to pass on any part of the pig and so they came up with scrapple. This meaty mush consists of cornmeal, buckwheat, and the waste scraps left over from butchering. Feasting on snouts, tails and hooves may sound a little unappetizing, but when sliced and fried until golden brown it is supposed to taste similar to a regular pork sausage.
The Frito pie may not be the weirdest fare on our list, but it's probably among the most singular. It's made by pouring chili, beans and cheese over Fritos or other corn chips. Sounds almost reasonable until you consider it's typically served straight out of a Fritos bag for added wackiness. Popular in the southern states, expect to grab one from a street vendor or at a ball game.
The origins of this gloopy, unctuous desert are as murky as the presidential scandal with which it shares its name. A heady mix of canned pineapple, pistachio instant pudding, cool whip and marshmallows, it seems to have begun life as Kraft's Pistachio Pineapple Delight in 1975 but at some stage was renamed. The political opportunist was a Chicago food writer who wanted publicity for the recipe, if you believe many of the accounts.
Akutaq, (Eskimo Ice Cream)
How does rendered polar bear fat, fish, berries and snow grab you? These days the fat has been replaced by shortening, but how western Alaskan disciples manage to produce something edible from mixing fruit with seal oil and ground fish is anybody's guess. But don't scoff -- eaten as a snack, a spread or a desert, Alaskan Inuits have chowed down on this arctic super food for thousands of years.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
No list of freaky foods is complete without a side of fried animal genitalia. So take a handful of severed bulls' testicles, peel them, roll them in flour and seasoning before deep frying. Finish with a dipping sauce and you have an appetizer to make a grown man wince. The folks who inhabit the Rocky Mountains are not so squeamish, however, as this innocuously-named delicacy demonstrates.
Rhode Island Coffee Milk
This Providence pick-me-up is a mix of ultra-sweet coffee syrup and milk. It's so popular it's the state drink. And what could go better with coffee than a hot dog, or wieners as they are religiously called here? Well just about anything you would think, and yet this idiosyncratic combo remains a favorite for many Rhode Islanders.
Shrimp and Alligator Cheesecake
Yes, that's right, a cheesecake made from alligator and shrimp. Cajun food lovers have snapped up this desert since it appeared on the menu at New Orleans eatery Jacques-Imo's.