Don’t Be Too Late

A while back I read a book entitled “500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late” by Jane and Michael Stern.  In it the authors detail a lot of great foods that need to be eaten in a lifetime.  I must admit that when it comes to food I am usually pretty adventurous.  I have eaten things that I never dreamed I would eat.  On a recent trip to see my mom I forced encouraged her to watch a couple of episodes of Bizarre Food America on the Travel Channel starring Andrew Zimmern and to say it was eye opening for her would be to put it mildly.  Especially when he delved into a freshly delivered cow placenta.  Fortunately she had left the room for that portion but I do think she saw the blood drinking.   She may never be the same.

According to the book I read there are a lot of foods that just have to be eaten and although I have written about this book before it was years ago and I think we can revisit it.  All you foodies out there —weigh in on what you would add to this very short sample from their list in the book.

  1. Cheese Curds.  A favorite in Wisconsin and Michigan these little lovelies are enticing and tasty.  They are also addictive.  Just don’t let them get pushed in the back of your refrigerator or you will end up with a package that looks  a bit like this.cheese curds
  2. Fish Boil. Door County, Wisconsin. YES!  I have enjoyed being at a fish boil in Door County and it was every bit as wonderful as I was led to believe.
  3. Iowa Pork Chop.  Of course I have had this one—several times over.  Just this week we grilled up a lovely butterfly chop seasoned with Rustic Seasoning from Tastefully Simple.  Yum.dinner
  4. Loosemeats (Iowa) .  Actually my first experience with this sandwich was in Greenville, Ohio at the Maid Rite.  Their drive through still boasts a “gum wall” where folks stick their gum on the way to place their order.  Not very sanitary but a part of the charm, I guess.  Locally Chris and I visited Pro’s Sandwich Shop and you can read about that experience by clicking here.  My local blogger friend, Debbie, has a great recipe to make them at home in your crockpot.  Check out Debbie’s recipe at Debbie’s Midwestern Kitchen by clicking here.maidrites
  5. 5 Way Chili from Cincinnati, Ohio.  I have a fabulous recipe for Cincinnati Chili that I need to make soon and share on Slightly Savory Saturday!  It is a lovely concoction that always pleases.  Top the spaghetti with the chili, add oyster crackers, shredded cheese and  onions and I am happy.  I omit the beans but I guess to make it 5 way you need the beans.
  6. Fish Tacos –Southern California.   I think you can honestly get these about anywhere—i have gotten some really excellent ones in Austin, Texas as well as other places.  My brother, Mark, is the king of fish tacos.  He and his buddies have them every time they go on a fishing adventure and I bet his beat any restaurant by a mile.
  7. Lexington BBQ–North Carolina.  Yep.  Have had it and it is delightful.  I make my own BBQ and I recently posted a super easy recipe.  You can find it by clicking here.bbq
  8. Key Lime Pie –Florida.  While you can get key lime pie just about anywhere these days there is absolutely no substitute for a piece found and eaten in the Sunshine State.  No substitute.
  9. Fish Head Stew —Mt. Pleasant, NC.  I have been to Mt. Pleasant but never knew about this delicacy.  It sounds like it is a gumbo type dish with the meat picked from the heads of fresh grouper. Anyone had this???
  10. Creamy Grits–Charleston, South Carolina.  Nothing like grits cooked with milk and butter and often served with cheese and shrimp on top.  A hugely popular and wonderful dish.

If you had the chance to add to this short list handpicked from the book what would you add?  I would love to see what your must eat items would be.  Share in the comments so I can add them to my ever growing list of things to not miss the chance to eat.

If you want to hear me talk about this post and see what Cynthia Tompkins adds to the list make sure you turn into KCMR radio Tuesday morning around 8:30 am Central Time.   Just click here to go to the link where you can listen online!


  1. Well, these are certainly tame, compared to Andrew Zimmern. I actually love him! He is one brave soul. It is hard to believe he is from Minnesota! Have you eaten lutefisk? Not me!

    • Exactly! I love to see what he comes up with also. I have not had lutefisk either. I would be willing to try it but have never been in the right place at the right time. Chris has eaten way more interesting things than I have on all of his Asian trips.

  2. I am NOT adventurous at all when it comes to food. There are a few on your list that I would love to try though!

  3. Lisa Emerson says:

    I don’t eat very many sweets these days, but the one that would still tempt me is Cherry Lemon Sundrop Pound Cake!

  4. I look up to Andrew Zimmern. I remember my family making me turn the channel when he was in China eating at the restaurant specializing in male reproductive organs. He spoke at a food blogging event a couple years ago in MPLS and inspired me to really go after blogging. I’ve been to some of these places but didn’t get to try the foods. More to add to my list if I ever see them!

    • i agree—he is an amazing guy and although I can not bring myself to eat some of the stuff he eats I still am amazed at how he can find those out of the way places and foods that others would just pass by. Reproductive organs might be one of those things that I could not quite stomach but good on him for giving them a go. 🙂

  5. Green fried tomatoes! I grew up on them and love them. Slice, coat with flour, salt and pepper and fry in butter until crispy golden brown.

    Don’t ever make me watch Bizarre Food America. I would leave the room.

    We love Iowa chops. Randy grills them often.

    • Great addition!!! It might have been on the list in the book but I can’t remember for sure. I would never force you to watch that show, Audrey. My mom was a good sport about it. 🙂

  6. Fried cornmeal Mush! Not an adventurous kind of food but a must eat!… with buttah!

  7. Interesting. With that introduction I expected the worst. I’ve had fish tacos in Hawaii. I wonder if that counts. I’ve also had Key Lime Pie in Key West, grits in Charleston (which were absolutely awesome) and of course, Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. I’m not sure if homemade will do it justice. I’ll have to try your recipe to see.

  8. While I love The Food Channel and learning about different (read: “exotic”) foods, I’m not terribly brave when it comes to trying them! Still, you’ve got to try beignets made fresh in New Orleans, farm-raised fried catfish from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and BBQ’d BEEF from just about anywhere in Texas!!

  9. I’m always interested in chili recipes, so I’ll be looking forward to that Savory Saturday Soon..

  10. I love cheese curds!! We have a local diary nearby and I always pick up some of their fresh curds. Not sure how different a fishy fry would be from a fish boil: but I definitely concur about fresh fish too. Oh my gosh, key lime pie — soooo good. I love tart things.
    I would add a beaver tail (relax; it’s a pastry made only here in Ottawa, Canada) and poutine (fries with gravy and melted cheese curds). Very Canadian.

  11. I think the weirdest food I ever ate was alligator. That was in Trinidad back before I was 20. It tasted like KFC…lol

  12. I’ve watched Andrew Zimmerman a few times; he’s got to have a cast iron stomach to have eaten some of the “items” he has! You definitely want to add “Jalapeno” Jelly for sure; you get that sweet taste followed by a bit of heat! Good eating!

  13. pattisj says:

    So those are cheese curds. My massage therapist told me about them some time ago.

    • These are a sad example of them—-they obviously were moldy. But they are wonderful. ONe of the ways they are served quite often is to fry them…..decadent but lovely.

  14. Helen Brown says:

    I do not know what some of these foods mentioned are like but I do know I will not try any kind of bug for my meal. I do like mediterranean food.

  15. I love almost all the things you listed! Fish head stew – haven’t tried that one, though! I agree about the fried green tomatoes – in fact, I think I’ll do some today – have some green tomatoes on the kitchen shelf just waiting for me!

  16. In Canada, we use cheese curds to make poutine – hot french fries sprinkled with cheese curds & then slathered in gravy. Not my favorite but Kelvin loves it!

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