Hungry People Share The Worst Thing They Had To Eat To Be Polite

Hungry People Share The Worst Thing They Had To Eat To Be Polite

Sharing food is about more than just offering up a much-needed calorie or two. It can be an exchange of culture, of personal tastes, of love. Eating together is an intimate act that brings people together and reminds us of our common humanity. It's the surest way to achieve mutual enjoyment that doesn't involve removing one's clothes.

With all that said, it can be incredibly difficult to tell a friend or loved one that you can't stand their cooking or don't want to try a dish of which they are so proud. Sometimes it's easier to just say yes and swallow your pride -- plus whatever else they're serving up to you! And that can mean eating something you would much rather toss in the garbage.

These folks recently went online to share such stories. These are the worst things people have had to eat just to be polite. Dinner is served!

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65. To eat or not to eat

The plate.

I was in India and was presented with this incredible pile of food on a palm leaf. There were no knives or forks. And someone told me to 'Just use your fingers, like it's a tortilla'.

So I assumed you wrapped up the food like a tortilla and ate the whole thing.

You don't. He meant just eat with your fingers. Not like a tortilla.

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64. Sweeter than the soup she makes

I have a very sweet neighbor, she's an elderly Armenian lady who lives with her son. Sometimes when he is out of town she asks me to help with little things. One day I went over to set up her Wi-Fi. She gave me an Armenian soft drink that was tarragon flavored. Ummm, wasn't expecting that. I was very polite and said "mmm!" Encouraged by this, she then gave me some soup. I don't know what it was called but it was hella sweet, kind of like a fruit roll up.

I finished all of it because she's such a sweet woman, but, oh boy.

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63. Ashed potatoes

I was visiting my boyfriend's family for the first time, a Thanksgiving holiday from my freshman year of college.

His aunts were cooking the meal all day, smoking all the way through.

I took a bite of mashed potatoes that had ash in it and almost vomited in my mouth, but couldn't figure out how to politely get it out of my mouth without pointing out what had happened and embarrassing her, so I just swallowed.

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62. Bakin' bacon

Pretty near raw bacon. One of my college roommates was just figuring out how to cook. He made an elaborate breakfast of eggs, toast, and bacon - the bacon being prepared by waving it at the stovetop from a safe distance. He insisted it was perfectly cooked and, not wanting to be rude, I ate it all. It didn't taste all that bad, but it had the mouthfeel of warmed over rubber bands dipped in peanut oil.

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61. By definition not a surprise

My aunt's dish that she brings to every family get-together:

"Lime jello, marshmallow, cottage cheese surprise."

Everyone hates the dish but loves her - so, I eat some so as not to hurt her feelings.

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60. Holy cow

Grass that is turning into poop.

No seriously, it is called "niu bie"(牛瘪) and you gotta feed the cow with grass, then butcher it and get the grass in its stomach and intestine out, squeeze the juice out of it, and boil it with beef and vegetables. Would never try this again.

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59. If it's still moving, it's not food

Still-moving raw octopus tentacles.

When someone looks you in the eye and says, "You must chew many times or you die," then you 'might' not be eating the best dish in the world.

This was in Korea - during my first tour here. I was with a bunch of other people having a get-together with some locals and we all got SUPER hammered on soju at this giant "BBQ." Anyway, once everyone was good and sloshed, they brought out this plate of something out of my nightmares. These things were still wiggling around and because of the specific purpose of this get-together, I had to indulge our hosts... Anyway, I don't really remember fine details, just that I chewed for probably two minutes straight out of sheer terror, then swallowed. I don't really remember a specific taste. After that, we were hanging out of the windows of our car on the way home vomiting on the highway.

No more tentacles for this guy.

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58. Ogres also have layers

The top 3 layers of it weren't that bad: toasted slivered almonds, cream cheese, candied cherries. The bottom layer? Steamed fish.

To this day I still have no idea what that was supposed to be.

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57. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts

Ate with a very poor Iban family in East Malaysia. They served curry chicken (which was awesome), boiled grass, and gutter fish. I watched them walk outside and pick handfuls of grass from the side of the road and toss it in boiling water; tasted like boiled grass, surprise surprise.

The fish was caught from the gutters, also outside the house. It was a trash fish that eats sewage and trash that runs into the gutters and tasted like a port-o-potty smells. I ate the whole thing. It was all they had and I was amazed that they were willing to share.


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56. We're all crying, but for different reasons

My grandfather's cousin was dating a man who died quite suddenly and left her heartbroken.

Grandfather goes to her house to support her. I go to support my Grandfather. She's a mess, but brings us two glasses of what looks like water.

It's not. It's cactus juice.

I'm not sure WHAT cactus juice is supposed to taste like, but this tastes like a handful of salt left out in the desert for a month and then strained through a sandal. The two of us sip at this horrific drink, nodding politely and trying to hide the fact that we're gagging. We finish the drinks quickly and put them down. She fills them again before asking, and here we go again!

Many tears flowed that evening.

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55. Saving face

Pig's face for Christmas. Lived in a former Soviet country for awhile it's considered traditional. Just a boiled pig's head, no seasoning, mostly fat and cartilage. But once you drink enough, you'll eat the face.

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54. At least she knew it was bad

My mother-in-law on one of our first meetings made a terrible meal for my wife and I to welcome me into the family. Now this woman hated cooking and took that out on the food. She was an Irish home cook who would put the vegetables in about 6 hours before the meal if left to her own devices so they'd taste of nothing come the meal. She'd then drink the water they were boiled in which, disguising as it sounds, was probably really tasty and full of nutrients and flavour that had boiled out of the veg.

Anyway this one meal was a stir fry. She didn't have a recipe for stir fry but how hard could it be? Method's in the name. So she put a bunch of veg in a frying pan. Didn't have any oriental spices but she had ginger. And then for the noodles she had some dried super noodles (if you're not in the UK think the least authentic, most anglicized version of ramen). After a while this all wasn't coming together how she wanted so she put it all in the oven and baked it. Baked stir fry.

And yeah it was foul. Crisped up instant noodles, flavourless veg and the gloopy remains of the concentrated down ginger. But I wanted to appear respectful so I tucked in to about half of it before I noticed my wife and her mum had both taken one bite and then just stopped eating. We sent out for a Chinese instead.

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53. Mangoes wrong

One of my friends and her mother once made a cake from scratch for another friend's birthday. It looked awesome and sooo delicious! It had a lot of cream on top and mangos inside... Only the mangos certainly weren't edible anymore...

I took one bite and almost gagged. She and her mother ate it without problems, I have no idea how they didn't notice, and then she immediately asked us how we like it.. She looked us directly into the eyes and she seemed so excited and happy... I looked over to my friend (the one who celebrated her birthday) and could tell immediately that she fought with it too but kept her cool much better than I and we both exclaimed how delicious and great it tasted.

I then went on to store the cake in my mouth like a rodent and then excused myself to the bathroom and spit it into the toilet.

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52. Old spice

My ex made some pasta with a homemade sauce. Well, it looked good, but the moment I brought it to my mouth I could sense there was something wrong. It was the strangest combination of flavors I've ever experienced. She put Chinese five spice, cinnamon, chives, cloves, garlic powder, onion power, nutmeg, basically every spice she owned, also a metric ton of salt and a bunch of hot peppers and fruits and vegetables she had lying around.

I ate as much as I could, then grabbed a drink and suggested we watch a movie to get out of finishing. I lasted thirty minutes after "dinner" before my body rejected the "food" I'd just eaten. It was torture going in and coming out. I did the dishes after I emptied my body and threw out all the left overs (she made enough to feed a small village). I told her I spilled it while I was cleaning up.

Anyway, that sauce still haunts me, the pasta was cooked nicely though, I guess she had that going for her...

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51. She invented turkey cake

The day after Thanksgiving, my wife and my father and I went out for the day. It started getting around dinner time and we're about to head back and we pass a bbq truck. Ribs seem like a great idea. My dad calls my mom to see what she wants, but she says no, don't get ribs, she's been working in the kitchen all day on an amazing feast. So much for ribs.

We get home and find that the amazing all day meal is turkey cheesecake. Stuffing for crust. Gravy and turkey and cream cheese blended together into a slurry and baked into the stuffing crust. Let me repeat that. Baked turkey slurry. We could have had ribs.

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50. I call it 'one of everything'

A person I know made, what she called "gumbo". It was every leftover in the fridge from the month dumped into a pot and cooked, them served over noodles.

When she served it, the taste was awful. She had Italian meals, Mexican meals, soups, steaks, chicken, every veggie imaginable, fruit, bread stuff, etc.

The first time I forced it down. The second time I just couldn't because I saw inside her fridge before she cooked the monstrosity. Her fridge looked like a science experiment gone wrong.

Meat (or maybe cake?), cucumber bits floating in liquid, yellowed potato and macaroni salad, something that had purple fur growing on it... I have no idea what some of the stuff was. It was so gross!

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49. A taste of home?

My host mother while I was abroad thought it was really neat that I am half Chinese. One night she tried to make an Asian dish. Really sweet of her, but it was just spaghetti with soy sauce on it (extra great since it was cold soy sauce).


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48. At least the pot was clean

Sweet peas my wife cooked.

She used a pot that apparently still had dishwashing soap residue on it from a new brand of soap she was trying. Apparently that particular brand has a thicker soap than others and didn't rinse off completely. Her father was over and she made his favorite meal as a surprise. Ranch spiced pork chops, buttered croissant rolls, sweet peas and garlic mashed potatoes. He and I sat down and starting eating and both noticed that the peas tasted...uh...soapy. We looked at each other as if in recognition (of the taste) and agreement (to not say a word). These peas tasted awful, but my wife can be very emotional and we weren't going to say a thing.

My wife finished making our daughter's plate, then her own and finally sat down to eat. She got probably 2 bites into the peas, said they tasted like dish soap and then asked us what we thought. We agreed with her, eyes down like scolded school children and she proceeded to ask why we were still eating them if they tasted like that. Then we felt scolded even more, on top of our blatant ignorance in her eyes. Even our daughter started to eat them, not wanting to mention the taste because mommy had been working so hard on that meal for all of us.

The peas went in the trash, and we finished the meal. Her father burst out laughing at her reaction. Still to this day, when my wife tells our daughter that we are having sweet peas, she asks if they are the soapy kind or regular.

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47. Sometimes people just like to see if you'll actually eat it

There's a variation of a "delicacy" popular in my father's hometown in northwestern Greece that my mother warned me I absolutely should not touch. It's closer to haggis than anything I've otherwise eaten, though without such care taken to save you from the idea that you're eating trash organ meat wrapped in intestines.

Evidently my extended family felt it their duty to reintroduce me to my heritage, and slaughtered a suckling lamb for my homecoming. I was ultimately forced to yam a plate of oily viscera down my gob while a gaggle of unibrowed uncles chortled at my struggles. The aftertaste followed me all the way back to civilization.

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46. "People inhale them"

Stayed at a friend’s place when I was in middle school. All she did was rave about how awesome her mom's banana pancakes were, and how nobody could resist them. Morning comes, and I'm served with a pancake burned to a crisp on the outside (nearly black). I took one bite into it, and come to discover not only is the mix on the inside raw and uncooked, but the mushy, pulverized banana was not ripe... at all.

I had to swallow huge bites without chewing (almost vomiting the entire time) to get through my one pancake. Later I remembered that when she told me about the pancakes she mentioned how people "inhaled them". I can only assume this is because they didn't want to be impolite and had to get it down before it could come back up.

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45. Bean there, done that

While I was waiting for my apartment to open up I stayed at an onsen a few days in Japan. The owner was a really cool dude and during dinner he'd often come chat with me and find out what foods I liked. One morning he came to my table and said, "I want to watch you eat natto." He slapped the white styrofoam cup next to my food.

Natto is basically fermented beans. It's commonly eaten for breakfast, has a strong smell and a slimy texture, and it's infamous as an "acquired taste." I knew I'd hate it, I knew what it was, but because we were buds at this point I'd figure I'd just go for it. Maybe I'd like it?


Stirred it, added in all the sauces, then took a bite. It was immediately struggling to both swallow it as well as get all the natto snot off my chin. The owner almost cried from laughing so hard. He gave me a free drink later, so it was all worth it.

My girlfriend still tries to push it on me during breakfast. No thank you.

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44. 'Tis the season


A long time ago we adopted a family in a really bad part of town for Christmas which basically meant we bought them presents and ate dinner with them and whatnot. I enjoyed it.

Anywho. We get to this place and the smell of these tamales is permeating through the house. The only problem is they're really really bad tamales. Like bad husks with bad meat and a bad cream sauce on top.

So we sit down for dinner, have our 45 minute prayer and start eating. The lady who made them looks so proud of them, I couldn't help but pretend that they were the best thing I had ever eaten in my entire life.

The only thing they had to drink was Sunny Delight, I wondered if the lady saw me cram a giant fork-full in my mouth and then take a huge gulp of Sunny-D to keep the gagging at a minimum.

When we got up to leave, I told her I MUST have one for the road. We drove about 5 minutes out of the bad part of town, I pulled over and yacked up a tamale and Sunny Delight slushy. I have yet to drink Sunny-D or eat another tamale since.

Somewhere I have a photo that they took of all of us sitting for dinner, a fake smile plastered on my face with the eyes of someone who is being forced to eat their loved ones bodies.

Good memories.

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43. At least they weren't offended

I don't remember the name of it but they were these white bean looking things about the size of my thumb in a soup; had the texture of chewing carpet. Actual carpet, mind you, that's not a euphemism. Anyway, it took me about an hour to finish three quarters of the bowl, I ended up giving up because I couldn't stop gagging. I felt bad because my friend's grandma made it and I was at their place for dinner, but luckily for me they were appreciative of the fact that I actually tried to finish it rather than be offended that I didn't like it. I made a point to not be around during dinner hours anymore, though.

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42. There's no such thing as a free lunch

On a meditation retreat at a Buddhist monastery, I had some food I could barely handle. First, there are monastic rules that forbid eating after noon, so on a retreat people will eat as the monks do. This means breakfast, lunch, then fasting until breakfast the next day.

Naturally, most of us would load up our plates for lunch well aware this was going to be what held us over for the rest of the day. The food was generally good -- some Asian cuisine, some American. One particular day, a southeast asian family brought food for the entire 30(?) person retreat as well as the monks as part of a celebration and donation, quite a generous gift.

I had no idea what anything was, but I loaded my plate up as usual and sat down to eat. It was a bit spicy. I was sweating. Some bites actually tasted more like chemicals and fire than food. It might even have been 'good' if that's your thing, but I'm a guy that struggles with jalapeno poppers sometimes. But everything the monastery was providing was for free, and everything the monastery received was through donations. It would be quite rude to not finish my plate. Even more so since this family had just provided an entire buffet for 40 people.

I managed to get it all down with about 2 gallons of water. And I was sincerely thankful to the family for their generosity.... but god that was difficult to eat. It wasn't a matter of anything being "gross" rather that it was painful. Surprisingly didn't have any stomach issues later in the day, though.

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41. Even for a Marine, that must have been traumatic

Not me but my father. My dad is a former Marine who isn't picky. He'll devour just about anything. But for some reason he HATES meatloaf. Absolutely despises it.

My parents went to visit my mother's aunt and uncle. They are from her biological family that she tracked down after 40 years. So my aunt to welcome them makes this... fermented style of meat loaf that is basically a steaming pile of everything my father refuses to eat. But it's the first time my mother has met anyone from her biological family. He didn't want to offend them, So he stomached a piece by eating it as fast as he could.

Cue my mother. "Look aunt Carol, he loves your meatloaf. I can never get him to eat mine..." aunt Carol cuts off another big slab and puts it on his plate. He grins, and eats the second helping.

My mother... is a piece of work.

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40. The things we do for love

My husband's mom made a lemon pie, but it was a “special recipe” she learned from her friend where there was no sugar and the crust was made of saltine crackers. I don’t even have words for how sour and salty it was. But you best believe I ate it all with a smile on my face because it was “delicious”.

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39. It's the thought that counts, right?

My beloved but very elderly gram-in-law made chocolate chip cookies in which she messed up the sugar and salt AND mistook the dried black beans in her cupboard for chocolate chips. Ohhhhh dear.

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38. Currying favor

A girl I dated was trying to impress me, so she tried to make green curry. She added too much curry paste and we both sat there sweating and crying.

I eat spicy food, but curry paste is extremely concentrated. This dish was comically spicy. Like, inedible levels. We should have stopped but neither one of us wanted to wimp out.

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37. Blueberry blew

I came home from school one day and was hungry. I told my mother and she said there were blueberry muffins. So I took one and when I took a bite it was the driest, most flavorless thing I've ever eaten. So as to not upset my mother I ate it and when I came back my mom was laughing. I asked what was funny and she told me they were a friend of her's muffins and my brother had spit them out when he tried them. So basically I got pranked by my mom.

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36. A WWII vet makes sushi

My grandpa made sushi. With tuna, rhubarb, yellow mustard, seaweed, and undercooked rice. Watched me eat it make sure I got a taste of each ingredient. The entire time I ate it, I thought, "This tough S.O.B. made it through the beaches of Normandy, eat the sushi and smile."

Knowing how old he was, I was just lucky he only used rhubarb stalks and not the leaves (which are poison).

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35. What's your poison?

When my sister was 5, she had my mom, friend and I sit for her tea party. She made us drinks. After taking a sip, I asked her what she had given us and she said it was water and sparkle perfume.

Thanks for the poison, sis.

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34. Now that is how you parent

I am actually the one who made the horrible meal. When I was around 8, I decided I wanted my Mom to relax while I cooked her dinner and did the dishes. I made way over-cooked spaghetti with a plain can of diced tomatoes that I added water to because I thought that is how sauce worked. Finished it off with every seasoning herb we owned plus some ketchup because the sauce looked a little too much like water and oh, heck some mustard, mayo and any sauce I saw in the fridge because she liked all those things!

My Mom took her first bite, smiled through it, told me how much she enjoyed not having to cook then ate every freaking bite on her plate. She told me much later on that she ate the dinner I made her because she didn't want to discourage me from taking initiative and trying new things. She also later told me it was the most god awful thing she had ever eaten in her life.

Apparently I wrote a recipe to go with this fabulous dinner that I called "Good Spaghetti." Pretty hilarious. Also, after this episode my Mom made a point to actually teach me how to cook. I think she taught me pretty well...or maybe she is still lying to me to make me feel better...

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33. I hear 'worms,' I pass

Was working in China. They had a big celebratory banquet for us. They served a local delicacy - “sea worms.” It was a white tube that when immersed in near freezing water essentially dissolved into a gelatinous lump. Think fish-flavored jello, with just a hint of residual gristle. Ugh. Had to eat several servings while downing shots of maotai.

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32. Egg on your face

My girlfriend and I were in Bhutan. The hotel owner's family very kindly invited us to have some egg cooked in home made rice booze (ara). The egg was supposed to add a kick to the drink. Instead it was a brackish-looking viscous liquid with an eggy smell. I hated it when I looked at it and then again when I sipped it.

To make matters worse, my girlfriend decided she could not have more than a spoonful. So I had to finish two large bowls of the terrible stuff all by itself (some chips on the side would have helped) to make sure we didn't look impolite and rude. Now, I love Emma Datshi and Keva Datshi and other Bhutanese food. But not that stuff.

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31. My intestines don't want your intestines

Chitlins (chitterlings) is the worst thing I've ever tried. If you don't know, they're made from the intestines of pigs or other animals. My husband begged me to try it. It’s his favorite dish. I tried a small bite. It tasted like straight crap. Straight fermented crap.

I told my friend about my experience and she insisted it just wasn’t prepared right and I needed to try hers. I went to her house and saw that she prepares hers with green peppers and onions. I was reluctant but hopeful. I took a bite. It tasted like straight fermented crap with a side of green peppers and onions. I was nice and I took TWO bites but I couldn’t stomach any more.

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30. The only blameless person cleans up the mess

My ex-sister in law's spinach casserole. My daughter puked it up into their heat vent and I had to clean it out. The vent was also full of dog hair. So… hooray!

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29. Miso sorry

My husband's grandma made us a "miso soup" that was almost black from teriyaki and soy sauce in the broth. All of the vegetables in it were slimy and overcooked. It so barely resembled miso that the next day I made some regular miso for myself and she was offended that I didn't eat the "perfectly good" leftovers. I was all confused until my husband whispered to me that she thought the abomination she served us was miso soup.

I just couldn't eat it again. I had a migraine later that night from the excessive salt! She also used Chinese soy sauce instead of kikkoman so it was extra awful.

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28. Read your recipes carefully, folks!

Girlfriend in college wanted to be nice to my roommate and me because she often ate over at our apartment, so she was to cook dinner one night. Teriyaki steak. Delicious. What could go wrong?

Somewhere along the line, she got tbsp and cup mixed up, and added 3/4 cup of salt. Pretty sure we were nearing the LD50 of salt for a human, but I ate as much as I could, and drank as much water as I could for the next few days...

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27. It's all Greek to me

It was a meal comprised of undercooked potato, garlic, feta, and chopped meat -- all packaged in aluminium foil and not baked fro nearly long enough. It was supposed to be a Greek dish, we were told. We all got violently sick.

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26. Drown your sorrows (and your cake)

This one's actually kinda funny.

My grandma died right before Christmas. We all got together for the holiday and my aunt was understandably still taking it really hard. She'd made something she called "vanilla angel food pudding cake."

It was in a shallow casserole dish. Top layer was whipped cream and cookie crumble. Middle layer was vanilla pudding. Bottom layer was crumbled angel food cake... soaked to the top in a massive pool of bourbon. The cake was floating in the stuff. We'd later found out she'd mixed even more into the pudding layer.

She didn't tell anyone it was in there, so we all got scoops assuming it was a syrup or something. My cousin was the first to bite into it and had to run to the trash can to vomit as soon as it got in her mouth. Another person got a forkful near their nose and freaked out and yelled in shock.

Cue my aunt beginning to completely melt down about how she's trying so hard and she got the recipe from a friend and it's not THAT bad and grandma was such a good cook she would've helped her -- like full-blown about to lose it. The cousin that vomited tried to claim it was something else while the yeller tried to play off that they saw a bug across the room.

Everyone else was sufficiently guilted into eating at least some of what they'd scooped onto their plates. That stuff was physically painful to eat. Everything burned. Looking around the table you would've thought we were all downing spoonfuls of wasabi. I was 19 but I guess my parents were more worried about my aunt than me getting underaged sloshed on pudding.

But about halfway through my portion, they found a discreet way to dump my plate. The whole place reeked a couple minutes after we dug into the "pudding" too, so it was this awful inescapable sensory overload.

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25. The final boss of bad meals

I know this is a horrible thing to say but because I was physically forced into eating my food as a child, I can eat pretty much anything no matter how much I don't like it. But my in-laws' god awful Thanksgiving dinners tried me to the limit. I quit going to their Thanksgivings because of how nasty it was. And for me to say that, it means the food was NASTY.

Not a one of them knows how to cook and I think they subsist entirely on cheap microwave dinners. Grandma can "cook" supposedly. They got a pre-cooked turkey and dried it out further in the oven. That wasn't too bad. Super generic box mac and cheese made the night before, stuck in the microwave and heated to lukewarmness. I could live with that. Super generic instant mashed potatoes that had the consistency of grit. Okay I'll choke it down.

Then we have the cornbread dressing. Which was like they just took cornmeal and made it into a paste with water and heated it up. I positively loathe cornmeal dressing yet I managed a bite or two.

But the crowning glory of nastiness was granny's famous trademark casserole that everyone revered like it was the casserole of the gods. Some concoction of asparagus, boiled eggs, crushed cornflakes and god knows what all. It was vile. I choked down a serving of it. God knows how. It looked like green vomit covered with boiled egg slices and it stank.

To make all this stuff ten times worse, the pervasive stench of raw sewage permeates the house from their unpumped septic tank that leaks into the yard. (Still smelled better than the boiled egg and asparagus horror.)

I can't do it anymore. These people burned out my ability to eat nasty food with a smile.

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24. Passing the ball

I went to Kenya on a college trip. For the first week we were there we built a kitchen into a school. Every day my buddy and I would joke about this goat at the school and his big its nuts were.

Well fast forward and the last day we were there the school put on a feast, eating corn, beans and kale (grown at the school) with goat meat.

The local elders came by at the end to show their appreciation. My teacher (who was from Kenya) got up and said “the elders have prepared a delicacy, it is somewhat of an insult to not eat what they present you.”

Bam here came the karma bus. Now I enjoy fried Rocky Mountain oysters, however what they served was a barely boiled goat ball. I tore off a sizeable chunk like a champ. I will NEVER forget the rubbery texture, or the ultra gamy taste, but I ate it like I was honored for even being offered.

The cheapest way to experience culture is through your mouth. I have no regrets.

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23. Pun for the whole family

Sea snails with my Vietnamese friend. I paid for it when I tried to pull it out with my teeth instead of using the little toothpick. Since it is in a spiral inside the shell, it snapped out of the shell and sprung forth, bouncing off my face and onto the table, leaving my face covered in fishy smelling, briny sea water. I would have run straight to the bathroom, but I was temporarily brineded.

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22. No good deed goes unpunished

I was helping this old lady with some problem she had with one of her roof tiles - it took a while and it was a hot day so she invited me for something to drink.

She brought some cinnamon buns and some juice - everything was looking really nice.

I took a bun, which was nice but the thing was probably a week old because it was so stale I nearly broke a tooth on it. Then this sweet old lady poured me a rather big glass with some strawberry juice. Delicious and refreshing, right?

Well. She probably had never washed that glass ever since you could see fat flakes floating around inside the glass, some as big as my thumbnail. As I was drinking it I could feel the gritty liquid pouring down my throat and I had never been so close of throwing up, but I managed to keep myself from it.

That was probably one of my most pleasantly-unpleasant experiences I've ever had with juice, unclean dishes, and old people.

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21. Mr. Bean

Back in the late 1970s, I was sent from California to a rural Maryland town for a 6 month job assignment. I was used to the wide variety of very fresh vegetables grown within a couple of hours of my city. In that rural Maryland town, I rarely saw what I would consider good fresh vegetables, except for a very short season when farmers markets had local produce. I really missed my good veggies.

I rented part of a house that had been converted to apartments. The nice elderly couple next door had a huge vegetable garden, consisting primarily of green beans. I used to lust after those beans.

One day, Mrs. Neighbor saw me outside and invited me to join them later in the day for a barbecue. "We are going to have the first of our own green beans." I could hardly wait. I was so-o-o looking forward to those beans.

Mr. Neighbor barbecued and Mrs. Neighbor plated the food in the kitchen. With great pride, she handed me a plate containing an incinerated steak and a bunch of gray tubes. "We like our green beans best after they've been canned."

Yep. She had home-canned the green beans, then cooked them, Southern style, for a hour or so with a chunk of ham. I looked at my plate. I looked over at all those crisp, vibrant beans still on the plants. I looked back at my plate.

I never knew I possessed such good acting ability.

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20. This is true love

My sister was trying to be nice after I had taken care of her for 3 years while she dealt with her mental health.

She tried to make me a pizza. It came out more like charcoal. Like fully all black.

She tried so hard to make me happy for once that I had to at least get some of it down; “It’s not as burnt as it looks! Really yummy." She was really happy with herself after that.

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19. Climb every mountain

Lutefisk, a fish dish. Holy Toledo.

A Norwegian friend was really excited for me to try it, and I hadn't the heart to just spit it straight back out because holy crap, it's freaking disgusting.

I’ll eat anything once, and lutefisk is one of about five things that I’ve tried and will not have a second time. Room temperature runny fish Jello. Mmmmm.

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18. An unexpected party

One time I volunteered to deliver a prescription after work to this old man because he lived in the building beside mine.

He answers the door with "oh good, you're here" and ushers me to a table where another reluctant diner appeared to be held hostage as well.

He forces us to ingest all of the cold, sweet yellow rice and vile tasting yoghurt he could slop on our plates and would not leave us alone until our plates were clean. I tried to use every excuse in the book, but he kept saying in his culture it's rude not to completely finish your meal, etc.

He kept saying it was such a delicacy and blah blah and I appreciate that in his culture it might be, but I kinda felt violated to be forced to eat something, let alone seeing the giant Tupperware it was scooped out of, not knowing when the heck it was made and by whom.

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17. Tofankyou

My wife and I spent a couple of thanksgivings in a row with her parents when we were still dating. Her family is all vegetarian, so her mom cooks "tofurkey" which isn't the worst by itself (imagine a really dry pork loin). Just smother it in some gravy and it's edible. But the second year we go back, and she pulls the Tofurkey our of the freezer and informs us how excited she is to finally get to finish it off.

It was the leftover tofurkey from the previous year.

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16. The tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips

I ate boiled moose nose and caribou tongue. Nose was soft and cartilaginous and the tongue was like a fibrous liver pâté. I had firsts. I did not go back for seconds.

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15. No encore

A very garlicky carbonara. My sister's boyfriend offered to make a carbonara for our family and we accepted as we had heard good things about his cooking from my sister.

He bought the pre-chopped garlic that comes in a container where they are separated into portions (kind of in a grid set up of mini one portion garlic all connected, there's about 30 per pack minimum).

Now I am not adverse to garlic ,in fact I myself often put in more than the recommended when I cook. But holy crap. This was bad.

Turns out he had used all 30 portions of garlic to make a carbonara for 8 people. He had also used a certain kind of "matured" cheese which gave everything a nasty after taste.

Overall, we haven't let him cook food for us again but he doesn't know why.

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14. Enjoy your enhanced fertility

In Arequipa, Peru I drank a blended mixture consisting of molasses, stout brew, raw eggs, some vegetables, and frog skin. Yes, the skin of a frog. It's a symbol for healthy fertility I guess, and the tour guide insisted we try it.

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13. A second helping of chitlins

I was in a long-term relationship with a woman who made chitlins for her family during the holidays. When the big day arrived, she came from the store with those raw intestines and started the cleaning process: pulling out some kind of lining, getting the residual hay and other stuff out, then lots of washing.

I was morbidly fascinated by the process, it didn't smell as bad as I imagined either. So, she starts cooking them and they were boiling away with a lid on the pot...smell is a bit worse now but I stayed out of the kitchen.

She had to run to the store and told me to NOT lift the lid on the chitlin pot, (she was hoping I would try them at dinner but I hadn't made any promises). So of course I strolled over to the stove the minute she left and lifted the lid...holy mother. Pure CRAP steam hit my face and I ran gagging out of there. It was like concentrated full-on nastiness.

She saw my face when she came back and said, "You did it didn't you"... End of story, I still have never and never will eat chitlins. No one in the world should ever be that polite.

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12. It's a dish called 'dumb foreigner'

Raw, ground sheep meat. I could taste the cold, stringy, undissolved fat with every chew and I could barely choke it down.

It’s a Lebanese dish called Kibbeh Nayyeh. I loved absolutely everything else I ate in Lebanon - Lebanese food is incredible - but I couldn’t do this one dish. One bite was it for me.

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11. Why do parents force you to try things?!

My aunt’s mother-effing broccoli casserole that my mom made me take a bite of every thanksgiving.

I don’t know how exactly she concocted this thick, pasty casserole that smelled and tasted like a noxious cabbage fart but my god I can still think of the taste and gag and we haven’t done thanksgiving at her place in well over 12 years now.

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10. Don't kill yourself trying to be polite

My family was very strict about wasting food.

My dad was the type to say things like, "If you vomit, I will make you eat it." (When we thought food was too gross to eat like boiled spinach.) It didn't help my father's mom was the type who'd make him take ice baths for bad behavior back in the old country, and he'd follow through.

On my mom's side my grandfather said things like, "If you drop your food on the floor, I'll pick it up and you'll eat it anyway." My grandmother was the type to clean super thoroughly, but they were legit migrant farmers so wasting food was super taboo.

One day, when I was around 12-13 years old, my friend invited me over for dinner at his place. His mom was an amazing cook, 15 years later she's still the only woman who can cook me fish that I will happily eat. So I'm 100% down for dinner. We get there and she's got the dinner table COVERED end to end in fresh ingredients, she's chopping and cooking away like a kitchen monster. I'm excited.

Two or three hours goes by and the food is ready. We go over and grab bowls and we sit down. I take my first bite and immediately my mouth is ablaze with Cantonese fire. My friend looks at me and says, "Is it too spicy?" Choking a little and starting to sweat, I shake my head. I NEED to finish this bowl, but three bites in I'm breaking already.

I get up and grab a glass of water and try again, and again, and again. Halfway through the bowl my eyes are streaming and his mom takes me to her room and starts holding me while I sob -- full bodied racking sobs. She pet my hair and started singing to me softly till I settled down. She was always super strict with everybody but this little moment just kinda broke my heart.

Eventually she got me to get it together and told me it was okay if I didn't finish my food, she wouldn't tell anybody and whatnot. She was always super kind to me after that, and I felt kinda bad about visiting when she'd be strict with my friend but not me.

To this day she still holds a special admiration in my heart and I still miss seeing her.

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9. Lasagna should remain Italian

I went to a friend-of-a-friend's place where they had homemade “Brazilian lasagna” as they called it. I’m Italian, so I was interested in their take on it. It was lasagna noodles with what looked like really watered down Alfredo sauce, low-quality deli ham and canned corn.

By far the most disgusting thing I ever ate, and I’ve eaten chicken heart, cow tongue, and haggis. I was gagging the entire time before I finally convinced my friend to throw it out for me. It’s easy to say I’ll stick to the traditional lasagna from now on.

By the way, I actually love chicken heart, cow tongue and haggis, along with many other “gross” dishes. The intent of including them was that despite those sounding so gross, they are infinitely better than the “lasagna” I was given. My apologies if I offended anyone with that poorly written sentence!

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8. So you think you can cook

My grandmother is not a good cook. Quite the opposite. But she thinks she's a gourmet chef...and she's very sensitive about her cooking.

My grandmother gave me a big bowl of soup. I took one spoonful, stopped, and insisted...that something was wrong. Too much fish? Some kind of seafood? Maybe some ingredient had gone bad?

I got yelled at. Screaming, top of the lungs, yelled at.

I asked my grandmother, no, seriously, have you tasted this?

Of course she had, she replied. The soup was fine.

So I finished the soup. Every last drop, because it was the polite thing to do.

It was incredibly awful, but I figured the soup had to be okay, just particularly foul tasting for whatever reason.

For obvious reasons, my family has the ability to choke down food while ignoring the taste and any urge to vomit.

Of course, the truth was...she hadn't tasted the soup, she just lied and said she did, in order to win the argument.

To be fair, she did apologize when she discovered the melted remains of the plastic container at the bottom of the pot. This didn't make me feel better.

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7. Merry Christmas, everyone

A few Christmas ago, my brother-in-law was in charge of the turkey. He carved and brought out a plate and left the carcass on the cutting board on the counter. I got up mid meal to get more drinks and the carcass was just dripping with blood and still covered in raw meat. I guess he had picked out the best pieces and put them on the plate. That bird needed another 2 hours for sure.

People ended up leaving early feeling ill... fast forward to 2 am and my husband has decided to puke, naked, in our only bathroom. This is when I realized why people tell you to sit and puke in a garbage can when you have food poisoning or the flu. I never did get all the stuff off that wall, but considering that apartment had the worst landlord ever I didn't feel too bad. We moved a week later anyhow.

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6. On the lamb

Not so bad as some of the others, but I once was visiting family in Scotland with my grandparents. At the time (age 12 or so), I was a fairly picky eater, so when we went over for dinner, they had lamb for everyone else and peanut butter sandwiches for me. Not wanting to appear rude, and wanting to seem adventurous, I decided to go for the lamb.

Unfortunately, the first few bites made it clear to me that lamb was not a good fit for my tastes. Nevertheless, I followed the classic mantra of "Improvise, adapt, overcome." Looking around the table, I spotted a convenient pitcher of water and hatched a plan.

I cut off a suitably small bit of lamb and placed it in my mouth. I would then thoughtfully pretend to chew and swallow, then casually grab a sip of water. In reality, I was gumming the lamb, then swallowing it whole.

Of course, by the end of the meal, I'd gone through 3 cups of water (nearly half the pitcher). Nevertheless, my ruse apparently worked because when I revealed my scheme several days later, my grandparents seemed suitably surprised.

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5. Your goose is uncooked and that's a bad thing

It was the most messed up dinner I have ever seen.

Two years ago, I was invited by my best friend and her family to spent Christmas with them. Her grandparents were the sweetest old people you could think of, so I was exited, even though I normally hate Christmas. The only problem was my best friend's father. He was an old, hard-drinking jerk who was mostly separated from the rest of the family and luckily ignored me most of the time. But his trashy girlfriend thought it would be a delight to invite me and my boyfriend to a Christmas dinner.

God, it was a train wreck from start to finish. I have a very strong stomach, but after that I gelt nauseous. A goose that was dry, with congealed fat throughout, red cabbage covered with freaking booze, and the worst lasagna I have ever seen. The only good thing was that the "dinner" happened at trashy girlfriend's home, so we could get away after that and party on our own afterwards. God, it was so disgusting it still upsets me thinking about it.

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4. Assuming makes a... well, you know

Was visiting Guatemala, and this old lady invited us to dinner. In this country, it’s extremely rude to not eat what was placed before you. Unfortunately, this lady served us a vegetable soup with some meat in it that tasted like chicken broth from the underworld. She didn’t eat with us, as she was being polite or something. She didn’t even talk to us during the dinner.

We took a taste, and nearly wanted to puke. However, due to the country customs, we decided to eat it. We barely could get through it. We ate about 3/4 of it and then mentioned we were just full. We both retched later on that night. It was so nasty!

Ran into the lady later in the week walking down the street, and she apologized to us. Apparently the chicken was rotten and she only took one bite. She then chastised us for not telling her.

Sometimes it’s frustrating not knowing all the ins and outs of different customs!

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3. Arugula > starvation

Arugula ravioli.

My husband (then boyfriend) and I were on some tough times. I had been fired and immediately sprained my ankle. He got laid off the next day. 2 weeks later we went to the food bank. They gave us an entire crate of arugula ravioli.

We hate arugula. We had both literally asked for a different meal to avoid it being substituted on the side because of a shortage in the larder. I once refused a soup almost in tears because they changed the recipe to include this dirt flavored plant.

We ate it for 2 weeks until he got a job and was close to a pay check. Then he asked his mom for pizza money because we literally couldn't swallow it anymore. It makes a funny story now, and he often retells it. Then it just made me want to puke.

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2. The Petri dish chili

My grandmother's chili. My grandmother is a terrible, terrible cook. I've gotten food poisoning multiple times from her but this chili nearly killed me.

She made it in her crockpot. I lived with my grandparents, my younger, sister, and our mom at the time. My mom was out of town.

The first night, the chili was good. Everything was fine. She made a huge batch so we had it again the next day. It was still okay, a little bit off but not the worst thing I ever ate. I was so sick that night. Spewing from both ends.

The third night the smell was horrible, the chili was popping and effervescent with tiny gas bubbles. I was nine, we had just learned about bacteria in school. I refused to eat more than a bite. It was pop rocks mixed with rotten meat. I asked her how she stored the chili. "In the crockpot," she said defensively. "It's okay to leave things in there, I even remembered to unplug it!"

We lived in Georgia, it was the summer. She didn't make chili; she made a science experiment on the kitchen counter.

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1. The joys of fatherhood

This was my Dad eating it rather than me, but I was a witness.

I have two older sisters. When the elder of them decided that she wanted to cook a meal for the family, it was a big deal. She decided to make chili, and she used my Mom's big red Betty Crocker Cookbook (or similar, but one of those generic cookbooks most families have) for the recipe.

At one point it calls for a whole heap of chili powder, and this is where things went wrong. She used the chili powder from our kitchen drawer. Seems fair, right? Except my Dad is Pakistani and it was some sort of incredibly intense chiles or something like that. Bear in mind that at this point I was, like, 8 or younger, so my grasp the details was minimal. All I knew was that you couldn't even go near the pot. Breathing the air in the kitchen was an experience.

The entire family just noped out -- nice try, let's order a pizza, you can give it a go again next week... except for my Dad.

He was determined that his daughter had cooked dinner and he was going to EAT THAT DINNER.

He ate it. He ate the WHOLE POT.

But the end, his face was Crayola Fire Engine Red and there was sweat pouring off of him. We would ask if he was okay, and he would croak out, "Yes, it's very good," in a tone which implied he was fighting for each moment of survival. I don't even want to consider what his gut was like for the rest of that week.

But his daughter cooked him dinner and he ATE. THE. WHOLE. POT.

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