Gordon Ramsay is a man of many pallets, as well as one of the world’s most famous chefs and TV personnel. He has gained his arguably unique reputation as a result of many television cooking and restaurant renovation shows, so much so that there is even an area in New York City named after his hit-series, Hell’s Kitchen. Ramsay travels the world in search of new and amazing food, and while these days, he spends most of his time in the United States, there are just some foods from within the US that he will not even bother trying.
The culinary world is full of weird and wonderful things, but most importantly, it brings people from many different cultures together. Each country has their own take on a dish, making it unique to their region. Some may enjoy it, while others might not, and this is completely fine. America is a land of many landscapes and cultural practices, meaning there is some weird twist on almost every dish, some so weird that foreigners won’t be able to swallow it…not even Gordon Ramsay!
25 Garbage plate
This dish looks exactly how the name sounds. One half of the plate is potatoes, one half is macaroni and cheese, topped with 200g of beef mince, topped with melted cheese, tossed in a mustard-horseradish sauce, served with Italian bread…because pasta an potatoes in one dish is not enough carbs. It is truly a heart-stopper of a dish, but The Things claims it to be a popular midnight snack or hangover food, kind of like the 2 am kebab.
24 Moose nose jelly
Lucky for all of us, I have saved the best for last. Jellied moose nose, according to The Things, is somewhat of a delicacy in Alaska, and has made its way down to the States over time. It is a concoction of the jawbone of the moose, boiled and then chilled overnight. Then, it is boiled once again with herbs and spices, and again, marinates overnight. On the third day, the meat is removed from the broth, the broth is boiled and poured back over the meat. It is left until it dries to a jelly-like consistency. It seems the Alaskans have contributed to two of the most insane dishes on this list, but nevertheless, they have ended up in the US and there is no going back.
This food looks about as appetizing as the name suggests. The Things suggest this food item (we’re steering away from the word ‘dish’ here), is common throughout East Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. In a nutshell, Scrapple is a breakfast meat comprising of the left-over cuts of the pig, inside and out, and is boiled with spices and flour for a few hours.
22 Pancakes and Sausages on a stick
Odyssey Online tells a story of two unlikely friends who have come together to create one of the weirdest foods known to exist. While it may not look sloppy or greasy, this item is exactly as the name suggests, a sausage on a stick, wrapped in a pancake. Not only does it come in original, there are other flavors to choose from too!
21 Sweet Potato and Marshmallow casserole
A warm dish for those cold winter nights, the casserole is perhaps one of the most common heart-warming dishes for the colder months. Daily Edge says this dish is your average casserole, prepared and cooked like a normal potato casserole would be. Sounds boring, right? That is why the Americans have gone ahead and covered the top of the casserole with marshmallows, because why not.
As per Buzzfeed, Koolickles are slices of pickles that have been marinated and soaked in Kool Aid. This item is flying way-off the weird foods chart and are in a world of their own. Mainly found in Delta, Mississippi (maybe that’s a good thing?), Koolickles are a sweet and salty treat, and some have even gone as far as somewhat healthy…?
19 Chicken and Waffles
Did someone say brinner? For those of you playing at home, brinner refers to breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. Chicken and waffles are great individual food items. Paired together, I am not too convinced. Just Something does us no favors by adding that Americans love this dish so much they drown their waffles in maple syrup, and proceed to use said syrup as a dipping sauce for their chicken strips! Mind = Blown.
18 Spaghetti Tacos
Again, two items that have been paired together by Americans that is just a plain no from outsiders. Two items that should be always kept separate, you know, as to avoid any mess…obviously. Odyssey Online brings Spaghetti Tacos to the table. Spaghetti Bolognese as the meat, and grated American cheese as the topping, somehow this dish has actually made its way on to some menus across the US.
17 Rocky Mountain Oysters
This is a dish far, far from the shellfish version of the oyster. The Things points out that this dish is made-up of male bull…you can guess the rest. While the preparation of this dish is quite strange, yet simple, it is not for the faint-hearted. It has been dubbed a delicacy in some parts of the US and is also known to improve performance in the bedroom.
16 Deep-fried Butter
America is famous for deep frying pretty much anything. From Mars Bars and ice-cream to hotdogs and chocolate, nothing of off-limits, Buzzfeed suggests that neither is butter. Yep, that’s right, deep-fried butter…pure butter. So fat, covered in more fat, covered in a sugar-based sauce topping, seems to fit right in with most other American treats.
Such a sweet sounding name, but don’t get a false sense of security here. These bad boys are fried, boiled or stewed pig intestines, popular in the Southern States. ‘Chitlins’ can be served with greens or fried chicken, and are quite potent when cooking, according to Southern Living, and even-though a pigs intestine is perhaps not an appetizing menu item, there is a legitimate point behind their existence; waste not, want not.
14 Fermented Fish Head
While not invented in the United States, fermented fish head was first brought about in Alaska, but later introduced to the US, and was a traditional meal of the Yupik People in the southwest, per The Things. Basically, the fish head is buried in specialized rotting grounds for 2-3 weeks, removed and eaten. Does not sound one bit appetizing, just remember to politely decline if ever offered any. Oh, and I should add that these rotten fish heads have also been the cause for Botulism disease.
13 Red-eye Gravy
If someone approaches you and offers you red-eye gravy, you will probably be thinking ‘what does the red-eye part mean?’ Well, here you go. What’s Cooking America says the gravy consists of salty ham juice, mixed with coffee or sometimes even cola drink. There have been some very unique mixtures of random ingredients throughout history, but none more seldom than these two, or sometimes even three ingredients.
While we are on the topic of random ingredients, let’s touch on Gumbo. According to Buzzfeed, Gumbo is literally anything and everything thrown into a pot, boiled or fried, and then slopped on to a plate. One lady from Louisiana told Buzzfeed that there can be crayfish, shrimp, vegetables, eggs and/or other meats all in one dish. She says that it has never really enticed her taste buds, and I think rightly so.
11 Watergate salad
A salad that can be eaten for dessert or a side salad for a main…finally! Salads are generally healthy in nature, however, the Watergate salad is a completely different story. Huff Post lists the ingredients as pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, coarsely chopped walnuts, whipped cream, and marshmallows. It really does sound like a dessert salad, but you would be surprised how many people enjoy it as a compliment to their main dish. To make things even weirder, nobody actually knows how the name Watergate Salad came about.
10 Picked pigs feet
If you thought Chitterlings were bad, just wait until you read about pickled pigs’ feet. We learn from The Things that pickled pigs’ feet are essentially pig feet which have been marinated and then smoked. They are usually bought in a jar and most common in the South. The Things also tells of some old times, saying back in the day, ice-cream trucks would sometimes sell pigs feet as well as their signature sweet treats!
9 Spam Musubi
Spam is widely used throughout the United States and can add a surprisingly decent taste to a dish. On the other hand, if used in the wrong context, then the dish can be unofficially deemed disgusting. Migrationology defines Spam Musubi as a Hawaiian dish which is a unique take on the traditional Japanese Sushi. This item does not look appetizing, nor does it look unappetizing, and it certainly does not give off the same ‘vibe’ as, say, pickled pigs’ feet, but it looks like something Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t sink his teeth in to.
8 Corn Dog
A well-known American treat, the corn dog is a simple, yet sophisticated snack. It is available on nearly every street corner, so could be argued that is not a ‘strange’ food item, per se. Interestingly, Just Something says that America is the only place in the world that the traditional corn dog is available. It may not be weird and strange, but it is certainly something Chef Ramsay would surpass.
The Things defines Turducken as a roasted mix of ‘deboned chicken, stuffed in a deboned duck, stuffed in the “gastric passage” of a turkey. A holiday treat in the United States, the dish was originated in New Orleans, and writer for The Things, Jessica Spinelli has told of a time where she witnessed chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in turkey stuffed inside a pig. Too much information? I think so. Let’s move on.
Basically a bowl of slop, Grit has appeared on most lists during my research, so it is only fitting it makes an appearance. According to Just something, Grit is a soup-like dish made from corn which has been boiled in milk and mushed if need be. As a ‘compliment’ to the dish, butter, cheese or gravy can be added to give it a smoother texture. While it wouldn’t taste as bad as some of the other items on this list, I guarantee it will be spooned straight into the garbage by yours truly (gently I would have to think).
5 Brain Sandwich
Gordon Ramsay has been around the traps, but perhaps this is just a tad too far. Indy Star describes the brain sandwiches in a way that you need to read for yourself, and while deemed a delicacy in some kitchens, placing brain in a sandwich just as the people in the US just doesn’t sit right.
4 Donut burgers
For those of you who have ever wanted a donut at the same time as a burger, America seems like the place to be. From deep-frying butter to using 2 sugar coated donuts as burger buns, the United States has had, dare I say it, poor contributions to the culinary world, and it just got a whole lot worse. Daily Edge says having a cheeseburger held together by two donuts ruins appetites and should be illegal, and they are not very far from the truth.
Cuy was invented in Peru, South America and is a popular dish there, however, it has slowly made its way to the restaurants of New York, per Just something. Oh, I didn’t mention…Cuy is a roasted guinea pig. The dish is known as ‘cuy’ and not ‘roast guinea pig’ simply as mental preparation they are not about to eat a cute little animal.
2 Chicken Gizzards
It is reassuring that Buzzfeed points out that Southern food can be a very foreign and confronting concept for anyone. Gizzards can be found in the digestive tract of the chook which helps it chew food. They can be eaten as a side dish, as well as a main, and can come grilled, fried or sautéed.
1 Frito Pie
According to Daily Edge, this...dish…consists of a taco mix thrown on top of a packet of crisps. To put it bluntly, it is a pile of slop thrown on to potato chips and served. Beans, grated cheese, diced onions and a little bit of chili make up the dish if you want to call it that. Some restaurants even serve the Frito Pie on top of the crisp packet. Okay, that’s enough, next, please.