The flesh of the Sleeper Shark, which feeds on colossal squid, contains such a high concentration of anti-freeze that it must rot for months before consumption as the popular Icelandic dish Hákarl.
'Burrito' means 'little donkey' in Spanish, named this way because burritos can carry many things, much like a donkey can.
In 1533, Catherine de' Medici became the queen of France. She fancied spinach so much that she insisted it be served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as "Florentine", reflecting Catherine's birth in Florence.
The Buddha recommended eating rice porridge, saying “There are these five benefits in rice porridge. What five? It stills hunger, dispels thirst, settles wind, cleans out the bladder, and promotes the digestion of the remnants of undigested food. These are the five benefits of rice porridge.”
Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole is so popular that Campbell’s estimates 40% of their Cream of Mushroom Soup is used to make the dish.
Tomato sauce is not Italian at all but Mexican. The first tomato sauces were already being sold in the markets of Tenochtitlan when Spaniards arrived and had many of the same ingredients (tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies) that would later define Italian tomato pasta sauces 200 years later.
Salt-cured capybara (the largest living rodent) is consumed during Lent in Venezuela, where the popularity of the dish prompted the Vatican to declare that capybara isn’t meat but fish.
A one-pound onion has 191 calories. A Blooming Onion from Outback Steakhouse has 1954 calories.
Baked beans started with a bean native to the Americas exported to France/Italy in the 1500s. They were brought back to America with European colonization, then exported to the UK as an "American delicacy" in the late 1800s, and are now reimported to the US as “UK Baked Beans.”
Kraft Dinner (Mac and Cheese) is a Canadian national dish. It is the most popular grocery item in the country.
“The Widower” is a British curry from Grantham, Lincolnshire which is made with 20 infinity chilies and claimed to be the world’s hottest curry. Only one person has ever finished it. He took an hour to finish it and spent 10 minutes of that time hallucinating due to the endorphin rush.
Upscale steakhouses use dry-aged beef where the beef is hung on a rack to dry for several weeks. This process evaporates moisture in the muscles and promotes the enzymatic breakdown of connective tissue which together yields very flavorful meat.
In 2011, several remarkably expensive bowls of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) were auctioned off for charity. “AnQi Phở” was prepared with type A5-Wagyu beef, white truffles, precious foie gras broth, and perfectly manicured noodles made of rare blue lobster meat.
Dry red kidney beans can be toxic if they are cooked in a slow cooker, which doesn't get hot enough to get rid of phytohaemagglutinin, causing severe symptoms.
Pozole, a traditional Mexican soup, was originally made with human flesh by the Aztecs. When cannibalism was banned, pork was used as it “tasted very similar.”
Tempura isn't originally a Japanese dish. It was introduced by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century and its name comes from the Latin for “time period” because the seafood was associated with Lent in the West.
Although dark turkey meat has a slightly higher calorie count, it contains more iron and Zinc (Plus other nutrients) than white meat.
The Japanese dish of Oyakodon which is made with chicken and eggs translates to “parent and child rice bowl.”
Budae-jjigae, a Korean soup dish which is a fusion of common soup ingredients in Korea and scavenged foods from US bases had a period of "illegality"; as spam smuggling was punishable by death under President Park in the 1960-70s.
Casu Marzu is a delicacy in Sardinia. It is a cheese infected with live maggots. Diners spread it on flatbread then hold their hands above the sandwich while eating it because the maggots can leap up to 6 inches when disturbed.
Acqua Pazza, an Italian herbed broth that is used to cook seafood, literally translates to “crazy water.”
There are more kangaroos in Australia than there are people, at 50 million compared to 25 million, and that Australians are encouraged to eat more kangaroo meat as a way of controlling the growing numbers. There even exists “kangatarianism” in Australia, which is essentially a vegetarian diet that excludes all meat except kangaroo meat on environmental and ethical grounds.
Croissants aren't from France. Though their name is French for "crescent," these flaky pastries actually hail from Vienna, Austria.
Dinner was once the main meal of the day, served around one or two in the afternoon, while 'supper' was a much lighter meal, or even just a snack, eaten around sundown.
Italian “wedding soup” comes from the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata” (married soup) which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination (marriage) of greens and the broth.
When watermelons are grilled or baked they lose their granular texture and can even be used as a meat substitute, a.k.a. a “watermelon steak.”
Pretzels may have originated in 610 AD when an Italian monk folded the dough to resemble arms crossing the chest in prayer, called “pretiola” (little rewards). He would reward children who learned their prayers with them.
Authentic Mongolian cuisine is mutton, mutton, and more mutton. (A "Mongolian barbecue" is neither Mongolian nor BBQ). It is so monotonous that one travel author wrote: “in 33 years of international travel [Mongolia] has without question the most pitiful food of any country I have visited.”
During the 2013 horsemeat scandal, meat pie from Iceland was tested and was found to contain no meat. There was literally no animal protein detected, so the beef pie was full vegan.
The most prized delicacy in Ethiopia is raw meat. Ox is the most common meat consumed raw but the more expensive goat is gaining momentum. Despite official health warnings, Ethiopians still prefer to buy their animals live and slaughter them at home.
Chinese dumplings are called “Peking ravioli” in the Boston area because when Joyce Chen opened her Chinese restaurant in Cambridge she thought it would sound more appealing to the large Italian population in the area.
The kale salad with dressing at McDonald’s has more calories than a Double Big Mac.
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) says it is unacceptable to place ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese, and chili are acceptable.
According to a poll in the year 2000, the Japanese believe that their best invention of the 20th century was instant noodles.
Salema porgy is a fish that when eaten causes severe hallucinations lasting for up to 36 hours. It was a party drug during the Roman Empire.
According to the USDA, grilled cheese and PBJ are not sandwiches. A sandwich is “a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun, or a biscuit.”
The cheesecake was a Greek invention and was served at the first Olympic Games.