Food With Weird Names

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I really like food, and I really like to write. This blog is all about interesting and unusual food with weird names, strange ingredients and even stranger recipes. From pig tongues to sheep intestines and grasshoppers to snails there is something for everyone in this blog.

Food With Weird Names

From blood pudding to spotted dick, there’s a chance the names themselves would keep even the most adventurous foodies at bay. For one, most of us aren’t keen on eating blood, while anything “spotted” seems downright dangerous. You know, in the medical sense.

Spam? Bangers and mash? We’ll pass. I mean, what is going on here? Why not just use words like “sausage” or “mystery meat”? Well, because it just wouldn’t be as fun — that’s why. So, let’s take a look at some of the weirdest food names out there — some of which are accompanied by even weirder ingredients.

1. Spam

AKA, America’s favorite mystery meat in a can.

This food will probably go down in history as both the most ubiquitous and the grossest. Known lovingly but not entirely inaccurately as a “mystery meat,” Spam is actually made from pork, potato starch, sugar, water, salt, and sodium nitrate. But really, who knows?

And where does its name even come from?

They say its name comes from “Shoulder of Pork and Ham” or “SPiced hAM.” Clever. Even Spam itself started calling its name an abbreviation — in 2019, Spam began making advertisements containing the definition “Sizzle Pork And Mmmm.”

2. Coddled Eggs

Save20 best recipes for one person: part 1the GuardianCoddled egg Ivanhoe, from “The Sunday Night Book” by Rosie Sykes

Does this mean we cuddle with them?

Coddled eggs are actually eggs that are lightly steamed or baked in a “hot water bath,” so that the white part of the eggs are slightly cooked. They’re called “coddled eggs” because an egg coddler is a “porcelain or pottery cup with a lid” that is used to prepare the dish.

3. Bubble & Squeak

SaveBubble and Squeak –mummyonabudget.com.auBubble and Squeak

Bubble and WHAT? Does this food squeak?

Before you start to wonder if this food includes a living, possibly squeaking animal — no, thank you — this U.K.-based dish actually just contains fried leftover veggies, and it’s beloved by Brits all over. According to Spruce Eats, the origins of the name are not known, but many believe that the name comes from the fact that food bubbles up and squeaks while over the fire.

4. The Imam Fainted

SaveWhy The Priest Fainted: An Ode To EggplantNPR.orgImam Bayildi

What is “the imam fainted” even made from?

Now, this name is even weirder than “Bubble and Squeak” or “Spam,” we think. Without even the remotest indication of what could possibly be in this dish, this name (also known as “the priest wept“) throws us for a loop. It’s actually a dish from Ottoman cuisine, and is generally made from whole eggplant, garlic, and tomatoes. According to legend, it is so yummy that it makes imams (a person who leads prayers in a mosque) faint.

5. Century Eggs

These eggs are over 100 years old.

Just kidding. This isn’t wine we’re talking about. There’s no way you’ll be eating a 100-year-old egg. But when you eat a century egg, you will be eating an older egg — as in, it’s a rotten, black egg. Yep, the century egg recipe calls for eggs being preserved in clay and ash for a few months. When it’s ready, it’s savory comfort food. Yeah, a comfort food.

6. Bangers And Mash

SaveIrish Bangers and MashLisa BattisHungry Hippo

It’s not a mixtape.

This English food (are you catching onto the pattern yet? The English have a fondness for weird names) is basically a dish of finger sausages alongside a pile of mashed potatoes drizzled with gravy. It’s a dish you’ll find anywhere in the U.K., including fancy restaurants and pubs — and it’s super delicious.

7. Witchetty Grub

SaveThese Australian Grubs Taste Like Scrambled EggsAtlas ObscuraBarbecued or raw, the outback’s witchetty grub is a foraged treat.

Hint: It’s not food for witches.

This Aussie food comes from the Indigenous Australians — and it’s the larva of a moth — a moth that feeds on the Witchetty bush. It’s a super protein-packed treat that can be eaten raw or cooked. It takes on a sort of almond-y or chicken taste, depending on how it is eaten. The name comes from “witjuri,” given by the Adnyamathanha people of Australia.

Surprisingly Odd Food Names

Neither sweet nor bread.

Sweetbreads are the thymus or pancreas of some young animal, usually a calf.

(A prettier name, certainly, than “offal”.)

Headcheese

top 10 surprising food words headcheese

A jellied and compressed loaf made from the head, feet, and often heart and tongue of a pig.

Cheddar it’s not.

Welsh Rabbit

top 10 surprising food words welshrabbit

Photo: Jeremy Keith on Flickr

A dish that a vegetarian could safely order: melted cheese poured over toast or crackers.

The name may have originated among the English as a dig against their neighbors, the Welsh. Rabbit was a much more expensive dish than cheese and toast, but if you were Welsh, that’s probably what you made do with.

Since there is no rabbit at all in this dish, folk etymology created the variant Welsh rarebit, which upgrades it from a poor man’s dish to a purported delicacy.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

top 10 surprising food words rocky mountain oysters

Photo: Vincent Diamante on Flickr

These oval delicacies are the testicles of any of various animals – sheep, bull calf, mountain goat – found in the Rockies.

The mountain men of the Old West were known for robust humor.

Boston Cream Pie

top 10 surprising food words boston cream pie

It’s really a split sponge cake filled with custard and topped with chocolate glaze.

Delicious, yes, but not pie. (It originated at Boston’s Parker House, and nobody really knows how it got its name.)

Ladyfingers

top 10 surprising food words lady fingers

With apologies to Hannibal Lecter, these are merely sponge cakes in a delicate fingerlike form.

Because these biscuits are dry, they’re best soaked in something. That’s how they’re used these days in tiramisu – and also how they’re used in this 1820 poem by John Keats:

“Fetch me that Ottoman, and prithee keep / Your voice low,” said the Emperor, “and steep /Some lady’s fingers nice in Candy wine”

Tripe

top 10 surprising food words tripe

The stomach lining of a ruminant, like an ox or sheep.

The fact that the word tripe has developed a second meaning as “something poor, worthless, or offensive” might tell us something … although some cultures make it a delicacy.

Scotch Woodcock

top 10 surprising food words scotchwoodcock

With an odd name that is probably a dig by the English against the Scots, this dish is actually buttered toast spread with anchovy paste and scrambled egg.

The woodcock is a game bird, but there’s none of that here.

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