Monday, October 6, 2008

Scotch bonnet pepper makes the Omnivore's 100: foods to eat at least once in a lifetime

You've probably eaten s'mores, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a hot dog from a cart. But what about crocodile, sea urchin or -- dare we say -- roadkill?

All of these foods made it onto the omnivore's 100, a list of foods that Andrew Wheeler, a British food writer, believes an omnivore should try in his or her life.

The genius of the list lies in its diversity, and in the clever way it challenges one's assumptions about food. Some items are luxuries, such as a meal at a Michelin-three-star restaurant or caviar and blini. But junk food is also represented, both the American Big Mac combo meal and Japanese Pocky, which are thin, pencil-shaped biscuits dipped in chocolate or other coatings.

Things that can be painful to consume are well represented in a range of mediums, including a raw Scotch bonnet pepper (one of the hottest peppers in the world), a variety of curries (Wheeler is English, after all), and baijiu, a popular Chinese distilled spirit that is very strong (between 40 percent and 60 percent alcohol) and whose taste is often described as akin to rubbing alcohol.