With reports of E. coli outbreaks in Chipotles ongoing across the nation, a lot of reasonable folk have stayed away from Chipotle burritos. Other, more dedicated Chipotle lovers — like me — have been reaping the benefits of much shorter lines.
Honestly, what’s a little virus ever done to anyone? Oh, killed them? Well then, if I’m going to go out, it’s going to be shoving my face with burritos.
And I’m definitely not alone when it comes to foodies who are so dedicated that they are willing to die to eat the foods they love. In fact, not only are some people willing to die for their favorite meals -- they’re willing to pay top dollar for them.
1. Sannakji ($30-$40 for a small container)
What exactly is sannakji? In Korean, “san” means “live” and “nakji” means "octopus." Yup, we’re talking about eating a live, squirming octopus.
Not scary enough? Well, the octopus is not only alive, it has a tendency to use the active suction cups on its severed tentacles to cling to the eater’s throat after being swallowed and constrict, causing the person to choke.
Even though this demon octopus has been chopped to bits, its tentacles still have residual nerve responses that cause them to move and constrict on any surface they cling to, which is f*cking terrifying.
2. Monkey brains ($120 per pound)
Though illegal to hunt in most countries in Southeast Asia (with a possible prison sentence ranging up to 10 years), many species of wild monkey can still be found and eaten in certain parts of China, Malaysia and Singapore.
Despite that one scene in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," in which the monkey brains are served "chilled," those who wish to give monkey brains a go risk contracting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain disorder — similar to Mad Cow Disease — that causes dementia and ultimately leads to death.
3. Fugu puffer fish ($200 per pound)
A traditional Japanese dish, the fugu puffer fish puts 30 to 50 people in the hospital each year, with a few of those cases leading to death.
The fish is teeming with a toxin that provides a tingling sensation to the eater’s lips and, if not cooked perfectly, can also cause paralysis of the muscles in the chest and diaphragm, ultimately suffocating him or her to death.
Chefs who wish to prepare and serve the dish have to undergo rigorous testing for two years, followed by an exam, which, according to The Daily Mail, a third of applicants fail. I'm not sure who's volunteering to judge that exam.
4. Moose milk cheese ($300 per pound)
Who knew you could milk a moose? I sure as hell didn’t, and if you did, I really don’t want to know how or where you picked up that bit of info.
Apparently, one day in Bjursholm, Sweden, the Johannson family came across three moose calves that had been abandoned by their mother. Being a family of farmers, their first instinct was obviously “Let’s see if we can milk these suckers!” And now their farm is Europe’s main source of the highly coveted moose milk cheese.
The cheese goes for quite a large sum of money due to its rarity, high-maintenance milking process (it takes about two hours and must be done in complete silence, or the moose get startled and dry right up), the amount that can be extracted per milking session (about a gallon a day) and the short window of time every year in which milking moose is actually possible (May to September).
It's great expense makes perfect sense considering raw milk cheese can carry dangerous bacteria like salmonella, listeria and E.coli, all of which can cause flu-like symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and, in some cases, have potentially life-threatening effects.
Regulations on moose milk cheese are unclear since it’s so scarcely produced, leaving eaters of this cheese especially vulnerable to these potentially fatal diseases.
5. Casu marzu (up to $500 per pound on the Sardinian black market)
Also known as “maggot cheese,” casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese usually served on special occasions, such as weddings. The cheese has since been banned throughout the country due to its unsanitary means of preparation and associated health risks.
Makers of the cheese encourage Piophilia casei (flies more commonly known as “Cheese Skippers”) to infest and lay eggs in the cheese by drilling a hole in the middle, dropping some oil in it and letting the cheese sit out.
The eggs hatch into maggots, which drag themselves -- by their teeth -- across the cheese, all the while releasing an enzyme that change the consistency of the cheese to that which is…ready to be consumed.
Once eaten, these maggots can potentially lay eggs in your stomach, causing serious infection and even death.
The cheese is enjoyed less for the taste and more for the sensation it brings, which apparently starts with a burning feeling in the mouth. It also doubles as an aphrodisiac, obviously.
Also, make sure you close your eyes when you eat it -- these maggots will actually attempt to jump several inches off the cheese into your eyes in a last ditch effort at survival.
6. Matsutake mushroom ($1,000 per pound)
It's no surprise that you’d see a mushroom on this list; plenty of them are toxic. Also no surprise to see this mushroom is from Japan, as many of the items on this list have been. (WTF, Japan?)
What is a surprise is the matsutake mushroom, one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world. isn’t in fact harmful or dangerous in anyway. So why is it on the list?
Well, the mastutake mushroom bears a striking resemblance to the much more common “Amanita smithiana,” a mushroom that is, in fact, lethally poisonous. Inexperienced mushroom hunters have often picked the Amanita by mistake and sold it to street vendors thinking it was the rare matsutake.
Are you willing to risk your life on someone's else's ability to identify a soggy mushroom in a forest?
7. Elvers ($2,500 per pound)
Elvers, a type of fish also known as "glass eels," are extremely hard to catch. They’re rare, and the slightest temperature change or string of bad weather can cause their population to plummet.
Much like the fugu, the blood of elvers is toxic (0.1ml/kg is enough to kill a rabbit). In humans, elver blood can cause severe internal muscle cramps, which could lead to heart failure, particularly in young consumers and those with a history of heart problems.
Also like the fugu, it’s extremely important for elvers to be cooked thoroughly. Those who prefer raw seafood will be playing with fire when it comes to eating these small eel.
So if I'm going to get sick or killed by something I'm eating, I'd rather it be a $10 burrito bowl than something I spent two month’s rent on. Chipotle doesn’t sound quite so bad anymore now does it?