Have a Ball at Serbia’s Testicle Cooking Championship

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Every year, teams of chefs from all over Serbia, gather in the remote mountain village of Ozrem to cook various testicle dishes, in the World Testicle Cooking Championship.

For most people, the mere thought of eating any kind of testicles is sickening, but for the Serbians, who believe testicles contain a lot of testosterone which helps men’s libidos, it’s just a welcome challenge. So, to turn it into a competition, Ljubomir Erovic created the World Testicle Cooking Championship, back in 2005. Since then, it’s been organized every year, and more and more tourists come to try, or see others stuff their faces with various testicle-based foods. The festival has become so popular that Erovic, a seasoned testicle cook, has even published a testicle cookbook.

The motto of the event is “Scots have their scotch, the Swiss – their cheese, and we, the Serbs, have balls,”, and judging by the number of testicles cooked and consumed by the audience, I’d say that’s very true. The cooks use testicles from all kinds of animals and birds, including bulls, pigs, ostriches, roosters, kangaroos, or turkeys. Each of them have original recopies which they hope will land them the annual prize and the title of testicle cooking champion.

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Cake Boss Star Creates Mind-Blowing Bumblebee Cake

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It was definitely not a piece of cake, but Cake Boss star, Buddy Valastro, managed to create an incredibly realistic cake shaped like the Chevrolet Camaro-shifting Autobot, Bumblebee.

With Transformers 3: Dark Side of the Moon scheduled for a July 1st release, the people at General Motors though this was a good pretext to gain some exposure for their gorgeous Chevrolet Camaro, so they asked Buddy Valastro to create a detailed cake shaped both as a yellow Camaro and as Transformers star, Bumblebee. Many asked if he could deliver something impressive enough, but when the rolled in at the 2011 New York Auto Show, no one had any more doubts.

The event was featured on TLC’s Cake Boss, in an episode that aired June 20, and viewers got to see one of the biggest, most incredible-cakes ever made. The Camaro-Bumblebee cake weighed 1,500 pounds, and was made of yellow sponge cake, Rice Crispy Treats, buttercream frosting, and yellow and black frosting for the Transformers figure. The unique cake had moving wings, lights and pyrotechnics.

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Researcher Creates Artificial Meat Based on Human Excrement

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The global food crisis is a very serious issue, but professor Ikeda thinks his latest invention, an artificial meat based on protein from human excrement, could be of great help.

The Japanese researcher from the Okayama laboratory says its country has more sewage mud than they can handle, so Tokyo Sewarage asked him to explore its possible use. Knowing the wacky nature of many Japanese scientists, it’s no surprise he came up with a turd burger. During his research, he discovered sewage mud contains a great deal of protein so he began developing a process of extracting that valuable protein and turning it into a viable meat substitute.

Sewage mud is high in protein, because it’s full of bacteria, most of which comes from human feces. However, these microorganisms are harmless, because they are killer by heat during the manufacturing process. According to initial tests, the artificial meat even tastes like beef, thanks to added soy protein, and Ikeda added some red food coloring to give it a more natural look. In terms of nutritive values, the turd burger doesn’t sound bad at all: it’s 63% protein, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals.

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La Bonnotte – The World’s Most Expensive Potatoes

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When you think about expensive food, potatoes aren’t exactly the first ingredients that come to mind, are they? Believe it or not La Bonnotte potatoes are one of the world’s most expensive foods, served only in the most luxurious restaurants.

The price of one kilogram of La Bonnotte potatoes can reach $700, making it the most expensive potato on Earth. Its ridiculous price doesn’t just have to do with its delicious salty flavor, but also with the fact that it’s very rare. This variety of potato is only cultivated on Noirmoutier, an island off the coast of western France, and just 100 tons are produced every year, mainly because they have to be picked by hand. La Bonnotte’s tuber remains attached to the stem making too fragile to harvest by machine, not to mention it also needs to be fertilized with algae and seaweed to give it that distinct earthy, salty flavor. Its fragile nature simply didn’t make it profitable enough for large agricultural companies, and it was only because of teh love and care of a few French potato lovers that it didn’t go extinct.

Also known as The King of Potatoes, La Bonnotte is planted in February and ready to be picked in the first week of May. The entire crop is usually exhausted by the first weekend of the month, because they retain all of their flavor if their picked and shipped to the restaurant the same day.

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Would You Pay $1,000 for a Pizza?

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Probably not, but Nino Selimaj, owner of Nino’s Bellissima Pizza, in New York, seems to think there are many food lovers who would fork out $1,000 for a slice of heaven.

Selimaj himself came up with the idea for this expensive pizza, in 2007, after spending a whole year just researching the ingredients. In the end, he settled on a creme fraiche base,  four types of caviar, sliced lobster tail, salmon roe and some wasabi. Each $250 slice contains a different kind of caviar and while Selimaj admits his gourmet creation isn’t for everyone, he says there are plenty of people who can afford it.

In 2010, during a CNN Money report on pizza in New York, Selimaj said the financial crisis hit his $1,000 pizza as well, and while he used to sell between 2 and 10 pies a week before the crisis, sales were down to one every two weeks, even one a month. I don’t know if he’s doing any better now, but I think he’ll keep it on the menu just for the pride of selling the most expensive pizza in the world.

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Japan’s Mouth-Watering Plastic Food Displays

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Fancy menus may be enough for most restaurant diners around the world, but not in Japan. Here, image is everything and before going in for a bite, people want to see exactly what the food they want to order looks like. That’s where Japan’s realistic plastic food displays come into play…

Japanese fake food models can be traced back to 1917, but it wasn’t until 1926 that a restaurant owner decided to use them in a glass casing, to attract more customers. His idea was a big hit and people flocked to his venue hoping to get a serving of the delicious meals displayed outside. Soon, other restaurants followed his example and fake food display making became a lucrative business. In 1932, Iwasaki Ryuzo set up up a company that made and sold fake foods to restaurants and today it’s Japan’s top plastic food manufacturer. Business is very lucrative, as estimates show it produces revenues of billions of yen every year. For an entire menu, executed to perfection, luxury restaurants will pay up to one million yen.

In the old days, fake food models were made from wax. It was melted and pored into molds made from kanten (a seaweed jelly), but today manufacturers use silicon molds in which they pour liquid plastic and heat it up until it hardens. Modern materials and techniques apparently make the food considerably more realistic.  Restaurants send fake food makers the exact item they want replicated, along with photos. Silicon is poured around and over the disk and solidifies into a mold, which is then filled with liquid plastic and cooked in an oven. Then comes the really hard part – getting the details right. Oil based paints, regular brushes, air brushes, knives and carving tools are all part of fake food artist’s arsenal, but they all keep their techniques a secret.

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Don Gorske – The Mac Daddy of Big Macs

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57-year-old Don Gorske ate his first Big Mac 39 years ago, to celebrate buying a new car. He was hooked and on that same day he went back and ate eight more before the McDonalds restaurant closed. On May 17 2011, he ate his 25,000th Big Mac.

The retired prison guard planned to eat his 25,000 Big Mac in the same restaurant, in the same day and at the xact same hour he ate his first heart-stopping burger. The McDonald’s in his home town of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, celebrated the event by organizing a ceremony for their most loyal customer, and posted a sign beneath the logo’s golden arches that said “Congrats Don Gorske 25000 Big Macs.” Before biting into the burger, he said “It’s been seven years since 20,000. Same thing goes this year folks. You can’t have the carton and it probably still takes 16 bites for me to finish a Big Mac.”

Gorske fell in love with the Big Mac in 1972, when he walked into the local McDonald’s and bought three burgers to celebrate buying a car. He loved them so much that he came back to the restaurant twice that day, and ate a total of nine before it closed down. “I plan on eating Big Macs until I die,” he said. “I have no intentions of changing. It’s still my favorite food. Nothing has changed in 39 years. I look forward to it every day.” Throughout the nearly four decades since he started eating Big Macs, he’s only gone eight days without his favorite meal. One of the reasons he skipped a day was to grant his mother a dying wish, and the last day without a Big Mac was on Thanksgiving 2000, when he forgot to stock up and McDonald’s was closed for the holiday.

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World’s Most Expensive Popsicle Costs $1,000

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Marquis Los Cabos luxury resort, in Baja California Sur, Mexico, offers its guests the most exclusive popsicle they’ve ever tasted, priced at 1,000 US dollars.

So what makes a simple popsicle cost so much money, apart from the chance to savor poolside in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Well, rich people tend to have a soft spot for gold, so the world’s most expensive popsicle contains 24 carat gold and Tequilas Premium Clase Azul Ultra, a special brand of tequila which sells for $1,500 a bottle. The frozen treat is served poolside, on a classic plastic stick, with some gold chocolate coins. Although salt would have been much more appropriate for a tequila popsicle, this one contains sugar, to take the edge off.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth and real gold flakes don’t impress you enough to throw a whole grand on a popsicle, the guys at Marquis Los Cabos will gladly serve you a simple shot of Tequilas Premium Clase Azul Ultra for a mere $500.

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Czech Confectioners Make World’s Largest Easter Bunny Cake

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Four confectioners from the Czech Republic claim they’ve created the world’s largest Easter Bunny cake and hope to get a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

It’s not the cutest bunny I’ve seen this Easter but I’m sure it’s one of the most delicious. Confectioners at a cake-shop in Chomutov, the Czech Republic spent 48 hours preparing the sweet treat in time for Easter. Jarmilla Jonakova says they’ve used 770 eggs, 160 lbs of sponge cake, 120 lbs of cream, 44 lbs of jam, 40 lbs of marzipan to make the themed cake, then covered it all with a layer of chocolate. When it was finished, the big-eyed edible bunny weighed over 370 lbs and measured over 6 feet in length.

On Easter Day the chocolate bunny cake was sliced into pieces and handed over to people in the Czech town of Uherské Hradiště. Everybody loves cake, but some people were a little freaked out by the bunny’s appearance. “It might taste sweet, but you wouldn’t want to run into it in a dark alley” a customer of the cake-shop said. Freaky or not, this one-of-kind Easter cake is awaiting confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records, for the world’s largest Easter Bunny Cake.

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Chinese Beef Extract Turns Pork into Beef In Just 90 Minutes

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The Chinese department of industry and commerce has recently discovered a “beef extract” additive used by small restaurants around Hefei to turn pork into beef.

A lot of knock-offs have come out of China over the years, in fact they’ve probably made replicas of every successful product ever made. That’s not to say the Chinese don’t make original stuff as well, but their talent of replicating pretty much anything is legendary. That being said, I had never heard of Chinese food replicas until a few months ago, when I watched a news report about a guy making completely artificial eggs, using chemicals, right in his own home-made laboratory. Today, as I was surfing the interwebs, I came across and even stranger article about a “beef extract” additive that turns pork into beef, in just one and a half hours.

This “magical” product has apparently become very popular in small Chinese restaurants in Hefei, Fujian, Jianxi and other places around the country, especially since beef is twice as expensive as pork. A pound of beef is sold for around 20 yuan, whereas pork costs just 10 yuan, so some restaurant owners are inclined to buy a liter of beef extract for 45 yuan and use it to maximize profits.

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Cheese Shoes for Stinky Feet Fashionistas

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Lisa Dillon, a fashion student at the Bath Spa University has designed a delicious-looking pair of Jimmy Cheese shoes, made of cheese and bread.

The stinky footwear is part of an entire collection of cheese shoes and accessories commissioned by Pilgrims CHoice Cheddar and will be displayed during the 2011 Royal Bath & West Show, from 1 to 4 June at the Bath & West Showground at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. The event plans to promote the region’s delicious cheese.

For this particular pair of cheese shoes, Lisa Dillon used West Country cheddar and bread. A block of cheddar was sculpted to make the heels, and a stale cheese sandwich was used as part of the platform sole. The front of the shoe was also moulded from cheddar and more cheese was melted to create the embellished design.

While I’m sure not many models would wear Jimmy Cheese, for fear of stinky feet, they look like a nice breakfast treat to me.

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Chocolate Crack Pipes – A Sweet and Healthy Alternative to Tobacco

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An Austrian chocolatier has invented an ingenious type of inhaler that could help people give up smoking and leave a sweet taste in their mouths, at the same time.

Created by confectioner Rouven Haas, Chococaps inhalers are small crack pipes the size of  normal cigarettes, containing a concentrated cocoa powder that can be inhaled, for a quick chocolate fix. They don’t contain nicotine or any other substance found in tobacco cigarettes, but the simple act of inhaling could help smokers give up the dirty habit, without any side-effects. And if you’re worried about gaining weight, forget about it. According to manufacturers, Chococaps allows you to enjoy the taste of chocolate, without putting on the pounds, so this could be a viable alternative to chocolate addicts worried about their figure.

It sounds like a really cool and innovative product, but it’s actually being criticized by health campaigners like anti smoking expert Otto Brandli, who said “it is a dangerous product that can only encourage the smoking of cigarettes or worse. It is idiotic to encourage this sort of behaviour”.

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Girl Meets Bug – Where Insects Are the Main Course

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Daniella Martin is the host of a web-based show called Girl Meets Bug, which tries to show viewers just how eco-friendly it is for people to eat insects and worms.

Daniella’s fascination with eating bugs began 10 years ago, while she was doing anthropological work in Mexico. She discovered the Maya used to eat a variety of creepy crawlers, and while feasting on a small bag of chapulines (dry-roasted grasshoppers with lime and chili) in Oaxaca, she noticed street kids gathered around her table and started eating the bugs off the table. This inspired Daniella to dig deeper into the history of insect eating and upon conducting some research she found 80% of the world’s cultures eat bugs.

Ms Martin says “the day that I was introduced to edible insects changed everything” so she decided to become “an edible insect advocate.” She’s eaten dozens of insect varieties so far, and says each of them has its unique taste and texture, but has a long way to go if she wants to experience all the 1,500 types of edible insects currently known to man. “It’s just about culture, you know, thirty years ago, sushi was considered to be very strange…honestly, I think of it as a cultural matrix that’s in our minds and I don’t know what it’s going to take to change American minds,” Martin says about Americans fear of insects, and adds that all bug cuisine needs is good marketing.

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Virgin Eggs – A Chinese Delicacy Soaked in Boys’ Urine

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While anything boiled and soaked in boys’ urine doesn’t sound tasty at all, Virgin Eggs are considered a Spring delicacy, in China’s Zhejiang Province.

In most places, Spring is all about the smell of blooming flowers, but in Chinese cities like Dongyang, the streets reek of urine. No, the smell doesn’t come from drunk people reliving themselves in dark corners and back alleys, but from the large pots of Virgin Eggs. Called tongzi dan (literally “boy egg) they are an old culinary tradition listed as part of the Dongyong cultural heritage, similar to tea eggs – hard boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce and vinegar. The only difference is Virgin Eggs are soaked in urine.

Vendors collect virgin boys’ urine from elementary schools around the city and use it as a main ingredient for their unusual street food. Plastic barrels are placed outside the classrooms and boys are reminded to pee in them, unless they are sick.  The pee is then used to boil eggs, their shell cracked to allow the flavour to slip through, then soaked in urine and boiled again. The whole “cooking” process takes an entire day. I know it sounds disgusting, but some people say they “have the taste of Spring”, while others claim “they’re so delicious that I could eat 10 a day”.

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The Perfect Breakfast – World’s Tallest Pancake Stack

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In a bid to celebrate Pancake Day in a truly memorable fashion, the guys at Food Network UK built the tallest pancake stack ever.

Who doesn’t like pancakes? I must admit I’m a huge fan of the breakfast treat, and often lose count ‘when tackling s syrup-topped stack in the morning, but even I couldn’t hope to eat my way through the pancake skyscraper created by the staff of TV channel Food Network UK. It took 13 hours to create and required 253 eggs, 5 kilograms of flour and 15 liters of milk, but it was all worth it to celebrate Pancake Day. After cooking a whopping 725 pancakes, they somehow managed to stack them into a 32-inch-tall tower that set a new record for the world’s tallest pancake stack.

Nick Thorogood, of Food Network UK said: “One of the greatest aspects of British Food is its tradition and the celebration of events such as Pancake Day. We wanted to celebrate this year’s Pancake Day with something a little different and what better way than to create a giant stack of pancakes!” A fine and tasty choice indeed.

As you can imagine, the giant pancake tower ended up in the bellies of the TV channel bellies, by the end of the day.

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