Pepquinos – The World’s Smallest Watermelons

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As consumers turn to micro-products, the “mini” trend seems to affect all areas of our lives. We keep seeing ever-smaller telephones, computers, cars, and apparently fruits are no exception.

While they might look genetically-engineered, Pepquinos come from an ancient wild plant in South America, and are 100% natural. They are just 3-cm-long and 2 cm in diameter, but apart from their size, they look just like regular watermelons. But only on the outside, because once sliced, the juicy green flesh of a cucumber is revealed. They also have the crisp fresh taste of cucumbers and usually served in luxury restaurants, as appetizers, in summer salads, stir fried and even as a sorbet.

The rare Pepquinos were discovered and brought to Europe in 1987, by a Dutch company that later began producing them and selling seeds. They’ve only recently started cultivating them in the US and Asia, but their popularity in foodie communities is growing rapidly. The growth cycle of the Pepquinos plant is between 60 and 85 days, and a single string yields 60 to 100 fruit.

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German Inventor Makes the Tastiest Music Records

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Peter Lardong, from Berlin, Germany, was the first man to produce a playable chocolate record that could be listened to and eaten once you got bored with it.

67-year-old Lardong invented his world famous chocolate records after he was fired from a local brewery. He tried using cheese, butter, beer, cola and sausages as materials for his unusual records, but none of them worked very well, but chocolate was a whole other matter. He uses cocoa, cocoa butter and lecithin to make his special chocolate, heats it in on the stove and pours it in specially made silicone molds. Once the disk is hard enough to be played, you can play it up to twelve times, and then it. I’m not sure you’ll be able to use the record player’s stylus after playing a chocolate record, but hey, at least you’ll have listened to the sweetest music on Earth.

Apparently, the chocolate record isn’t the only brilliant thing Peter Lardong has invented, in fact he’s been a regular at Berlin’s Patent Office for the last 30 years.

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Giant Hamburger Sets New World Record

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The last “world’s largest hamburger” weighed a massive 590 pounds, but that didn’t stop Brett Enright from blowing it right out of the water with an even bigger calorie bomb.

Enright, CEO of Juicys traveling barbecue catering service, first thought about attempting to make the world’s largest hamburger last December, while on vacation. He looked up the Guinness Record for the world’s biggest burger, and after a talk with Nick Nicora, co-owner of Ovation Food Services, he decided to try and beat it, at this year’s Alameda County Fair.

On July 2, at 5 am, Brett and his helpers started working on their fast-food monster, by preparing 600 pounds of meat, which they expected would shrink to 400 pounds, after cooking. Then they molded 340 pounds of dough into two buns, which after baking were covered with 50 pounds of cheese, 20 pounds of onions, 30 pounds of lettuce, 13 pounds of pickles and 20 pounds of mustard and ketchup (10 of each). The burger itself was cooked on a giant, mobile barbecue called The Outlaw Grill. This mean contraption spends most of the year on the road, traveling from NASCAR events to concerts and fairs, cooking up a storm wherever it goes. This huge burger was its biggest challenge yet.

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Phydough – An Ice-Cream Truck for Dogs

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It may not be the first of its kind in the world, but it is the first ice-cream truck for dogs in America, and pooches in the L.A. area have already grown to love it.

Patrick Guilfoyle, the man behind Phydough, came up with the idea of an ice-cream truck for dogs after seeing most dog-food manufacturers thought more about profit than the dogs eating their products. He wanted to bake wholesome, preservative-free cookies for dogs, and by combining his wish with the popular “gourmet truck” trend that’s sweeping the nation, he came up with Phydough – an ice-cream truck offering all kinds of delicious cookies and ice-cream for pooches.

According to the official site, Phydough uses only the finest organic ingredients bought from quality grocers like Whole Foods and local farmers’ markets, so while prices may seem a bit steep, you can rest assured your puppy is eating healthy. A scoop of ice-cream costs around $2.50, and you’ll have to spend $16 for 12 flavored cookies, but your dog will love you more for it.

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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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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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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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Maine Chefs Make World’s Largest Whoopie Pie

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In an attempt to raise money for charity and claim the title for the world’s largest whoopie pie, a team of Maine confectioners have created a frosted dessert weighing over 1,000 pounds.

They say the Amish invented the simple but delicious whoopie pie, but that didn’t stop the state of Maine from trying to claim it as its official dessert. Back in September 2010, at the annual festival of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania confectioners made a 250 pound whoopie pie, but that record was practically pulverized last Saturday, when Maine managed to top it with their own giant whoopie treat, weighing 1,062 pounds.

Local pie makers Wicked Whoopies provided the necessary ingredients for creating the giant calorie bomb, and assembly began around 8 am. After hours of work, which included lifting the baked top and bottom with a forklift, the drooling crowd gathered in front of Coast 93.1 radio station could finally stuff their face with frosted goodness. The event was also used as an opportunity to raise money for Maine troops serving abroad, so whoever wanted a slice of the world’s largest whoopie pie had to make a small donation. The raised funds will be used by Wicked Whoopies to pay shipping costs for the whoopie pies they plan to send to soldiers serving far from home.

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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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