Not to yuck anyone else’s yum, but like …
What makes a dish disgusting? That’s the question (as one might expect) at the core of The Museum of Disgusting Food. The museum, which just made its debut in the Swedish city of Malmö, features 80 foods come from all around the world including such exhibits as stinky tofu from China, hákarl (fermented shark) from Iceland, and casu marzu (cheese that’s been infested with maggots) from Sardinia. The museum also includes American delicacies like root beer and Twinkies. And if you find yourself thinking “Hey, what’s so gross about root beer?” you’ve located the museum’s main point.
What we do or do not find unpalatable is entirely cultural and hopefully, by exposing ourselves to a diverse array of offerings, we might find ourselves more open to chowing down on some fermented herring or some fried tarantula.
If you’re interested in putting your stomach to the test, the museum offers the “Taste one for the Team” experience. A team activity wherein you can challenge your friends to sample some of the museums offerings. Whether or not everyone stays friends afterwards is another question entirely.
But the Museum of Disgusting Food is far from the first museum that’s challenged its visitors’ taste buds. These six other museums
International Vinegar Museum
While a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar is great on a salad, if a condiment can double as a cleaning agent it doesn’t exactly inspire cravings. But the good people at the International Vinegar Museum in Roslyn, South Dakota believe that by the end of your visit your love of vinegar will be so vigorous you’ll be using it as a topping on your ice cream. Visitors can take a tour, watch a cooking demonstration, and every June they hold the Vinegar Festival featuring a parade, vinegar tasting, and the Vinegar Queen contest.
German Additives Museum
You might not feel repulsed while visiting the German Additives Museum in Hamburg, but your appetite might not be what it used to be when you go grocery shopping after and find that you’re unable to stop fixating on all the lies that stock the shelves. Is this real salami smell or is this perfume? What is the truth?
Visitors can simulate their shopping experience by collecting various product dummies and ringing them up on a scanner which then prints out a custom “receipt” that informs you what additives are in your groceries.
The Burnt Food Museum
The curators of the Burnt Food Museum are clearly strong believers in that old adage “if life hands you lemon, make lemonade.” Although, if you’d like to have your work featured at the museum you might want to consider frying up those lemons until they’re black and crispy. The story of the museum begins one night in the light 1980s when its founder, Deborah Henson-Conant, left a pot of hot apple cider on the stove only to return from her phone call to find her cider had burned to a solidified crisp and lo the museum’s first exhibit (entitled “Free Standing Apple Cider”) was born. (Note that this Boston area museum is only public on rare occasions.)
The Big Mac Museum
In 1967, a McDonald’s franchise owner in western Pennsylvania served up the world’s first ever Big Mac. Forty years, the Big Mac Museum Restaurant opened its doors in order to pay homage to that most quintessential of fast food menu items. If you are a devotee (or merely fear its power) head to North Huntington, PA where you can worship (or cower) at the foot of its 14-foot-tall, 12-foot-in-diameter Big Mac statue.
Jell-O Gallery Museum
If it’s not Halloween there’s no reason for “bones” and “dessert” to be in such close proximity with the other. But since its creation in the late 19th century Jell-O has remained popular. So popular in fact you can visit the Jell-O Gallery Museum in LeRoy, New York (the birthplace of this gelatin-based confection).
Pioneer Heritage Museum
The Pioneer Heritage Museum in Hurricane, UT isn’t a food museum per se but it does get an honorable mention for its unusual epicurean exhibits. The first is a century-old piece of wedding cake and the second a slab of bacon from 1945.