This one is delightfully disgusting. Bog butter has been around for thousands of years, and we are still finding pots of the stuff now.
Bog butter was made from lard or cows milk, which was dried a bit, covered in salt, then wrapped in cloth and put into an airtight container, usually wood since plastic wasn’t readily available back in the 6th century. It would then be left covered up in a bog to ‘keep it fresh’
There’s debating theories as to why we keep finding pots of the stuff in bogs across Scotland & Ireland, some historians think bog butter was left as an offering to the gods, while others think it was purely to preserve the butter.
Last year in Ireland they found a lump of 2,000 year old bog butter, and apparently it’s still edible. Mmmmmm bog butter on toast. My fave.
This one many of us will have learnt about in school. Yup. Those adorable fluffy mices used to be a common delicacy during Roman Times and in the Middle Ages. They were stuffed with meat or minced dormouse. Can’t imagine you get much in one of those. And we imagine it looks like a roasted scrotum with a tiny nose and eyes.
Other delish dishes we got from the Romans included Garum, a fermented fish sauce made up of fish innards and blood with some herbs thrown in. Leave it in the sun for a few months then enjoy on everything from meat to puddings.
During the great depression of the 20’s people had to get creative, screw your all American apple pie and make do with VINEGAR PIE INSTEAD!
It was meant to be a super cheap way to create a sort of custardy, citrus pie taste. Apparently it tastes a bit like a sweet packet of salt and vinegar crisps. Basically you used vinegar with eggs, sugar, flour and water to make the custardy filling, because fruit, milk and cream was expensive and hard to come by.
It’s making a bit of a comeback in the US with some fancy pants restaurants putting vinegar pie back on the menu.
I think I’m good though thanks babes.
Fish Bladder Jelly
The Victorians used the bladder of a sturgeon fish to make a sweet dessert (vom) this was in the days before gelatine, so it was used to make jellies and blancmanges for all the posh people to show off their chef’s skills to all their mates.
Known more widely as isinglass it was also used as a type of glue and a way to preserve fresh eggs during the rationing era during the 40’s.
It’s also used in the beer fermenting method, apparently it accelerated the process of it turning from sludgey stuff and water into beer! WHO KNEW!
The Isinglass is supposed to have mostly gone by the time the beer is ready, but it still puts me off a pint though. Every time you enjoy a Guinness you’re drinking sweet, sweet fish bladder.
Just thinking about the stench of this one makes me want to bash my nose in with a hammer. This Chinese ‘delicacy’ was an egg from a duck, chicken or quail that was left in a mix of salt, lime, clay, ash and rice husks for weeks or even MONTHS.
The egg then goes a lovely black/green colour and the yolk turns into a black jelly that smells like Satan’s bum hole (probably)
This method dates back nearly 600 years. People have been eating this for 600 years.
So there you have it, some of the most chunderingly bad dishes human being ate during the course of history. Which one would you try for a dare?
Sara Westrop is passionate about making history accessible (and fun!) for everyone. A disabled, queer writer from just outside London, who loves writing about the unsung chapters of history.