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Root Beer Among World's Most 'Disgusting' Foods

Or so says museum founder Samuel West
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2018 7:20 PM CDT
Updated Oct 20, 2018 7:30 AM CDT
In this file photo, Samuel West, curator of the Museum of Failure, holds a bottle of Heinz ‘Green Sauce’ tomato ketchup at the Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden.   (AP Photo/James Brooks)
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(Newser) – Feel like being ill? You could always visit the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmo, Sweden. Opening later this month, it will display 80 "disgusting" foods from around the world like Japanese cod sperm, Mexican tree-ant larvae, Chinese mouse wine—and classic American fare like Twinkies and root beer, the Washington Post reports. "If you give root beer to a European, they're gonna spit it out and say 'This tastes like toothpaste, it's disgusting,'" says museum founder Samuel West, known for his Museum of Failure. "I want people to question what they find disgusting and realize that disgust is always in the eye of the beholder." Even rotting food like fermented shark meat from Iceland can appeal to the right person, he points out. Which raises the question: Why do we feel disgust?

"The original evolutionary function of disgust is to protect us from dangerous, toxic foods, but disgust becomes so much bigger than that," he tells Vox. Indeed, some visitors may be grossed out by foie gras—which requires ducks to be force-fed until their livers are vastly swollen—for purely moral reasons. Others might reconsider their diet of environmentally unsustainable meat, says West, though he's neither vegan nor vegetarian himself. Either way, people can smell, taste, and occasionally touch the museum's food, per the Local. But beware balut, the boiled Philippine dish that includes a partly developed duck fetus and amniotic fluid. West tried it: "I vomited," he says. The museum will run from October 31 to the end of January. (Elsewhere in Sweden, a girl found an ancient sword in a lake.)

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