On this week's episode of Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern headed to Arizona to explore some of the state's most unconventional eats. From fresh sheep's eyeballs with a Navajo family to fried bacon with gravy at the state fair, Arizona's options for unique culinary experiences are as vast as its landscapes.
Let's take a look at the more unusual things Andrew feasted on in Arizona in a little segment we call...
Warning: Some readers may find some of the following images and text upsetting or disturbing, so please proceed at your own risk.
1. COOKED SHEEP POO AND INTESTINESYes. You read that right. While enjoying a leisurely barbecue with a Navajo family in Monument Valley, Andrew actually ate sheep poo that was intentionally left inside animal's intestines.
I'll take "Things That Sound Like They'd Cause Severe Abdominal Distress" for $1,000 please, Alex!
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! When Andrew alerted the Navajo woman to the fact that there were pieces of feces in the intestines, she exclaimed, "It tastes better that way! It's saltier!"
Call me crazy, but when I want my food to taste salty, I ADD SALT.
Andrew, clearly a far braver soul than I, took a bite of the intestine and said it was "gamey, lamby, and fatty, with a salty grassy flavor." And there you have it: the only thing on the planet that sounds less appetizing to me than Rachael Ray's rouladen.
2. SHEEP EYEBALLSThis scene was particularly difficult to watch, because as Andrew stated, the eyeball was "still winking" moments before he "removed the eyelashes" and shoved it into his mouth. He had a hard time swallowing it, and described it as being slimy and gelatinous. Tell that to the adorable Navajo kids, who could be seen in the background popping eyeball bits into their mouths like Skittles. Mmm! Taste the rainbow!
3. MENUDONo, guys, he didn't eat the 80s boyband that introduced us to frizzy perms and Ricky Martin... but the Mexican soup made with hominy and tripe! Personally, I'm not sure what was more disturbing: the strand of intestine wrapped around the gigantic, rubbery ankle bone in the middle of the bowl, or the fact that Andrew referred to the dish as "gamey, rectal, stomach happiness."
Hi, Andrew, you have a collect call from "Ewwwwww." Will you accept the charges?
4. PACK RATNext, Andrew explored the desert with a survival expert to get a taste of what Arizona's earliest inhabitants lived on. They built several traps and eventually caught a pack rat, which they cooked over a fire along with a dead squirrel that the survival expert randomly had in his backpack.
Wait, let's back the bus up for a moment. Who keeps a dead squirrel in their backpack? I mean, seriously? That could have led to some really awkward scenarios:
PETA Member: "Excuse me, sir, do you happen to have any tissues?"
Survival Expert: "As a matter of fact, I do. They're in my backpack. Here, please help yourself."
PETA Member: "Thank you so much, I have bad allergies and OHMYGOD, A SQUIRREL, A DEAD SQUIRREL! What in the name of all that is good and holy!"
See? I told you! Awkward!
Luckily, before the segment ended, Andrew took the opportunity to share some very helpful advice:
Thanks, Andrew. May we all have to use that helpful little tip... NEVER.
5. MILITARY RATIONSNext, Andrew enjoyed some military rations with the fine folks at the Scottsdale Gun Club. Andrew often says the scariest foods are the ones that are man-made, and these MRE's (meals ready to eat) were no exception to that rule. They truly were like nothing you'd ever find in nature.
Andrew sampled a corn and clam chowder mixture, which unfortunately tasted and smelled like fish that had been rotting in the sun since the Reagan administration. He also tried what was supposed to be buffalo chicken and cheese on a cracker. It looked more like something you'd see oozing out of a prop nose on an episode of Double Dare, and judging by Andrew's facial expression after taking his first bite, it tasted just as bad. "If it wasn't my job to do this on TV, I'd spit it out. It's sour hot sauce flavored gasoline on cardboard," he said.
6. FRIED FOODS GALOREIn the next segment, Andrew found himself at the Arizona State Fair, which has been around since 1884 (five years before Arizona was even officially a state!) The fair boasts races, rides, more arm wrestling than in Sylvester Stallone's movie Over The Top, and of course, lots of food. Specifically, lots of fried food, including fried moon pies, fried peaches, and yes, even FRIED BACON. The fried bacon even comes with its own side of sausage gravy for dipping, just in case it wasn't heart-stopping enough on its own.
Andrew tried to give some of the fried bacon to a few kids standing nearby, but none of them would take it! They just stood there, wrinkling their noses up at it like Andrew was trying to give them DVD copies of Gigli. Jamie Oliver would have been so proud!
7. KOMBUCHAFinally, Andrew headed to Sedona to sample some kombucha, which is tea with bacteria cultures and yeast. The bacteria eats the tea, and produces the thick slimy GOOP (not to be confused with Gwyneth Paltrow's website) on the top of the jar. Andrew said it "smelled like something that died," but tasted like "sour apple juice." And you know what? I think I'll take his word for it! I prefer to not drink things that look like I collected them out of a pond when I was 7.
What did you think of this episode, Serious Eaters? Would you eat fried bacon or sheep poo... or is that just going too far?