Obscure Tastes to Whet Your Travel Appetite
Newsweek|October 15, 2021
From the pages of the upcoming Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide (Workman, October), find wonder and be inspired by foods and eating traditions from around the world. From an orange matchmaking festival in Malaysia to a bachelor’s stew prepared in a bathhouse in Morocco to the jiggly Jell-O salads of the Midwest, here are some of authors Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras’ favorite culinary experiences from the collection.

01 Instant Salads of the Midwest

MINNESOTA

In the American heartland, the term salad adheres to regional vernacular and often has nothing to do with vegetables. One example, Jell-O Salad rose to prominence as an easy, affordable way for housewives to prepare something new and stylish. Using a packet of instant gelatin, these molded salads could contain almost anything, sweet or savory.

02 Beefy Handwarmers

NEBRASKA

Members of the Russian-German community opened small shops dedicated to these handheld, spiced meat pockets, which grew so popular that they spawned a chain. The first runza store opened in 1949. Today, there are about 85. Locals eat runzas regularly, but they are especially abundant at football games, where they’re used as edible hand warmers.

03 Cinnamon-Flavored Bugs

TAXCO, MEXICO

Harvested from their mountain homes, these ancient stink bugs— jumiles—are commonly doused with lime, wrapped in tortillas and consumed while the bug still has full capacity of its scuttling legs. An annual Jumil Day honoring them takes place on the Monday after the Day of the Dead because many locals believe the insects are the reincarnation of their ancestors.

04 Acadian Gathering Pie

SAULNIERVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA

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