With a pair of chopsticks, a dead cricket is picked out of a bowl full of crickets to eat
Unusual, dangerous or bad for you — your propane colleagues share their most daring food choices

Some found this question challenging yet scoured their memories for stories to share. Enjoy the read — there is risky food in all corners of the globe. In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

We Dare!

Goat. My in-laws hosted our wedding reception and they served goat head. While it is not dangerous or bad for me, it was unusual.

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California


In most countries around the world, eggs are not refrigerated. The FDA requires eggs to be refrigerated in the United States due to the washing process that weakens the shell. While walking on the dirt streets of Isla Mujeres in Mexico, we stumbled across stacks of fresh eggs sitting out in the open.

Very American and surprised to see eggs out of the fridge, we decided to purchase a couple dozen to cook breakfast for the house the following morning. After some liquid courage later that evening, I was convinced to crack open one of the raw street eggs and slurp it down. That was one of the riskiest foods I have ever eaten.

Barrett Conway
Cetane Associates
Washington, D.C.

When I was newly walking, my mom documented in my baby book, “Lauren ate cat food yesterday ... and again today.” This must be the most unusual thing I have ever eaten.

Lauren Clark
Toledo, Ohio

Many years ago, I cooked some chicken for my wife, Karen, and myself, but apparently not well enough. Unfortunately, she wound up in bed for the remainder of that evening and part of the following day. She did basically all the cooking in our house, and since I was not feeling any ill effects myself, I was suspected of having nefarious intent when I offered to cook for her that day. So, the next meal she cooked for us was certainly the riskiest meal I’ve ever eaten.

Bruce Swiecicki
National Propane Gas Association
Tinley Park, Illinois

When I was 15, I went to an evening open house at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) with my best friend, Janice. One of the exhibits had a large gathering of people huddled around and the sound of laughter as well as groans caught our attention.

Pushing our way to the front, we found a large glass bowl filled with … bugs. And we learned that if we ate a bug, we could get a pin saying, “I ate a bug at the ROM.” That sounded like a good deal to us, so we did!

Leslie Woodward
Fairview Fittings
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

About 40 years ago, we noticed an appetizer on a restaurant menu called calamari. We had never heard of it before and asked the waitress what it was. Rather than tell us it was squid, she asked if we were feeling adventurous. We decided to give it a try and thought it was good! Since that time, we have found there is a lot of seafood out there besides fish sticks and enjoy trying a variety of new foods!

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

I remember one of the most miserable experiences of my entire life that happened in the late 1990s. One afternoon, I went out with an account manager and his customer to the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, New York, to try their “Best Wings in the World.” Not knowing much about sauces, I left it to the locals to select.

After trying several different kinds, I chose to dip my chicken wing in a sauce called “Suicidal.” My initial reaction was, “Oh my God.” I swallowed actual flames, it was so hot. Yes, I had tried the most extreme heat sauce available. I broke into immediate sweats, started gagging and witnessed a level of discomfort I still cannot accurately describe today.

I sprinted to the bathroom and immediately tried flushing my mouth with cold water for at least 10 minutes. When I came out, I was given an obligatory T-shirt by the owner, and the whole restaurant was laughing.

I guess that could qualify as unusual, risky or dangerous, but in retrospect, it was stupid. A valuable lesson was learned for sure.

Jerry Schimmel
P3 Propane Safety
Cumberland, Rhode Island

In my travels over the years, I have tried many different foods. One of the more memorable moments was when I visited a restaurant in New Orleans that my nephew, Nate, opened for Aaron Sanchez and John Besh called Johnny Sanchez. I was treated to new items on the menu that included roasted crickets. I was apprehensive but they tasted great!

Another time, I visited my daughter in Seoul, South Korea. We had some raw fish and live shrimp and sea urchin. I had kimchi and soup with unknown seafood. Again, it tasted awesome.

However, the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten was scrapple in Pennsylvania. I think it was made from all the scraps of meat, bones and skin from whatever was butchered that day. Always willing to try things once. Some I will never try again!

Ed Varney
Top Line Management LLC
McKinney, Texas

Dare You?

This month’s question for me was a tie. With all the traveling that we do, I have come across some ... let’s call them interesting food choices. The two riskiest choices that I’ve made were these. First off was coffee at a Pennsylvania rest area. That stuff was so horrible, I believe it was sitting in the machine for years. The second food item was a hamburger at a little mom and pop gas station in West Virginia. It seemed risky, but I was hungry. Turns out, it was actually one of the better burgers I’ve ever had.

Jon Shepard
VK Inspections LLC
Mercer, Pennsylvania

In the Marine Corps, I ate sea rations (now replaced by MREs) from time to time depending on what sort of duty I had at the time. They were never good, maybe unusual, but not dangerous or necessarily bad for you. I might be bit of a picky eater, so anything unusual or dangerous is out of the question to start with for me.

I do, however, seem to like a lot of things that are bad for me, like pizza, hamburgers, French fries and caffeine. Thankfully, I never have had a sweet tooth!

Boyd H. McGathey
Energy Distribution Partners
Parkville, Missouri

I will tell you I am not a risk taker or adventurous when it comes to food, but being a severe “carb-aholic,” I seem to lose any sense of control when it comes to bread and pasta, thereby causing a gluttonous dining experience.

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas
Proctor, Vermont

I will admit that I’m not the most daring person in the food category! My rule is that I will try a bite of anything once. My family loves sushi rolls, and I just can’t manage to get those down, so you now see where my limits are. One of my favorite tours to book when I’m in a new area is a local food tour! This allows me to learn a little history about the area and try new dishes.

Tonya Crow
Bloomington, Illinois

I’ll eat just about anything that’s offered up. If there is something on the menu that I’ve never had before, then it’s likely that I’m going to order it. I haven’t had one specific meal that was really bad for me, but there is one thing that is really bad for me, and unfortunately, I eat it almost every day. I’m addicted to it like many other Americans: sugar. I am a former smoker, and I honestly believe that it was easier to quit smoking than it is to give up sugar. Sometimes I can go for a week or two without it, but sooner or later the cravings always get the better of me.

Jason Soulon
Westmor Industries
Shawnee, Kansas

I absolutely love Twizzlers. I think it’s fair to say that they fall under all three categories of being unusual, dangerous and bad for me. They are full of corn syrup and Red Dye 40; however, I cannot watch a movie in a theatre without them!

Jessica Johnson
Asheville, North Carolina


Is there a lesson in here or just the fun of sharing oddball food adventures? For this month’s column, let’s roll with the entertainment aspect. May your next meal be delicious, safely prepared and not wind up in a future issue of BPN.

Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She is director of marketing at the M&A advisory firm Cetane Associates. Contact her at ncoop@cetane.net.


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