In my childhood, I was really good friend with vegetables. Spinach? Yumm! It did help, that my grandmother was an excellent cook. However, there was one dish, combining elements that individually I did like but together, they were the devil and it almost ruined my grandmother's culinary credibility in my eyes. I mean, what sick and twisted mind would come up with the recipe for lettuce soup??! And, by the way, it does look like sick, as well.
I won't perpetuate this monstrosity by repeating the recipe here but some of the ingredients were lettuce (cooked!!), milk and vinegar. Together.
Lettuce soup is right up there with other "interesting" foods, such as...
-- Stinky to-fu, beloved by quite a few of my Chinese friends. There even used to be a stinky tofu restaurant in the famed Barber Lane plaza (99 Ranch Milpitas).
-- Stinky cheese, such as blue cheese, Limburger, and more. I didn't like these when young, but now I do.
-- Durian: smells like hell, tastes like heaven. Not my favorite, but it does taste (kind of custard-y) much better than it smells.
Other food notes:
--Goat and sheep cheese (such as Manchego), yumm! Of course, for names, it's hard to beat Tetilla ("tit") cheese from Galicia in Spain -- it's a mild cheese that looks like its namesake.
--One of the more interesting appetizers I've had is prosciutto ham with melon (at a Italian restaurant in Bangkok); it actually tasted pretty good.
--A lot of Mexican restaurants around here have fried ice cream as a desert, but I've never tried it.
--And of course, every culture has its "odd" foods, like pig's ears (Chinese, can be pretty good - crunchy and spicy), blood sausages, head cheese, and scrapple (a Philly breakfast sausage made from leftover pig parts, often eaten with sweet syrup).
--Sausages really do come in a wide variety of shapes & sizes. OK, in the US, they pretty much all look the same (unlike Europe; my German cookbook shows an incredible array of shapes -- hmmm, haven't been to the local German deli in too long, should see what they have), but at least around here I can get some pretty hot sausages.
@Ewertz...stinky cheese.....I once visited a friend of mine in Johannesburg and bought some Esrom cheese. This is a Danish cheese that smells like old socks but tastes delicious. I had a bit and kept it in his fridge...or should I say their fridge - it was a share house with about 5 occupants. Alas - I forgot to take it with me when I left. Over the succeeding weeks it stank more and more,, but no one did anything about it because they all thought it was someone else's. When it finally got too much and someone asked around, and found out no-one owned up to owning it, they chucked it out. When I next visited, I innocently asked "Did someone enjoy my cheese that I forgot to take?" Five pairs of eyes turned on me. "IT WAS YOURS!!!" Things were a little frosty but fortunately they all had a sense of humor....
Surprised the subject of "stinky tofu" (especially steamed vs. fried) hasn't come up. If you're Chinese, you know what I'm talking about. If you're not, you probably don't want to know. Let it suffice to say that it's something that you can smell from city blocks away, and whether or not this is a good thing or a very, very, very bad thing is 100% dependent upon how you feel about eating it. There's not much middle ground on this one.
In a western dictionary, see also "stinky cheese".
Two general rules of thumb come immediately to mind. The first is that warning bells start to go off with me when "British" and "food" get used in the same sentence (see also, "haggis"). With only a few exceptions, the words that follow need to be closely scrutinized when constructing a culinarily correct sentence.
The second rule is that the bar is pretty low in the US, as many things qualify as food in the US as long as it can be served in sufficient quantity to fill an American-sized stomach. If it's corporate-branded, better yet!
Not sure at all why Coke+ice_cream sounds unappetizing -- its sibling is the root beer float which is root beer and vanilla ice cream. Substituting Coke for root beer is a relatively small departure from this.
Now I'd understand one's reservations if the ice cream chosen to float is arbitrary. No flavors besides (optionally, french) vanilla sounds particularly good to me at first thought. But to diss vanilla ice cream applied to many soda types discounts a pretty large class of widely accepted and popular outcomes.
Once it devolves into its "melty" state, it heads towards becoming a "cream soda", another popular-enough end-product. At that point it's just a matter of where your gag-reflex kicks in w.r.t. sweetness -- the younger you are, that threshold probably goes up exponentially.
I did try bacon and banana once and while it wasn't bad, I wouldn't go out of my way for it. I never heard of sardines and condensed milk...yuck! But bunny chow...now you're making me hungry......
And you have not even touched on those Rhodies / SA staples, biltong and boerewors. Biltong, for those not from the same obscure origins as Antedeluvian and I. is like beef jerky but spicier. With chillies it is known as chilli bites and boy are those nice. Boerewors (literally "farmer's sausage" is like sausages but again spicier, and recipies for good boerewors spice are closely guarded secrets. It comes as one long coil a couple of feet long, and that's how you cook it on a braai (barbeque). Now I am making myself hungry.....
@antedeluvian Wow, thanks for the primer in Rhodesian delicacies! I can't really cast aspersions on your dietary pleasures as when I was a kid I used to love a sandwich consisting of peanut butter, mayo, and lettuce! Granted a notch or two above sardines and condensed milk, but barely. :-)
Dion't knock until you've tried it. But surely you know it as a coke float. There were high brows amongst us Rhodesians who maintained that coke with ice cream was a coke float and that a brown cow was coke with milk. Searching the 'net, I see that brown cow now has Khalua implications and there were times that a brown cow combined ice cream and root beer (unknown in Rhodesia) whilst black cow used coke.
As to other South African delectables that may give you pause:
Bunny Chow: a hollowed out loaf of bread (only van would have it sliced) filled with curried vegetables/meat
and my personal favourite (to churn my stomach): sardines and condensed milk. Condensed milk is pretty much diabetes in a can and the salt of the sardines is supposed to enhance the sweetness, if that were possible.