5 Everyday Foods That Are Disgusting Behind The Scenes
It's a known fact that the process of manufacturing hot dogs involves taking a pound of chicken buttholes and massaging a fistful of salt, breadcrumbs, and butter into them until they rest in the shape of a dong. It's terrifyingly delicious. Sausages are the same, but you need to force it into a meat condom at the end. Or whatever it's called. I dunno, the Food Network won't give me a show. Anyway, tubular meats aren't the only things with a horrifying origin story. We Freddy Krueger all sorts of stuff into existence. For example ...
Olive Loaf Is An Abomination
If you've never experienced the curious sensation of olive loaf, man are you missing out. It's like someone said, "Hey, you know what would be tasty? If I puked olives into liquid bologna!" And then they did. They so did. Here, take this image to your grave:
If you can't tell by looking, this is a slurry of olives, pickles, pimentos, salt, seasoning, and what the video alleges is fresh beef and pork. Keep in mind, even a scrotum torn off in a fence-climbing accident is technically still fresh if you put it in your mouth within 30 minutes. That's seven ingredients to create pigment-free cave dysentery. This is like the haunted remains of 100 prison lavatories that we agreed, as a society, to put on sandwiches with yellow mustard. That's amazing. Here's how it lurches to life before slouching into your grocery store.
I have no evidence for this, but I bet this has been used in a porno somewhere. Anyway, they put roughly 100 of these monster loaves into a smoker oven and bake them until they are turgid. This is likely the same process by which you get mac and cheese loaf, pizza loaf, loaf loaf, and terror loaf.
It stands to reason that people actually are eating this, because where the hell does it all go? You can't just keep mass-producing a product if no one is paying for it. But that's a mystery for another article I'm working on with Ronan Farrow. For now, trust that this product is the loaf equivalent of 2012 Nickelback. Everyone claimed to find it objectionable, but it still clearly had a long, successful career.
Worcestershire Sauce Is Made With Fermented Anchovies
I was pretty stoked the day I learned how to properly pronounce "Worcestershire," because I don't have a lot going for me. When I was a kid, my mom would slather some of this sauce on a steak with a shit-ton of garlic powder and then grill the poor bastard into oblivion. For much of my life, this tiny bottle of sauce has meant steak to me. And now I know how it's made and I feel bad for my youth.
So what makes an umami bomb brown sauce? Garlic, onion, anchovy, and tamarind paste. You'll notice that one of those things is not like the others. Turns out that meaty flavor comes from straight up old-as-shit fish carcasses. They barrel-age the little fish for three years under salt, the result of which is this:
As the video points out, the salt doesn't allow bacteria to grow, but nonetheless, a barrel of three-year-old fish still stinks like the blighted, briny soul of Cthulhu. One of the workers does use the word "stench" to describe it, which you always want to hear from the guy producing your food. That there's stench, but hey, you get used to it. Like a drip in the ceiling or that carbuncle on your inner thigh. No big deal.
The stench-fish gets mixed with onions and garlic that have been soaking in vinegar for a year, and then with spices, and then it sits around for another year. Who the hell invented this recipe, and how did they come across several years of fermentation and fish so rotted that even bacteria refused to set in? Lea and/or Perrin being industrious, I suppose.
Making Gelatin Involves A "Bone Chute"
I used to go camping a lot as a kid, and every year at the campgrounds, there would be at least one big potluck dinner. Inevitably, every year, one person would make the abomination known as ambrosia salad. Ambrosia, from the Latin "ambrosis," meaning "the mucous membrane of an Oompa Loompa." This preposterous sugary concoction was fruit, marshmallows, whipped cream, and Jell-O. And Jell-O, as we all know, is what happens when a serial killer becomes an Iron Chef.
As the savvy among us know, the key to making gelatin is bones, and lots of 'em. At Eastman Gelatin, when they're not making cameras, they're taking train cars full of 200,000 pounds of cow bones that come from 41,000 different cows who gave their life for your dessert. This is what that looks like:
That's just bone chips. An endless fountain of bone chips, the result of thousands of exploded cows. Now sure, if you're not a vegan, the idea of eating animal byproducts shouldn't bother you in any way. But it's a staggering visual regardless of what you like to eat -- seeing bone flow like water into a vat as 100 tons of cow skeleton is shuttled past you. We all know grandma is going to die one day, but watching a factory blow grandma and the rest of her retirement home down a chute into a bucket would give anyone pause.
Bone chips do not a Jell-O dessert make, however, so there's another step in the process, and that's acid. Bathe that shit in hydrochloric acid. You know, the same stuff that's in your stomach! It strips the minerals and leaves the gooey protein behind so you can cook it in hot water and then extrude some tapeworm-looking chicanery like this:
That's essentially gelatin noodles. Those will be cooked dry and then ground into a powder, and then that's it. Add some sugar and flavoring, and you got yourself lime Jell-O, baby. You know how when you cook a roast, the juice in the pan solidifies into meat Jell-O as you let it cool down? Same concept. You're extracting some of that tasty collagen protein, which is what they derive the gelatin from. Are we saying you should embed pineapple chunks in your pan drippings and then have yourself a summer treat? Of course not, but please let me know how it turned out.
Making Apple Cider Looks Like Tree Diarrhea
Apple cider seems like it should have a relatively pain-free and simple method of production. You crush some apples and then engage in some black magic that prevents it from just being apple juice, and voila, you got some cider. It literally has one ingredient, as far as I know. And yet when you see how apple cider is made, it really resembles what I imagine will happen the first time a sentient robot develops stomach flu.
How is that the process for making tasty, natural un-juice? Should this image ever be included alongside something you imagine to be as wholesome as apple cider? It seems to be a three-part process that starts with the diarrhea sprayer:
Then there's the diarrhea scraper:
And then the one the kids all love, the diarrhea tumbler:
Listen, I'm not a child. I know that this is apple mash. I know apples oxidize and turn brown. I just don't ever want to see it, because you're telling me that the cider I'm drinking is liquid someone squeezed out of this mulch, and that makes me think of Bear Grylls squeezing water out of an elephant turd.
For what it's worth, if you've ever wondered why cider and juice are two different things, the key is essentially laziness. Juice often gets filtered to remove all the solids, and they also pasteurize it so it'll stay fresh longer. That's "often" because it doesn't have to happen. This article actually mentions how one company sells both cider and juice, and the difference is that one label says "cider" and the other says "juice," and nothing else. So both of them could be the byproduct of the apple dysentery system, you don't know.
"Milking Caviar" Looks Like Fish Porn
Caviar is how fancy people say "fish eggs," so you know this one is going to be weird and off-putting. Do fish lay eggs in little seaweed nests like aquatic chickens for scuba divers to pluck and put in a 12-part carton? Do the caviar farmers of the world just show up and scoop out a bucketful of the sludge, and then pick out all the brine shrimp and discarded bits of plastic before putting the eggs on crackers and charging you $50? Nope, it's weirder and more off-putting. You know this.
They call this slow jam "caviar milking," and it's what happens when one man with a speculum and another man skilled in shiatsu get together to trick you out of your precious ovum. Also, in this equation, you're a sturgeon. This looks like a scene from a movie that the Soska sisters might direct, some kind of Cronenbergian homage to the bad things people do to each other. But again, it's a fish. Here's a closer look if it got your mouth watering.
Isn't that something? Isn't. That. Something.
The video this comes from tells us that 200 tons of caviar is harvested in Russia every year, which means a hell of a lot of fish are taking this wild ride. Imagine waking up one morning and this is what's in store for you. A couple of dudes in budget hazmat suits take you out of your home into a not-so-sterile room on a gurney, where one dude opens your escape hatch and another guy just mood musics your insides into a bucket while you try not to make eye contact with anyone. Then they drop you off at home again and wait a few months before repeating the process. You would tell no one, and you can bet not a single one of these fish do, either.
So what's the motivation behind all this? The minimum price, per kilogram, of this ill-gotten brew is $1,000. What's the maximum? That's a good question. Why is there a difference? Does it matter which worker squeezed it out? Does Gary have the softest hands and produce the tastiest batches? I don't know. In any event, that works out to about $1 million for a ton of this stuff, and if they're making 200 tons a year, suddenly being the guy who violates a fish doesn't seem so bad anymore.
For more, check out 6 Ways The Food Industry Tricks You Into Eating Garbage - The Spit Take:
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