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On Eat What You Want Day, try something new like tuna eyeballs and wasp crackers

UPDATED: Tue., May 24, 2022

By Marylou Tousignant Special to the Washington Post

May 11 was and is National Eat What You Want Day. For adults, that means not worrying about their diets for 24 hours. That was the intent of the people who came up with the idea.

But for kids, it’s an excuse to talk their parents into having pizza for breakfast, ice cream for lunch and (name your favorite) candy for dinner.

It’s easy to think of foods you love and want to eat. We decided to tinker with the idea and tell you about 10 unusual dishes from around the world that you may never have heard of. We’re calling it International Give It a Try Day.

1. Tuna eyeballs

They sound nasty, but if you like the taste of squid and octopus (and who doesn’t?), this Japanese delicacy that’s the size of a tennis ball is mouthwatering. Just don’t look at it too closely.

2. Wasp crackers

Also from Japan. Think of crisp chocolate chip cookies but with wasps instead of the chocolate chips. The Japanese like using digger wasps, but we think any wasp will do.

3. Welsh rabbit

Oddly, there is no rabbit in this dish (also known as Welsh rarebit). It’s melted cheese on toast or crackers. Legend says the English named it to poke fun at their poor Welsh neighbors who could not afford to eat meat.

4. Scotch woodcock

The English get credit for this name, too, a dig at their Scottish neighbors. Woodcocks are game birds, but there are none to be found in this tasty dish of buttered toast topped with anchovy paste and scrambled eggs.

5. Escamoles

This Mexican treat, called “insect caviar,” is the larvae and pupae of ants taken from mescal plants. The Aztecs feasted on this until disease wiped out their empire in the 1500s. So far as we know, insect caviar was not to blame.

6. Marmite

This thick paste, made from the yeast left after brewing beer, is a vitamin-rich spread popular in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. But when Paddington Bear appeared in a TV ad for marmite a few years ago, fans were outraged, thinking he no longer wanted sandwiches made with marmalade. Not so, his creator assured them.

7. Deep-fried butter balls

County fair lovers in the U.S. know that almost any food can be deep-fried. But butter balls? The recipe is simple: Take a scoop of fat (butter) and drop it into a deep fryer. The nutrition value is zero, but the taste is off the charts.

8. Coconut worms

Grilled, pickled, boiled or roasted, coconut worms are popular in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. They can be served with rice, fried and eaten with vegetables or made into porridge. Because of the damage the worms do to coconut trees, however, officials have clamped down on harvesting and breeding them.

9. Escargot

Escargot is the French word for snail. Not all land snails make good escargot, but those that do are served in French restaurants worldwide throughout Europe and in North Africa and India. Scientists have found evidence that prehistoric people in the Mediterranean region dined on snails.

10. Spam

Jokingly called “mystery meat,” this U.S.-made pork product turns 85 years old this year. A hit with troops in World War II, Spam became even more popular after the war. It is now sold in 44 countries and has its own museum in Austin, Minn., where Hormel Foods cranks out 44,000 cans of Spam every hour.

So that’s our list for International Give It a Try Day. Do you feel inspired to be more adventurous with what’s on your dinner plate? If so, ask Mom or Dad to make you some wasp crackers.

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