They’re a lot of weird people in Arizona, I can attest to that fact and I’m probably one of them. However, even the recent controversy involving an Arizona restaurant which put “lion’s meat” in their hamburgers, is enough to turn my stomach. The restaurant owner wanted to get some promotion for his restaurant and decided to sell hamburgers with Lions mean mixed and let them as part of the celebration for the World Cup which is being held in South Africa.
The butcher that sold the lion’s meat is based near Chicago and also sells “camel cutlets.” As it turns out lion’s meat is actually legal to eat as lions aren’t considered an endangered species. Listed below are some popular bizarre foods (at least to some of the rest of the country) that connoisseurs in Arizona eat, (and unlike my usual top ten lists this one isn’t made up as truth is often stranger than fantasy):
1. Saguaro cactus jelly. Really, I used to make this with my grandmother all the time and I have seen a local Native American tribe make a similar recipe as well.
2. Mesquite tree flour. Mesquite trees seeds can be ground up and made into a sort of flour. One of the websites in my sources list actually has a recipe for mesquite flour pancakes which have a hearty taste.
3. Stewed cow intestine, otherwise known as Menudo.
4. Cow’s tongue (lengua de vaca), a delicacy in certain quarters.
5. Roasted javelina. Javelinas look like pigs, or wild boars, and roam around the southern part of Arizona, they routinely invade people’s yard and eat their flowers, vegetables, and especially any fruit they can find. You can’t legally kill them as they are a game animal and hunted for their meat.
6. Prickly pear cactus fruit, yup, you can eat this reddish fruit like a fruit.
7. Fried bread. OK, maybe this isn’t so weird, but it you’ve need had it before then you’re in for a treat, served at many Native American activities/festivals around the state. Not even remotely the healthiest thing you could eat.
8. You can buy an ostrich egg for $15 a piece at the Picacho Peak ostrich farm located along I-10 near Tucson, one ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs!
9. Carne Secca (Machaca), not really a bizarre food, but unknown in other part of U.S., dried beef that is grilled and combined with spices and rehydrated with a small amount of salsa. Used as filling in burritos, tacos and enchiladas.
10. Fried Plaintains (fried banans) have a rich flavorful aroma.
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