10 Things to Eat Before You Die

Rather than present another of those “1000” lists which delineate a grand’s worth of things to experience before succumbing, I offer up an abbreviated list of ten things to eat before you die. I mean, seriously, are there really 1000 different foods to try? What is the real difference between a grilled hamburger and a broiled one? Between shredded chicken tacos and fajita chicken tacos? Is it necessary to experience fish tacos? Would you really eat a fish taco? I could probably only think of ten really different things anyway, and here they are:

1. A hot dog rolled in a burrito – I first experienced this in my hometown at a hot dog joint with a Mexican food identity crisis. It is created exactly as it sounds: a hot dog rolled into the center of a bean and cheese burrito. Forget experiencing the snobbish complex medley of flavors in foodie fusion dishes; the burrito dog is far superior.

2. A grilled cheese with lobster – A delicacy I discovered during my travels at a small luncherie in New England. Note the bread must be white and slightly thicker than normal sandwich bread, spread with butter and grilled open-faced, with a square of mild cheddar on each bread slice, and sprinkled with small chunks of Maine lobster. Once grilled golden-brown, join the sandwich halves and serve with ruffled chips. Do not taint the sandwich by adding crunchy stuff like celery or onions.

3. Five pieces each of the following cereals mixed together: Froot Loops, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, Wheat Chex, Cap'n Crunch, Apple Jacks, Sugar Smacks, and Corn Pops – Mixing five bits of these ten cereals together in a bowl with milk may sound noxious, and it probably is. But I never promised I’d present ten delicious treats, just a list of ten things to eat before you die. I'm sure consuming this mix would be an experience.

4. Any non-breakfast food for breakfast. This includes “standard” non-breakfast fare like cold pizza and fried chicken, but should also include one food you would never consider for the start of the day, like an Italian sub loaded with hot peppers, or a burrito dog.

5. Anything made with taro root – Not because it may taste great, since most taro dishes taste bland at best, horrible at worst. I add it to the list because true regional cuisine should be sampled, instead of Americanized versions of regional foods. Besides, anything that gets you to experience Hawaii can’t be all bad.

6. Something lost – Unfortunately, there are some foods I would recommend that are lost to time, such as my Grandmother's apple turnovers. Quite possibly the best treat I've ever placed on my tongue, the recipe was carried by my granny to her grave. I recommend you try any delicious food that will soon be forever unavailable, so you know what true culinary loss is. And if you stumble across an apple turnover you’d kill your grandmother for, let me know.

7. Lawn clippings – There are good health foods and bad ones. Similarly, there are good vegetarian foods and bad ones. The good ones tend to look normal, and the bad ones are dressed up to look like non-healthy or non-vegetarian foods, such as a chocolate shake, a link of fatty pork sausage, or a McRib sandwich. Save yourself the disappointment of tasting these fraudulent food facsimilies and eat the lawn clippings instead. You’ll get the same flavor without the disappointment.

8. Urine – Because, without trying it, how can you honestly and truthfully say an awful beer tastes like piss?

9. Feces – Likewise, you need an actual comparison to say a restaurant’s food tastes like crap. And think about how much more seriously the restaurant’s management will consider you when you can tack on: “And I should know, I’ve tasted human feces.”

10. I leave the last slot open for you to add your favorite food. Everyone should have a favorite food, and a favorite place to eat it. Though I strongly recommend eating in moderation, frequent your favorite dining establishment for your favorite food as often as is practical. And if you eat it after trying my last two suggestions, you’ll really appreciate how delicious food can be.