Lamb is a very fatty taste and smell, which is no doubt why it puts some people off (and why in England we have it with a sweet/sour mint sauce, which the continentals find very strange, though I think it might be the word "sauce", which we use to mean a condiment, not something it's cooked in).
I have eaten kangaroo, ostrich and impala in my time, and even a bit of horse in France - until the cultural conditioning kicked in, and besides it seemed disturbingly sweet to me.
Which brings me to:
NON-SWEET mayonnaise on the side (not the stuff sold mainstream in North America
I never did get to try buckwheat as I could not find it in the shops - will keep on looking though as Don's description of kasha varnishkes caught my fancy.
I understand the revulsion Joanne , my daughter feels the same about lamb.
I also have a revulsion for horse meat which I have eaten once when I was 10 years old on a school trip to Belguim. I cannot remember the taste but the revulsion after we were told what it was is forever imprinted in my memory.
I use lemon rather than vinegar when I make mayonnaise. Tart, but in a much nicer way. Even Hellmann's (a common North American brand) contains sugar. If I buy mayonnaise it is either from Europe (France or Belgium) or a Québec-made brand made in small batches (I know many are averse to "artesanal" for such products. Can't abide sugar in such condiments.
However, a bit of sugar in some Asian condiments (sambal, etc) doesn't bother me, as long as they aren't too sweet, like that sweet hot sauce for chicken that is like a spicy syrup.
I don't find very young lamb has a very fatty taste, the older lambs that are well on their way to becoming mutton do, though.
And yes, horsemeat has a sweetish taste. I don't really like it; much prefer bison for a very lean red meat.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that adding sugar helps counteract the heat of chillis and other spicy food, though; but since I'm not too keen on that anyway, I'd just as soon avoid that whole area.
I suspect the sugar in Hellmann's or Kraft mayonnaise is there as a preservative. I can taste the sugar in McCormick's mayo (the most common brand here), which is why I don't like it, but can't say I've ever noticed it in the the other two.
I think that most people would like sweetbreads, properly prepared. Brains and tripe are another matter. I love them all, but that is one of the advantages of being fed such things since childhood.
Every time I go to Bangkok, I always look at the fried grasshoppers on the street carts, but I have never been able to buy any. I need to be with somebody else who buys some, and then I would taste a couple. Considering the price of them, that is rather ridiculous, because even if you throw away Bangkok street food, you have wasted hardly any money at all.
But then we eat raw spiced ground pork in Germany (Schweinemett)
I don't mind eating raw pork at all. I am always amazed at how people still fear diseases from 70 years ago, as though no progress had been made in raising animals. Even if pork is totally cooked, I really do not think many people would want to eat it if somebody told them that the pigs are all still full of worms (absolutely not the case in the developed world).
oh... now that you say that I don't think I have ever had any insects. When I was in China they had those stands of course in Beijing but my guide told me that they are mostly just for the tourists and that she certainly doesn't eat scorpions, silk worm or sheep penis. But I hear that the stinky tofu is really popular? Anybody ever try that?
I just had a big bowl of crevettes grises, something that most people refuse to eat. They are tiny shrimp eaten raw, most of which are too small to peel. At best, you can pull off the head, but you have to be ready to crunch down on the little shells, the little legs, the little egg sacs. Delicious. However, I would not want to eat them every day.
Kerouac your description reminded me of the first time I was lead into eating Whitebait. In ones youth you seem to have all kinds of hang-ups about food thats raw, food that has its eyes and legs still attached, and food that squelches in your mouth. OK fine its a learning curve but I draw the line at vegetables. What the hell's wrong with raw tomato? You sure eat it on your pizza don't you! Now to confession time. Don't know where - don't know when - but I ordered a shrimp cocktail. A few mouthfulls later I asked the waiter....are these cooked? "" Öh no maddam, a shrimp cocktail is never cooked shrimp!
When I was growing up, I was convinced that all seafood had to be cooked except oysters. Trips to Asia and Africa taught me otherwise and this was even before I discovered sushi and sashimi.
My most fabulous memory of a raw dish was at the Méridien Dakar, where I had a ceviche of raw marinated prawns served in a coconut shell with lime juice and coconut flakes. I think I ordered it 3 nights in a row.
Gravlax is delicious -- even better than smoked salmon. A Swedish friend showed me how to make it but mine didn't come out nearly as good as hers. On my local market, there is a trout producer who makes both smoked trout and gravlax. Unfortunately, dill doesn't grow well here so he doesn't add it, while it's an essential addition to Swedish gravlax.
Years ago I saw a gorgeously produced photo sequence on making gravlax. The lush sprays of dill, the diamond-like salt crystals, and of course the exquisitely colored hyper fresh salmon created a portrait of utter luxury from only three ingredients. You can see how that triggered an as yet unsatisfied longing for gravlax.