People eat a lot of different foods, and some are a bit stranger than others. There are some that really make you question the wisdom of the first person to have tried eating them, though.
Most fermented foods, for example. They often have quite a pungent odor and seem like they are spoiled, but fermentation is actually an excellent way to preserve foods so they last longer.
Reddit user u/The_True_John_Doe asked:
Honey. When something is guarded by swarms of easily pissed off insects with poisoned ass darts, you would think that would be enough of a deterrent that nobody would mess with it.
Not even 'ancestors' - how did drinks like guinness or coke become a thing?
"Bro try this" "uh, no. That drink is black." "Yeah good call"
Vegemite is the same principle but in that case it was literally created as a prank from brewery waste products but then the prankee went "it's not bad tho".
Actually, I think I just answered the question.
They did it on accident or were tricked/goaded into trying it, they did, and when it didn't kill them the consumable caught on.
Bread! Like how did someone put all the ingredients together to make the bread!! I think about it all the time.
cheese. like did someone leave milk out,and when it turned into nasty lookin gcheese and then they were like: Im gonna eat that?
Nopales, a kind of cactus, and it's fruit have been a staple in Mexico for millennia. I've always wondered what went through our ancestors' heads. "That plant and it's fruit is covered in thorns...I bet they're delicious".
Some mushrooms that require special preparation. Eat it raw or cook it like most other shrooms and you end up dead. Boil it 3-5 times however, and it's fine.
Edit: An example of a mushroom requiring this procedure is Gyromitra esculenta.
Someone looked at that snotty looking thing from a shell and thought "yeah I'm gonna put that in my mouth"
Acorns. How hungry one must be to figure out to pound them to powder and leach out the tannins. Three times!
Castoreum. A sweet-tasting exudation that comes from glands near a beaver's asshole. "Damn this beaver ass smells great, wonder what it tastes like?"
"However, cassava is poisonous unless it is peeled and thoroughly cooked. If it is eaten raw or prepared incorrectly, one of its chemical constituents will be attacked by digestive enzymes and give off the deadly poison cyanide. As little as two cassava roots can contain a fatal dose."
The Pokeberry/Pokeweed plant that grows in the southern US has edible leaves. Sort of.
If you eat them raw they contain a nerotoxin that will make you extremely sick or more likely kill you. If you cook them the toxin will still kill you. If you boil them, the toxin will still kill you.
So basically someone died after eating this stuff and their friends went "Well maybe if we boil it one more time" died and someone else went "Third times the charm?" However, if you boil them, discard the water, boil again, discard the water, then boil one last time and discard the water again the left over cooked plant is sort of edible.
Usually poisonous, unless prepared thus:
"The traditional method is by gutting and beheading a Greenland or sleeper shark and placing it in a shallow hole dug in gravelly sand, with the now cleaned cavity resting on a small mound of sand. The shark is then covered with sand and gravel, and stones are placed on top of the sand in order to press the shark. In this way the fluids are pressed out of the body. The shark ferments in this fashion for 6–12 weeks depending on the season. Following this curing period, the shark is then cut into strips and hung to dry for several months. During this drying period a brown crust will develop, which is removed prior to cutting the shark into small pieces and serving."
Artichoke. Hmm, that purple thistle looks good...
It's prickly and completely inedible. Hmmm. Maybe if I boil it for 45 minutes, then scrape it leaf by leaf against my teeth?
First, they come from a drupe that grows out of a false-fruit called the cashew apple. So right off the bat, you'd never guess that it would be the part you'd eat. Cashew apples look kind of like a cross between an apple and a red bell pepper, just with a big, ugly dark-brownish cashew in place of a stem.
Second, the shells of cashew drupes contain a substance that causes rashes and chemical burns on skin. So before you can even think of eating a cashew seed (which is what cashew "nuts" actually are) it has to go through a multi-step steaming & roasting process, just to totally burn off all the irritants.
Lye fish. Or "Lutefisk"... Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff but man..
First you go get a fish. Then you let it hang on a stick for months to dry out. Then you put it in water for a couple days. Then you put it in water with lye for another couple days. Then you put it in pure water again and then you cook it and eat it.
The fruit of the gympie-gympie plant. It is also known as the suicide plant because its sting is so painful that there have been reports of people and animals killing themselves to escape the pain, which can last for days or even years. The sting is delivered by tiny hairs that cover the whole plant, yet someone was able to discover that if you painstakingly remove each hair from the fruit, it is edible.
Like imagine finding this pepper, taking a bite, and then feeling your entire mouth feel like it is on fire. Then you decide it's actually really good though and start including it into dishes to add spice.
Lobsters. "Well this looks horrifying, i think I'll taste it. "
Land arthropods = creepy and disgusting.
Sea arthropods = yummy! Makes sense, right?
Ackee. It's a fruit, and most of it is poisonous, though part of it is edible. In Africa, where it's most common (as far as I know) it's generally not eaten, but in Jamaica it is. It's eaten a lot.
Our national dish is ackee and saltfish, and our national fruit is ackee.