Humans are born with the capacity to detect five varieties of taste&ndashsweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami. In addition, why we like a certain kind of food depends on how we are raised, when we are born, or whatever faith we believe in. Playing with one's inherent like or dislike towards a particular food, a museum&ndashwith branches in Malmö (Sweden) and Berlin (Germany)&ndashis doing everything possible to shatter their preconceived notions about food.
The Disgusting Food Museum (DFM) features a variety of international cuisines, the majority of which would be regarded as "disgusting" by most people's standards. Each tour ends with tasting a dozen things from the eighty-five culinary horrors on show, including common foods and specialities from thirty different nations.
"While the emotion is universal, the foods we find disgusting are not. What is delicious to one person can be revolting to another," reads the DFM's website. It adds, "Disgusting Food Museum invites visitors to explore the world of food and challenge their notions of what is and isn't edible. Could changing our ideas of disgust help us embrace the environmentally sustainable foods of the future"
The exhibits include bull penises, frog smoothies from Peru, maggot cheese from Sardinia, grilled dog, baby mouse wine, monkey brain, virgin boy eggs and cow's blood, among others.
Due to their revolting nature, these exhibitions are fascinating, but they also provide a window into the culinary customs of various nations worldwide. Visitors are given an air-safety bag at the entrance rather than a ticket. Their tolerance for revulsion will determine whether they require it or not.
The DFM seeks not only to shock and disgust its guests. Instead, its permanent exhibition also demonstrates how human revulsion functions and how it can be shaped. It becomes evident, for instance, that food based on animal abuse, like foie gras (a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose), might make humans feel repulsed. Additionally, the museum helps its visitors get over their initial feelings of repulsion, which frequently stem from their cultural upbringing and usually appear as the first sensory experience, be it the fragrance or the sight of a meal. Visitors can get past this initial impression and have fresh, memorable experiences if they approach the food they dislike.
Tasting Bar for Visitors
The museum's sampling bar offers some dishes on exhibit for those who can get over their initial reaction. The samples are supposed to be taken home rather than consumed there and then.
About the Museum
Samuel West, a psychologist born in California but who spent more than 20 years living in Sweden, is the creator of the Disgusting Food Museum, which debuted in 2018. Amid intense media coverage, the first DFM museum debuted in Malmö, Sweden. It tried to start a conversation around the idea of disgust. The focus is the same in Berlin, which debuted a year ago.