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Advertisement Pop-Tarts and Kraft cheese sandwich? Is that the grossest thing you can think of?
by Dan Brawner Columnist · November 22nd, 2017


Chris Jorgensen has snagged his 15 minutes of fame on social media, although the attention has been mostly negative.

It seems the Iowa State University sophomore was hunting through his kitchen for a snack one evening when he came across a box of Pop-Tarts. He said to himself: "What is the grossest thing I could put between two Pop-Tarts?" There wasn't much in his fridge but a couple of slices of Kraft cheese, so he made a sandwich out of it and tweeted a photo with a caption that read, "You ain't from Iowa if you never had one of these."

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Jorgensen is not an English major. One might forgive the double negative and tortured syntax, but not his lack of imagination. I mean, come on. Jorgensen is a college sophomore and the grossest thing he can think of is a Pop-Tart and cheese sandwich? What would his Scandinavian ancestors think? Had he never even heard of lutefisk?

Once a favorite of Nordic people and still eaten in certain far-flung corners of North Dakota as a test of manhood and gag reflex, lutefisk is a mucilaginous abuse of whitefish, marinated in lye for several days and boiled until it reaches just the right balance of eye-watering stench and rancid taste. A Pop-Tart and lutefisk sandwich - now that is a snack worth tweeting about!

Or how about Casa Marzu (translation: rotten cheese)? But this is not just any rotten cheese. Casa Marzu is an Italian creation made from sheep milk that is left outside to spoil. Attracted to the smell of decay, special cheese flies then lay their eggs in the stuff. The larvae break down the cheese fats, resulting in fermentation. The little white worms are still alive when the cheese is served and it is said they can jump several inches.

A favorite in Minnesota is the "pickle dog." This concoction sounds like it was invented by a college sophomore. You take a dill pickle, smother it in sauerkraut, wrap it in a slice of roast beef and drench it all in Thousand Island dressing. Yummy.

A Japanese survey has concluded that the surstromming, a Swedish dish made from Baltic herring, eaten right out of the can, may very well produce the most putrid odor in the entire world.

But for the truly horrific, few dishes can compete with Hakarl. This Icelandic treat is created by fermenting a basking shark and leaving it out to dry for four or five months. During this time, it acquires a concentrated fishy taste, along with an ammonia smell not unlike a Biloxi truck stop restroom. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was quoted as saying that Hakarl is "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he ever ate.

Pop-Tarts and processed cheese, indeed. They say college introduces students to new experiences and expands their world. But maybe Mr. Jorgensen is satisfied that he has explored the limits of grossness and can now turn his attention to the sublime.
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