Just like our friend Harry, here, food poisoning brings out the worst in us, literally.
Almost everyone has suffered from dreaded food poisoning at one


Four Seattle Weekly Voracious Writers Make Me Sick

Just like our friend Harry, here, food poisoning brings out the worst in us, literally.
Almost everyone has suffered from dreaded food poisoning at one point or another. But every now and again, you meet one of those lucky jerks who says "Oh, gosh, no! I've never gotten sick from eating something, that would be awwwwful!" Of course that only makes you want to lace their plate with germs from a public doorknob, just to initiate them into the club.

Few feelings in the world compare to the roller coaster of realizing you've eaten something past its prime, then knowing that your digestive tract can't even do you a solid by just getting it through your system and pretending it never happened. And when it all culminates in rushing through your house, hoping no one is in the only bathroom, and not really knowing just exactly what is about to happen next--it makes your eyes water just thinking about it! Most people tend to block out these episodes like childbirth after they happen, but here at Seattle Weekly, our Voracious writers look back on these situations as just another notch in their culinary bedpost. Making their way through countless cuisines across the country, here are a few of the stories that will, inevitably, come back to haunt us at some point.

"After arriving at LAX, my friend--an In-N-Out Burger fanatic--insisted we head there for a burger. She guided me away from the posted menu and told me how to order from the 'secret menu.' Animal-style burgers in hand, accompanied by some hot yet pale and unappetizing-looking fries, we dug in. The burgers were OK, though not as transcendent as most In-N-Out devotees will have you believe. About an hour later, as we got settled into our hotel, we both started clutching our stomachs as gurgling noises punctuated the silence. There was only one toilet, so we each had to quickly dispatch the offending inhabitants of our gut so the the other could take her turn on the porcelain throne. I've eaten at sketchy roadside stands in the Turkish countryside and on the streets of Manila. Raw oysters, steak tartare, and Iceland's infamous fermented shark have all made their way through my intestinal track with ease. But my first time at In-N-Out burger resulted in the famed burger chain living up to its name. It was IN and OUT."

Sonja Groset, author of In the Cups and Cook the Books

"Having heard a lot about KFC [Korean fried chicken], my partner and I drove to Federal Way to sample some at Cockatoo's chicken restaurant. We ordered a couple of chicken dishes and were looking for something healthy on the side when we spotted 'Seasoning Pupa' on the menu. After playing 21 questions with the waiter, who could only explain that it was 'a traditional Korean food,' we decided to order it. When it came, it first looked like beans, but after noticing the body curve and markings, I realized it was something different. Only after I wondered aloud if it was some sort of insect did the waiter explain, 'Yes, insect!' I contained a gagging feeling, and soldiered on. 'Pupae' are silkworms. They have a slight crunch with some air pockets, and taste bitter, slightly nutty, and certainly earthy--like something that's slithered in the sand. While they didn't make me physically sick, I still feel a little nauseous when I think back to that meal."

Jay Friedman, author of Sexy Feast and The Mein Man

"Getting ready to go to Delhi this past semester, the one piece of advice everyone had was 'Don't drink the water, and avoid fresh fruits and vegetables that may have been washed.' Delhi is notorious for giving unwary travelers "Delhi belly," which can vary from an uncomfortable queasiness to days of losing meals out either end. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a staple in my daily diet, and after a couple weeks in Delhi longingly gazing at deep red carrots and crisp, fresh apples I decided I needed some color to break up the monotony of two weeks of carbohydrates. We had woken up early one Saturday to go on a tour of Old Delhi, ending with a classic Old Delhi breakfast of fresh, smokey chapati with potatoes and peas and a side of spicy pickled carrots and peppers. Everyone else in my group left the vegetables untouched in the middle of the table, but I couldn't take my eyes from the rich reds and greens. I reached out and ate one, and the juicy vinegar popped in my mouth. I ate another, and another, and before I knew it had consumed two bowls of pickled veggies. I smiled to myself, content after my colorful feast. We left the tables to finish our walk through the Old City, when I began feeling strangely dizzy. Spots of light began appearing at the edge of my vision and a wave of nausea came over me. I gulped, and grabbed the shoulder of our leader: 'Is there a bathroom . . . anywhere?' I managed to splutter. She looked at my face, and pulled me behind a building, asking a boy in the alley if there was a restroom nearby. He pointed to a dark, narrow side street, and I ducked into it. The pungent smell of feces hit my nose and I doubled over, losing the precious vegetables I had been so happy to find. Lesson learned, you cannot outsmart bacteria, no matter how clever you think you are."

Julia Waterhous, Seattle Weekly intern and sometime author of Morning Food News

"Hot wings at the Greenwood Wing Dome caused me to have a dastardly case of 'hot ass.' I was on the crapper every 15 minutes for 12 hours. I think they had 10-cent wings that night on special, so I probably ate about 40, with 12 beers to wash it down. I'm not exaggerating; I was 23."

Mike Seely, author of Bottomfeeder and Seattle Weekly Editor-in-Chief.

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