A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 117,233,045 Issue: 233 | 31st day of Running, Y8
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Far Out Gross Out


by blackcairn

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Deep in Neopia Central rests a mysterious machine that no one, save a handful of Alien Aishas, knows much about. It was moved to the center of the Neopian Bazaar not too long ago but nobody knows why or even how, even though the streets are bustling with Neopians at every hour. In what seems like a ritual, Neopians from all over Neopia stand before this mysterious machine, input nova-shaped tokens, pull levers, and push buttons with hopeful looks on their faces.

Hundreds of kilometers to the south on the west coast of a distant island surrounded by dark waters sits a strange box that only the Pirate Krawk who owns it knows everything about. Rolled-up sheets of paper sit in holes placed evenly across the top of the box which appears to have a map of some kind. People wait in a long line to pull out a sheet of paper from one square of the grid on the box as if it were a daily lottery, and they, too, have hopeful looks on their faces.

To the north is a nearby island that holds the mystery of all mysteries. The dense tropical jungle that covers the entire island holds many secrets that only the island’s guardians know full well about. A man in a tiki mask, one of the island’s guardians, stands by the southern shore of the island and draws pieces of paper out of a revolving cylinder as people who are unsurprisingly hopeful step up to get a ticket.

What do these three events have in common? Hundreds of thousands of hopeful people? A mysterious allure? Well, yes and yes but that’s not the only thing. Thousands upon thousands of people end up with what is technically, if not scientifically, called “Gross Food.” What is Gross Food exactly? A hodgepodge of foods that should never go together? Raw allium? Invertebrates? A cruel Halloween trick? Or that ancient burger you found in the ground? Apparently, it’s all of them, but more specifically, it is food of the Alien Aishas and ancient food dug up from the ground.

The label Gross Foods may be misleading. Many of these foods will not gross out many Neopians. There are other foods that are on the same level or worse than many Gross Foods. Parts on a Pizza, for example, is much grosser than a Chocolate Duck Rump but perhaps on the same level as a Brain Kebab, and that is a Spooky Food. Here is my take on Gross Foods.

Gross Foods can be categorized in two ways, by origin and by detestability. There are several origins of gross foods, the Nosh-o-matic, Buried Treasure, Tombola, the Cooking Pot, and Ghosty Trick or Treat Bags. Three main groups of detestability: the conceptually gross, which definitionally encompasses all Gross Foods; the elementarily gross, which includes Gross Foods made from generally disagreeable foods; and the unhealthily gross, which contains everything that has barely any nutritional value. All unhealthily gross foods are elementarily gross and all elementarily gross foods are conceptually gross.

The Nosh-o-matic aka The Alien Aisha Vending Machine

A vending machine is a metallic box thing from outer space. The Alien Aishas have one and so do the Orange Grundos. It seems to dispense items of impending doom in exchange for a small token. The Nosh-o-matic usually dispenses what might be called Alien Aisha foods, as it has been known that some of these Gross Foods are Aishan delicacies, such as the Brain Kebab and Ham and Hair Sandwich. Alien Aishan cuisine is an acquired taste and it does seem more palatable with each taste. Nevertheless, you should sample a few dishes should you one day achieve great fame and be invited to a banquet hosted by Alien Aishas or their Supreme Commander! You don’t want to know what they will do if you offend them.

Buried Treasure

All Gross Foods received as a booby prize from Buried Treasure should not be confused with the Aishan delicacies. Such foods include, in the order of increasing rarity, Yellow Growth, Rancid Old Meat, Rock Sprouts, Spongy Mound, Snout Plant, Buried Burger, and Maggoty Spud. Most of these foods have been buried for so long that they barely hold any resemblance to their original forms. It is also very unwise to place these items anywhere near you or your pet's mouth. However, if you are foolhardy and have that Gooblahesque stomach of steel, then why not venture a bite?

Tombola

It has been posited that the Gross Foods from the Mystery Island Tombola are, in fact, discarded Gross Foods from the Nosh-o-matic, but that has not been proven and the Tiki Tack Man is being uncooperative. Most of these Gross Foods contain fish or worms, which make it appear grosser than most Gross Foods. Despite the ingredients of the foods, Gross Foods won from Tombola should not be eaten as you can never tell where it has been or if it’s even fresh.

The Cooking Pot

The only Gross Foods you can make at the Cooking Pot, or actually ones that the Great Pango Pango will grant as Gross Foods are Grubs. Not only may they be made in the Cooking Pot, but these plump grubs are also an Aishan delicacy with flavors such as Cheeseburger, Watermelon Soup, and Spotted Pudding with Custard. They are remarkably tasty despite their appearance.

Ghosty Trick or Treat Bags

These bags were distributed on the thirty-first of the Month of Gathering of Year Seven. The Chocolate Covered Onion was a nasty trick placed in some of the bags, although Skeiths, Grarrls, and Jetsams have been seen happily munching away on those onions wishing that the onions had even the slightest amount of sprinkles. They have a nice little zing that will perk you up in no time.

Conceptually Gross

The only thing wrong with these foods is that these foods are not too popular among the masses. A few reasons for their unpopularity are their unconventionality, appearance, and an overall bleh factor with younger Neopians. Not too many people prefer to pop a raw, chocolate-covered onion bulb into their mouth for breakfast every morning over a bowl of Coco Neocrunch. I doubt many people enjoy two scoops of ice cream and an olive atop a fresh zucchini from Meri Acres on a hot summer day.

Many of the more normal counterparts of these foods are widely accepted and consumed everyday, like ice cream, milkshake, chocolate, cheese, and burgers. There are Bacon and Eggs Ice Cream and Courgette Ice Cream, Lime Milkshake and Strawberry and Cheese Milkshakes, Chocolate Duck Rump and Chocolate Taco, Cheese Covered Caramel Apples, and Waffle Burger. Of course, these flavors may not be especially appealing to your palate as a Mint Kyrii Ice Cream and a Deluxe Elephante Burger, but at least it’s better than a cone of Dung Ice Cream or a Snot Burger.

Like the Chocolate Slime Burger, a delectable delight from the Chocolate Factory, some of the names and appearances of these foods are misleading. Take Finger Crisps for example. It is definitely finger-shaped as its name and image suggests, but it is not made of real fingers when you read the ingredients. Another example is the Waffle Burger, which may sound to be one of two things, waffles in place of burger buns or waffles in between two waffle buns. Surprisingly, it is the latter, which only sounds and appears a bit odd.

Elementarily Gross

These foods are gross because the ingredients used to make them are gross. This may include insects, worms, fish, and eyes. This category can be further broken down into three subcategories, invertebrate, piscine, and organic.

Invertebrate

This subcategory of elementarily gross foods consists of insects, annelids, and mollusks. Many Neopians would avoid eating any of these if they possibly could. The idea of crunching bugs and biting down into worms would gross out the average Neopian in an instant as they don’t have a particularly appealing taste. Even though grubs such as the Spoc Spoc Grub and Chebu Chebu Grub are juicy and delectable albeit a little sour, they are still icky, slimy worms to many people. Additionally, it doesn’t help the food’s popularity when the mollusks in such foods as the Octopus Ice Cream Platter are actually still alive when they are served.

Piscine

Not a lot of people enjoy the fishy flavor of fish. What makes these foods even worse is that they seem to be made of whole fish with extra fishiness, but there is nothing wrong with fish. In fact, they are quite healthy for you. The Fish Pops, in particular, are a healthy alternative to some of the Ice Lollies sold at the Super Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop. You just need to get past that empty stare and the fact that it looks like it hasn’t been cooked. In most of the other such food items, all you need to do is get past the fact that there is an entire fish in your food. After all, if a Flotsam can eat it, it can’t be too bad, right?

Organic

These are mainly, but not all of, the Alien Aisha delicacies. It is possible that they may enjoy Spooky Food as well, as many of these foods reminiscent of Spooky Foods like Tongue with Veggies and the Eyewich. For some reason, most of these foods contain eyeballs. If you already like Spooky Foods that contain eyeballs, then you should have no problem with these Gross Foods. For those others, it helps to close your eyes, so you don’t see yourself putting the food into your mouth, to fully enjoy the rich flavors.

Unhealthily Gross

These foods have little nutritional value, even if you could digest any of it. None of these foods (and this group includes the Buried Treasure Gross Foods) should ever be eaten under any circumstances, even if a person promises you five Super Attack Peas, Ten MSPPs, and a slew of expensive retired Battledome items.

Dung, mucus, slime, mud, and rotten foods aren’t exactly everyone’s list of desired foods for lunch. The Swill Pudding is even obviously made from dirty river water teeming with all sorts of microbes. Don’t be caught unawares by the Cheesy Apple Stick. It may look wholesome, but it has been, in fact, left out to rot in the sun for a few days. If any gross food looks, smells, and/or feels* questionable then you most likely should discard it and hope it doesn’t find its way into your next booby prize.

*If you can hear Gross Food, then you know there’s something wrong with it. Additionally, you shouldn’t have already tasted it before physically examining it.

Whether you are a gourmand or a daredevil, never underestimate Gross Food. They may delight your palate beyond your wildest imaginations (however nauseating it may appear), and unlike the more popular Spooky Foods, they won’t bite back. Gather your courage, step up to the table, and prepare yourself for a feast that won’t be soon forgotten.

 
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