But some seek adventure. And what better adventure than flirting with a meal that can kill you with your very next bite?
Here are three of the deadliest dishes on Earth. There are other deadly dishes, but these (for some ungodly reason) are the most popular.
1. Fugu [Poisonous pufferfish]
Several years ago an upscale Japanese restaurant opened its doors in Manhattan. Less than a month later it was out of business. Why? New York health inspectors discovered that the restaurant offered fugu on its menu. The astonished authorities ordered the restaurant closed immediately. They also considered criminal charges, but later that idea was dropped.
Fugu (translated as river pig) --the Japanese word for the deadly pufferfish--has enough nerve poison in it to kill a human in seconds.
In Japan, the preparation is strictly controlled. Chefs licensed to prepare the deadly dish must undergo intensive training. Parts of the fish contain the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin. One drop of the clear, tasteless liquid is enough to kill almost instantly.
Even with all the precautions at least several deaths a year from the pufferfish are reported in Japan.
Those who dine on this deadly delight swear fugu's liver is the most delectable part"but it's also the most lethal.
During 1984--after Japanese businessmen were dropping dead at company luncheons almost every other week--authorities banned the preparation and sale of the liver.
It's claimed that some master fugu chefs purposefully allow a tiny amount of the toxin to remain in the fish's flesh to cause a tingling sensation on the diner's tongue.
Perhaps that might not be a good idea. The mere hint that one has been lethally poisoned might cause some to suffer a fatal heart attack.
Truly a dish to die for.
2. Casu Marzu (Live maggot cheese)
Planning a trip to northern Italy? You might want to avoid this dish if you see it on the menu for it's made from a sheep milk cheese that's been liberally treated with Piophila casei.
A delectable Italian herb? No, it's the "cheese fly." The fly lays thousands of eggs in the cheese and the result is a maggot-infested, decomposing mess. The fly's writhing, translucent maggots can pop upwards as high as half a foot into the air.