To Dr. Johnson’s pithy statement that there is no end to the making of books — little did he know! — I will add that there is no end to the making of lists.

Sent to me in an email message by My Foodservice News is this “Omnivore’s 100,” a list of foods that British writer Andrew Wheeler thinks every well-schooled gourmet or gourmand or diner or serious eater should try in his or her lifetime. Apparently, this list has been all over the Internet, but its recent appearance in my inbox marks the first spam.gif time I saw it.

It’s an interesting, goofy and ultimately bizarre list, and you’ll see what I mean because, bless my little pointy head, I’m going to reproduce the whole thing for you. I mean, this is billed as a challenge, yet some of the items are no challenge at all (peanut 180px-scotch-bonnet.jpg butter and jelly sandwich) and others are if not impossible at least downright self-destructive (eating a whole Scotch bonnet pepper raw); some of the recommendations seem so obvious they shouldn’t be mentioned (gumbo) and others are plain dumb (will eating wasabi peas really broaden your culinary horizons?). Pistachio ice cream seems incredibly arbitrary; why not butter pecan or Rocky Road or rum raisin or Chunky Monkey? The problem is that anyone with some knowledge of world cuisine could probably make another list of 100 items and not repeat Wheeler’s list. In fact the whole enterprise smacks of pretension and sensationalism, as by including S’mores (#61) and Roadkill (#75) Wheeler tries for a Soccer Mom meets Anthony Bourdain effect.

So, here it is, the “Omnivore’s 100”:
2.Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwish
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephants ears or funnel cakes
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouilette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

It would take Claude Levi-Strauss to elucidate some organization or innate structure within this list. Scotch whisky and Scotch Bonnet pepper. Cheese fondue and head cheese. Root beer float and curried goat. How could Wheeler have resisted the binary opposition and resolution of Porterhouse steak and Toll House cookies? Of Hoppin’ John and johnnycakes and John Dory? Of peaches Melba, potatoes Anna and steak Diane? Of King crab claws, Queen Mother cake and Veal Prince Orloff?

Spam advertisement from Scotch Bonnet pepper from Wikipedia.

BTW, I said in the post above that Claude Levi-Strauss was deceased (now corrected), but alert reader Robert K. Bleckman pointed out that the pioneering structuralist and philosopher is alive and well and perhaps even kicking. Thanks, Robert.