By Cecilia H. Lee

Just in time for Halloween, we've rounded up a bunch of foods that frighten us. Some retro foods look monstrous, while some of the latest culinary concoctions just sound plain ghastly, and still others make you turn away in disgust. Here are some of our favorite dining horrors, which are not for the faint of heart.

We've rated the scary food on a scale of 1 to 10 for general unhealthiness and disgustingness (10 being the most unhealthy or most disgusting).

It's difficult to avoid giving in to cravings or embarking on some serious mood-related eating when we're not thinking about what we're doing or why. We often turn to comfort foods for reasons other than fuel. And distinguishing the physical need for foods from the emotional need, especially in the heat of the moment, can be one of the hardest things to do. We know how good we'll feel once we satisfy that craving. It's like our secret drug for temporary happiness, or in my case, filling the void of not having my daughters around. Boredom and loneliness, as well as anger, sadness, anxiety, frustration, and fatigue, are extremely powerful emotions. Similarly, our bodies' own internal chemistries can emit extremely strong signals both before we eat and then as a reaction to what we eat. The key is to strike a balance between knowing what you're eating and understanding how you're feeling. How can you find this balance? Read on.
  1. Things that shouldn't be paired with bacon. Don't know whose idea it was to combine pork bits and dairy, but rabbis everywhere are just shuddering at the thought. Bacon started as a way for farmers to sell the fattiest portions of their pigs, which were literally thrown to the dogs. Due to some smart marketing in the 1920s, bacon became a staple food in American homes, as a popular side to morning eggs. Since then, they've been putting bacon in nearly everything, including the latest culinary adventure: chocolate-covered bacon. But I think bacon milkshakes are taking the whole bacon thing a step too far in the wrong direction. Besides, that's like a heart attack just waiting to happen. Unhealthy: 10, Disgusting: 3
  2. Any salad that hides fruit in whipped mounds of white. Originating somewhere in the South, ambrosia salad first began appearing in American cookbooks at the end of the 19th century. It's usually made with canned pineapple, canned mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, sour cream, and whipped topping. The funny thing is the original versions were made with fresh fruit and just a sprinkle of sugar on top. Drowning all that fruit in sour cream, whipped topping, or mayonnaise became a custom during the 1950s, when many other questionable foods made their way into restaurants, cookbooks, and Susie Homemaker's kitchen. Unhealthy: 8, Disgusting: 3
  3. Gelatin molded fish. Again, as a child of the 50s, I remember that people would take a perfectly fine fish and create salmon mousse, trout molds, or tuna gelatin. Who thought it would be a good idea to take fish, mix it with gelatin, and shape it into a mold, fish-shaped or otherwise? One of the worst combinations of this group is borscht and gefilte fish. Gefilte fish is bad enough, but to combine it with borscht and gelatin seems like a laboratory experiment gone awry. Unhealthy: 3, Disgusting: 4
  4. Frankenfoods. Speaking of scientific experiments, engineers at seed supplier companies and biotech companies have been tinkering with the genetic makeup of food for some time. The most frightening part of this is that it's unregulated by the government (and look at what happened to the lack of regulation in the financial sector). Now, these genetically modified foods have infiltrated over a third of our food supply. Sure, they can grow stronger and more portable tomatoes, but we shouldn't have to worry about salmonella on our fruits and vegetables. Dr. Frankenstein would be proud, but remember what happened to the monster in the end. Unhealthy: 9, Disgusting: 9
  5. Some parts of animals that just shouldn't be eaten. On top of this list are Rocky Mountain oysters, a regional delicacy, which are deep-fried bull testicles served as a "novelty" appetizer in restaurants. Sometimes called prairie oysters or calf fries (when the parts have come from a young calf), we're not sure if you'd want to eat a dish that some describe as "not completely inedible"—not a resounding recommendation by any measure. Unhealthy: 5, Disgusting: 10
  6. More questionable animal parts. Practically every culture has some traditional dish made from the innards of animals. Although I respect using all the parts of an animal once it is slaughtered, some parts are still difficult to stomach, so to speak. Koreans have their fish intestine soup. Mexicans enjoy their menudo, made with tripe, and chorizo sausages, made with various meat cuts, including lips, lymph nodes, and salivary glands. The British take all manner of animal parts and bake them in a pie. But one of the worst for those with weak stomachs is the Filipino diniguan. Sometimes called "chocolate soup or stew," it's a blood soup made with bits of leftover roasted pig. All the fun parts like the lungs, intestines, liver, and stomach are cooked up with the congealed blood—a veritable feast for zombies! Unhealthy: 4, Disgusting: 6
  7. Creepy crawlies on your plate. Some people might have had a bit of fried alligator or even enjoyed a bit of barbecued rattlesnake. But would you want to have a bite of roasted iguana or other freshly caught lizard? How about a tarantula that's been roasted over a fire? Of course, entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) has been going on for centuries, but you won't find me digging into a jar of pickled black scorpions anytime soon. Unhealthy: 2, Disgusting: 9
  8. Animal parts in jars. Evoking bad memories of high school biology, something about pickled pigs' feet, pickled ox tongue, and other animal parts suspended in a liquid reminds me of bad experiments, natural history museum displays, and serial killers. Maybe it's the way the liquid magnifies the texture of the animal, or the way the parts have to be squeezed into the jar. Whatever the case, I won't be picking one up for dinner, for sure. Unhealthy: 4, Disgusting: 5
We hope you enjoyed this foray into the revealing world of scary foods. We hope we didn't frighten you too much. Happy Haunting!