Children were not fearful of food concoctions such as monster vomit, sea creature tentacles and preserved stink bugs at Food Fear Factor held Friday at Nancy Carson Library in North Augusta.
The disgusting names created for everyday foods such as Wasabi peas, mixed soups and seaweed did generate some stink faces and plugged noses from participants, but it didn’t keep most contestants from eating.
“This is good,” said Meghan Harrison, 12, after eating ham, pineapple and rice baby food. She survived more than 10 rounds of food but when it came to mushrooms, she was done.
“It smells like skunk,” one parent said when the mushrooms, which were soaked in pumpkin spice tea, were served to the 12 remaining contestants of the initial 21.
Andrew Belanger, 9, agreed that the mushrooms were one of the grosser items they had to eat. But overall, he enjoyed the food.
“I faced my fear!” he shouted after eating “monster vomit,” otherwise known as Brussels sprouts.
Before being served “tentacles from unknown sea creatures,” Andrew said he was trying not to listen to the gross food names.
After the round of mushrooms, there were only eight contestants left, ranging in ages from 8 to 18.
Renee Reel, the children’s library assistant, brought out a blender for the final round, making a lumpy brown smoothie out of a variety of the foods eaten in previous rounds, such as gorgonzola cheese, cactus juice and anchovy oil.
Children were timed and whoever drank the mixture first – and didn’t vomit – was the winner.
“It was kind of nasty,” said 11-year-old Enizia Kelly, who won the contest. “I held my breath and nose so I wouldn’t taste it.”
Enizia agreed with the other contestants that the mushrooms were probably the nastiest item they had to eat.
For stomaching all of the food, Enizia won a $10 gift card to McDonald’s, which she said she planned to use right after the contest.
Reel said participants had “iron stomachs” and that next year she is going to have to step it up a notch to gross out the children.