Let’s face it - celebrities are good sports when they choose to go on an adventure on Running Wild with Bear Grylls. Not only do they face hair-raising acts of physical and mental strength, but also some stomach-churning fare foraged straight from nature. No personal chefs here, unless you count their guide, the intrepid survivalist Bear Grylls.
Come join us as we regale you with culinary horror stories from the series. But a warning: read this while eating at your own peril.
Roger Federer snacks on a fish eyeball
In the Swiss Alps, the 20-time Grand Slam tennis champion (whose season four episode airs Saturday at 8:45pm on SBS) pulls a half eaten fish out of the icy waters and Grylls thinks the eyes would make for a perfect snack.
While fish eyes are a delicacy in places like Southeast Asia, Federer is far from sold on the idea although Grylls does his best pitch. They’re great for survival with “so much fluids” and “good energy.” Oh, and they “explode with blood and fluid,” when crunched. Federer chucks an eyeball in his mouth like a good sport but soon looks to seriously regret it.
Don Cheadle tries starling egg omelets with worms and bear spray
The celebrated actor and Grylls come across a dead porcupine in White Mountains, New England, but even the intrepid adventurer thinks the meat would be too rotten for consumption.
Instead, they find starling eggs and beef them up with worms, but Grylls decides the dish needs some spice. So they risk eye-burn by using bear spray that contains “mega intense” cayenne pepper.
Let’s just say Cheadle’s eyes water, but he becomes accustomed to the flavour and besides, he says, it’s much better than eating “dead porcupine ass.” Adds Grylls, “If it’s hot and it doesn’t make you vomit, it’s all good.”
Keri Russell has rabbit poo and bloody birdseed stew
It’s understandable that The Americans star jests she’d rather be asphyxiated “or at least knocked out” by the smoke of the fire rather than eat a stew of rabbit poo and partially digested seeds from the guts of a dead bird.
Camping in the Canary Islands, Grylls assures Russell that boiling the droppings will kill the bacteria “and all we get is the nutrients and the fibre, which we like… and fluids to hydrate.” Not surprisingly Russell does not like, describing the taste as “like barf, but like textured barf.”
Shaquille O'Neal eats deer or moose placenta (sort of)
In the isolated Adirondack Mountains in northeastern New York State, Grylls spots a massive, membranous placenta, perhaps from a deer or moose. And he’s excited. “What’s rare though, is to find it so fresh. That for me is good news.”
“It’s like nature’s vitamin pill,” he tells the basketball great.
Once it’s cooked, Shaq hesitates but has a chew, motioning to the camera operator to shift focus off him so he can spit it out with Grylls supposedly none the wiser. “Not bad,” he tells Grylls who hands him another piece as Shaq cheekily chucks it in the foliage while he’s not looking.
Michelle Rodriguez endures mouse boiled in her own urine
After The Fast & the Furious star extracts the intestines of a mouse, Grylls finds there’s not enough water to make a broth for their rodent stew. The answer? Human urine, and Grylls thinks Rodriguez would rather have the meat boiled in her own rather than his.
Returning to their Nevada desert camp with some “legitimate piss”, Rodriguez laughs in disgust as she bites into the boney flesh, the crunch as cringe worthy as what’s on the menu. “It’s like chicken,” she says.
Courteney Cox tries maggot boiled in sheep scrotum
Ah, the Irish countryside and its rolling green hills, fresh air and…. boiled sheep scrotum? That’s the vessel for a protein-rich meal of maggots but when Grylls cuts in to the scrotum, Cox thinks the wigglers are still alive. He assures the Friends star that “15 minutes in the ball sack and it’s cooked to perfection.”
Cox is worried she’ll throw up and put the fire out, yet downs a maggot effortlessly with a swig of water. Because the maggots expand in your stomach with water the actress and producer explains, she only needed one to fill her up.
Nick Jonas feasts on a maggot-stuffed bird that he defrosted in his pants
It really is a boys’ own adventure in the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains when Grylls discovers a frozen bird to eat. But it needs defrosting, so Grylls thinks of “the hottest part of a man’s body” and puts it down Jonas’ pants.
Add some worms that taste like “nutmeg and peanut butter” for a stuffing and it’s just like Thanksgiving says Grylls. But it’s more like Christmas as the men pull the bird apart like a cracker, the head popping off into the actor’s hand.
The squirmy, crimson meat is burnt to a crisp, and Jonas isn’t exactly enjoying the meal. But Grylls, ever the pragmatic survivalist, thinks it’s just fine.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. People [say], ‘Oh you eat such terrible food.’ It’s like, maggots and burnt bird – what more can a man want?”
Watch Running Wild with Bear Grylls Saturdays at 8:45pm on SBS.