Food & Drink

25 Foods You Have To Eat Before You Die

A life without freshly-made whipped cream is not a life worth living.
01/07/2014 09:02am ET | Updated July 28, 2014

There are a lot of things people hope to accomplish in their lives. Having successful careers, raising a loving family, making a ton of money -- these are among the most common goals. While those are all good and fine, what about the finer things in life? Like making sure you've tasted freshly-made whipped cream (it will make you a better person) or eating a big bowl of the classic Korean dish bibimbap before you're buried six feet under?

We know how easy it is to get caught up by the fast pace of our lives, so we're here to remind you of what's really important: eating. And since we don't want you to go through life without eating as best as you can, we've put together a list of things you have to eat before you reach the end of your life, most of which you can make in your own kitchen. (And the ones you have to travel for, we promise they're worth spending your savings on.)

If you feel like we left an important have-to-try food off the list, let us know in the comments below!

1
A Chocolate Chip Cookie From Levain Bakery
Flickr: h-bomb
This cookie is better than the sum of all the cookies you've eaten in your entire life.
2
Sweetbreads
Flickr: ulterior epicure
Sweetbreads are not bread, or sweet; they're glands (usually of a calf or lamb). We know that sounds gross, but just forget what you're eating for a second and taste them -- you'll be fan, we're sure of it.
3
A Roast Chicken That You Make In Your Own Oven
Flickr: The_Smiths
Not only will it be the best chicken you've ever had, but your house will smell AMAZING. Serve it with potatoes. Better yet, cook the potatoes in the same pan as the chicken so they can roast in the drippings.
4
Lobster Roll
Flickr: neil conway
Actually, you should eat as many of these as you possibly can in your lifetime.
5
REAL Ramen (Not From The Packet)
Flickr: jpellgen
We appreciate instant ramen for getting us through college, but it's given REAL ramen a bad name. Eating a bowl of ramen is like being hugged from the inside.
6
Beignets At Cafe Du Monde
Flickr: vxla
They taste like pillowy clouds that have been dusted in sugar.
7
Raclette
Flickr: 'tone
This dish is made up of nothing more than potatoes topped with melted cheese. It's served with pickles and charcuterie and it's one of the many reasons we respect the Swiss. Also, you usually get to melt and scrape off your own cheese , which is incredibly satisfying.
8
French Fries With Homemade Mayonnaise
Flickr: roboppy
Just try it. You'll see.
9
Pimento Cheese
Flickr: palmetto cheese
Known as the caviar of the south, this spread is made with sharp cheddar cheese or processed cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos. It might not sound like much, but it's possibly the greatest thing the south has given us.
10
Hot Roasted Chestnuts
Flickr: angelocesare
Preferably eaten while walking down the streets of Paris, but not mandatory.
11
Ceviche
Flickr: powerplantop
We thank the Americas every day for giving us ceviche.
12
Breakfast At A Diner
Flickr: Grace Fell
Any order. Any diner.
13
Hot Stone Bowl Bibimbap
Flickr: Pabo76
The rice that crisps at the bottom of the stone bowl will make you happy for years to come.
14
Stone Crabs At Joe's
Flickr: T.Tseng
Stone crabs are the lobster of South Florida. And Joe's Stone Crabmustard sauce is good enough to drink out of a glass.
15
Strawberries Picked Fresh From The Field
Flickr: allieatfood
They taste like you died and went to heaven. No supermarket strawberry comes even close to tasting like these.
16
Lardo
Flickr: Michela Simoncini
Lardo is an Italian cured back fat that melts in your mouth like M&M's wish they could. Eat it as an antipasto with a glass of wine.
17
Pancakes With REAL Maple Syrup
Flickr: Chiot's Run
Or French toast. Or waffles. Just don't even think about Aunt Jemima.
18
Freshly-Made Ricotta
Flickr: Alexandra Guerson
Even better if you make it yourself, it's so easy.
19
Steak Tartare
Flickr: jennikokodesu
We know the thought of eating raw meat doesn't sit well with everyone, but get over it. This dish is worth it. Just think of it as a burger before it gets burned by the grill.
20
Chocolate Croissant From Tartine Bakery, SF
Tartine Bakery
They make them even better than the French can.
21
Freshly-Made Whipped Cream
Flickr: melanerpist
Whipped cream when made fresh can make the worst days feel okay.
22
Avocado, Eaten Straight From The Skin With A Spoon
Flickr: Elsa4Sound
Make sure it's a Hass avocado (they're small, but they've got all the flavor) topped with a little salt and lime. It's better than eating butter -- which we all know is amazing, right?
23
A Loaf Of Bread From Sfoglia
Sfoglia
Yes, it costs $8.50 per loaf. Yes, you have to be in NYC to get one. And yes, they sell out super fast. But, their fresh-baked bread is washed in olive oil and dusted with salt. It puts all other loaves to shame.
24
Tomato Soup And Grilled Cheese
Flickr: neil conway
You've probably had grilled cheese. And you've most likely had tomato soup. But until you've had them together, you don't yet know how very wonderful life can be.
25
Tamales
Flickr: phil_g
Eating a tamale is like opening the best present you've ever received. You unwrap the corn husk to reveal a masa dough that's hiding an even more delicious filling. It's a very beautiful thing.

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story suggested that ceviche was solely a Peruvian dish, when in fact it's made in many Central and South American countries.

Also, you should eat a lot of chocolate before you die. Here are 100 recipes to help you do just that.

100 Chocolate Recipes