What's the worst meal you've had?

OPINIONS

JOAN WYNDHAM, writer: Last week, at a French restaurant. My starter was described as "Mille-feuille of snails laid lovingly on a walnut and sultana confiture". It was three little black bogeys on a little piece of pastry and there was no confiture, laid lovingly or otherwise. Then I had "Duck married to a whiting (but with no kids), honeymooning on a sea of watermelon". It was the most disgusting combination I have ever tasted.

BARRY NORMAN, film critic: The one that lingers in my mind was in somebody's private home in Cambridgeshire. It was a kind of beef stew which was grossly over-salted. Every time I think of it I get this thick salty taste in my mouth. Because we didn't know the people very well, we simply had to carry on eating it. We were offered seconds, which we managed to avoid, but it was just horrendous. We were knocking back wine and water like mad and complimenting our hostess on this magnificent meal - what else could you do?

KATIE PUCKRIK, presenter, the Sunday Show: On a flight to Morocco - the meal consisted of congealed brown stuff, which looked like dog food, presented in different shapes. It was inedible. In fact I would guess the plastic wrapping had more flavour.

SHELLEY von STRUNCKEL, astrologer: On the Eurostar. The plates were picnic-quality plastic, and the food - even on the first-class run from Paris - was dire. The excitement of my first under-the-Channel trip was dulled by the disappointment of the dining.

JOHN GREEN, pensioner: One day at school in war-time we were told that there was nothing for lunch. We had to go out to pick nettles to make into soup - it was foul, like congealed seaweed. We mopped it up with bread speckled with small dark things: the cook said they were ants' eggs, but we knew they were mouse droppings.

TOM SMITH, marketing executive: I visited a friend for lunch. I was tucking into my quiche and salad when I noticed a dead cockroach under a piece of lettuce. I couldn't bring myself to say a word and had to eat round it.

SOPHIE JONES, Cordon Bleu cook: A Japanese visitor made us a Japanese meal - things like cuttle fish intestines in soya sauce, which looked like big dead worms in blood, sea urchin egg paste and lumps of tuna which looked like diced raw pork.

DAVID MORE, surveyor: Last year I ordered a rare steak at a pub in Bedfordshire. It arrived well done so I sent it back. They did me another steak, cooked correctly. But I noticed a fat yellow caterpillar on the salad. It wasn't just sitting there, it was wiggling about, almost waving at me, but I was so hungry I picked it out and carried on eating. It was only as I finished my steak that I saw the single pubic hair nestling underneath.

MARY-ANNE O'REILLY, accountant: Barbecued guinea pig in Ecuador - not enough meat and too many bones.

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