Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Friday, March 4, 2011

The First Person

Some of the things we humans eat, always make me wonder, who was the first person to eat it and what were they thinking.  One of the more notable examples is the many (delicious) Mollusks we take for granted. Have you ever seen a fresh raw Steamer Clam?  They look like snot from someone with a particularly virulent sinus infection.  What on earth would make someone decide to ingest that?  Was the first clam eater starving?  The natural reaction of any human to something that looks like a shell-less bivalve is revulsion. Who opened that first shell and slurped it down?  And then there are the mushrooms, many are poisonous and you would think that after some people had been sickened or killed, that mushrooms would off the menu, and of course there is Fugu, how many people died from the poison before the Japanese figured out how to cut it just right. Human history is full of seemingly absurd and unlikely foodstuffs that have become treasured and even fetishized.  Oysters, Tuffles,   Sautern Wine (made from moldy grapes) and in what has to be the most extreme, Civet Coffee.  A Civet is a Bobcat like mammal who lives places like Java and other coffee cultivating lands.  One of the things Civets like to eat is raw coffee beans.  The outside of the bean gets completely digested, but the nut (what we make coffee out of) is exposed to the digestive enzymes of the Civet, but emerges intact in the stool of the Civet.  People claim that the digestive enzymes of the Civet mellow the coffee like a fine aged wine. Civet coffee sells for about 10-20x the price of regular coffee (someone has to pick it out of the Civet turds after all) . So who was so desperate for a caffeine buzz that they made coffee out of Civet shit?


Post a Comment