Everyone complains that I do not write about food as much as I should, so - for their benefit - this post is for them.
Every now and then, someone brings up the subject of 'What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?', and I wait until the last person has made their contribution before I give mine, in the sure knowledge that I will not only win, but win by a mile.
Some people think that oysters are a daring thing to eat, and usually at least one or two people in any group will admit to never having eaten one. Everyone is astounded to learn that Samuel Johnson fed his cat on oysters, but forget that - in his day - oysters were the food of the poor. Daniel Defoe used oyster bars as a rough guide to how poor a town was - the more bars, the poorer the town - in much the same way that we use charity shops for the same purpose, or assess the affluence of a country by the price of a bicycle sold there.
I remember a school teacher telling us of a certain culture eating what sounded like an absolutely disgusting mixture of animal products when literally and colourfully described by him, and the children almost gagged in disgust when he listed the ingredients. Well the culture turned out to be ours, and the meal he described was a full English breakfast.
There was a famous explorer who once was the guest of a secretive and rarely seen jungle tribe who shot and ate monkeys, and on the first evening they all sat around and watched him as the elders placed a monkey's eyeball in front of him to eat. Not wishing to offend, he reluctantly put the eyeball into his mouth, then the whole tribe almost screamed with horror as the elder said, "So it is true - you white people will eat anything!"
Ok. I once ate a necklace made from human bone, which was brought back from Africa by Sir Richard Burton and stolen from a museum in a smash and grab raid. It was given to me by a South African antique dealer.
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