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Found in Mermaids with Other Tales (1882) by Charles Henry Ross : a discussion of broiled mermaids.

Apparently they taste like pork, which isn't surprising since (so it's said) human flesh tastes like pork also.

But I wonder what wine pairs best with mermaid?

In the "Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," John Jablousky says the skin of meer men and mermaids is of a brownish-grey colour, and their intestines are like those of a hog; their flesh as fat as pork, particularly the upper part of their bodies; and this is a favourite dish with the Indians, broiled upon a gridiron.

Again, Edward Draper elsewhere says, "Mermaids are frequently catched which resemble the human species. They are taken in nets and killed, and are heard to shriek and cry like women. The flesh is much like pork in taste, and the ribs are reckoned a good astringent."

Categories: Cryptozoology, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 03, 2014
Comments (0)
Several weeks ago, some wine-industry veterans (Kevin Boyer and Philip James) announced the invention of a gadget that would allow people to make wine at home in only 3 days. They called it the "miracle machine."

The gadget seemed somewhat plausible, given the existence of home-brewing kits for beer. Plus it was promoted by a slick video and accompanying website. So over 600 media outlets took the bait and reported it as news.

But yesterday, the "inventors" issued a press release revealing that the 'miracle machine' was just a hoax. But it was a hoax for a good cause. The idea was to promote a non-profit organization called "Wine to Water," which is trying to provide global access to clean water.
Categories: Food, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 13, 2014
Comments (0)
In September 1934, Louis Nasch, a department store painter living in St. Paul, Minnesota, alerted the press to the fact that his wife, Martha, hadn't had anything to eat or drink in the last seven years. She hadn't slept either. And yet she was perfectly healthy.

Louis explained that he decided to go public with this information because "I do not want people to think I am starving my wife."

Louis and Martha Nasch

Upon being questioned by the press, Martha insisted it was true, though she conceded that she realized "the world will not believe me."

To back up her claim, her husband, their 12-year-old son Robert, and a girl who lived next door had all signed a statement swearing they hadn't seen her eat or drink anything for the last 7 years. Furthermore, Martha said she was willing to undergo scientific tests to prove she didn't need to eat.

But it doesn't seem like doctors ever took her up on the challenge. In fact, when reporters asked doctors in St. Paul if it could be true that she had lived without any nourishment, they "derided" the idea.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what become of Mrs. Nasch. After the brief flurry of attention in 1934, there was never again a news story about her, as far as I can tell.

According to census records, Martha, Louis, and Robert were all still living in St. Paul in 1940. But after that, nothing. Except that according to Minnesota death records, Louis died in 1964. But I can't find any death records for Martha. Maybe she's still alive somewhere. After all, if she didn't need to eat or drink, it's possible she didn't need to die either.

La Crosse Tribune and Leader-Press - Sep 20, 1934

St. Paul Woman Claims She Hasn't Eaten, Drunk Anything For 7 Years

ST. PAUL, Minn.— A 44-year-old, bob-haired St. Paul housewife, who "knows the world will not believe me," averred today she has taken neither food nor drink for seven years.

Strong enough to cook and do the housework for her husband and son, Mrs. Martha Nasch sat mending socks in the front room of her little home at 642 Half avenue as she stolidly maintained, under questioning of a reporter, that she has not eaten or drunk since 1927.

Across the room sat her husband, Louis J. Nasch, 55-year-old department store painter, who says he has not seen his wife eat or drink since July 29. The husband notified newspaper men of his wife's condition because "I do not want people to think I am starving my wife."

Twelve-year-old Robert Nasch, a student in Theodore Roosevelt junior high school, has, his parents said, smiling, "been telling every one that my mom doesn't eat or drink anything."

Although unable to explain completely what she describes as "my supernatural condition," Mrs. Nasch is willing to undergo a test under constant surveillance to prove her fasting claims.

"Place me under constant watch for any length of time," she said, "and I can prove that I do not need food or water. Let the test run six months if necessary."

Mrs. Nasch contends that when she first observed a change in her life she consulted a St. Paul physician. The result was confinement in the State Insane hospital at St. Peter.

"Somehow the world was not the same," she said. "My body felt and still feels as though it were petrified. I could not eat or drink. I did not want it, although I continued to get meals for my family.

"The doctor told me I had a case of nerves," she continued, "and because I refused to eat I was sent to St. Peter. They thought I was insane, yet they told me I was normal in every other way. I read books, wrote and drew pictures. I hid or threw away the food brought me."

While in the hospital Mrs. Nasch sought through scientific books available to find some explanation of her condition.

"I found a plausible explanation in the Bible," she maintained, "although I never had paid much attention to the Bible up to that time. In the Old Testament I found this: 'They shall see food, but not eat. It shall be of wormwood. They shall see water, but not drink. It shall be as gall.' That describes perfectly my condition, but I cannot understand why this curse should be visited on me."
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 07, 2014
Comments (4)
In 1966, Dean Martin contributed a burger recipe to The Celebrity Cookbook, which was a collection of recipes by celebrities put together by Dinah Shore. Martin's simple recipe was as follows:

1 lb. ground beef
2 oz. bourbon---chilled

Preheat a heavy frying pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with table salt. Mix meat, handling lightly, just enough to form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 4 minutes on each side.

Pour chilled bourbon in chilled shot glass and serve meat and bourbon on a TV tray.

In 2010, Martin's burger recipe, scanned from The Celebrity Cookbook, appeared online and quickly went viral. I think it may have first been posted by the culinary site Ladles and Jellyspoons.

Two years later, Martin's recipe again began to do the rounds, but now it was accompanied by what appeared to be Frank Sinatra's response to Martin's recipe. Some sites explained that "upon hearing about the notoriety of Dean’s signature burger recipe and Dinah’s book, Frank immediately went to work perfecting his 'Sinatra Burgers' recipe."

Sinatra's recipe is a funny response to Martin's, and the two letters, as a set, circulated widely. And recently they've been circulating again.

However, there's no evidence that the "Sinatra Burgers" recipe was written by Sinatra himself. In other words, it's a recent creation. The evidence for this:

1) There's no source given by anyone for this supposed recipe by Sinatra.

2) Dean Martin's nickname was Dino, not Deano. Or rather, it was his original name. He was born Dino Paul Crocetti. Sinatra wouldn't have made this mistake.

3) Sinatra's signature on the recipe is identical to a copy of his signature posted on the site Star Wars Autograph Collecting. This suggests that the signature was cut-and-pasted onto the recipe. The typed recipe itself could easily have been created in any word-processing program (note the modern, proportionally-spaced font). And a photoshop filter could finally have been used to make the entire document look like it was written on old paper.

Sinatra's signature,
via Star Wars Autograph Collecting
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 06, 2014
Comments (0)

A new website has many people slightly puzzled. It claims to be producing artisanal salamis made from lab-grown meat from celebrity tissue samples. So it's kind of like a celebrity version of (from way back in 2001) — except that it's celebrity beef and the human meat is grown using in-vitro meat production. got a response from "Kevin" on the BiteLabs team who explains that "the site is partly a commentary on food culture, the ethics of meat, and 'the way celebrity culture is consumed.'"

So yes, it's a parody site. However, Kevin also insists that they do actually plan to make salami from celebrity meat.

I'm not sure about the current state-of-the-art of in-vitro meat technology. But I'm doubtful that the technology is good enough to make salami that tastes appetizing. Even if it is meat from Jennifer Lawrence of James Franco.

The idea of celebrity salami recalls an idea PETA proposed a few years back of making George Clooney-flavored tofu.
Categories: Celebrities, Food, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 27, 2014
Comments (1)

[via reddit]
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 22, 2014
Comments (0)

Sort This Out Cellars has announced the imminent return of its Cardiff Giant Wine, which it describes as "one of our most popular wines ever."

I've come across quite a few hoax-themed beers (Bigfoot Ale, Nessie's Monster Mash, Jackalope Ale, etc.), but not many hoax-themed wines. I always assumed that wine marketers thought that hoaxes were too low-brow to appeal to the sophisticated tastes of wine drinkers.

The illustration of the Cardiff Giant on the wine label comes from a poster created by the sideshow banner artist Fred G. Johnson in the 1930s or 40s. But I'm not sure Sort This Out Cellars realizes this, because the blurb on the back of the label (from the 2005 bottling) describes it as an "1869 carnival poster," which it isn't. It's pretty obvious the artwork couldn't be from 1869 because the "Average Man" in the picture isn't wearing nineteenth-century style clothing.

For the true Cardiff Giant enthusiasts out there, Sort This Out Cellars is also selling Cardiff Giant coasters. [Correction: it was selling them. They're now out of stock.]

Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 10, 2014
Comments (1)
Thanks to "anonymous" who posted a comment to my recent post about "Christmas Tinner" (the entire Christmas day meal in a tin), alerting me to this video in which "steviejacko" has a can of the stuff, opens it up, and eats it.

This suggests that, at the very least, someone created a prototype of this product.

In the youtube comments, steviejacko says: "The one shop where it is available in basingstoke is sold out, it was done as a trial to see how much interest there was, it wont be available now for 2 weeks and even then it will be pretty scarce."

Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 16, 2013
Comments (1)
These North Omaha homeowners keep signs outside their home advertising fresh meat (squirrel, raccoon, fish, etc.). But no one seems to have ever bought the meat. So are they really selling it? Or are the signs just there to give their home a little curb appeal?

Health Officials Worry Rabbit And Squirrel Meat Are Being Sold Illegally

Fish, raccoon, and squirrel are now on the menu, but who's buying it? "It hasn't come from a USDA approved plant to where it's been processed properly, stamped and inspected," Gaube said.
Neighbors said the homeowners have lived there for years and the signs have been there just as long. "They're really good people and nice and all that," neighbor James Jones said.
But no one has seen anyone buy the meat. "Have you ever bought the meat or has your grandmother ever bought the meat? No ma'am, not that I know of. No? Do you know of anybody in the neighborhood that's maybe bought from them? Um...not that I know of."
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 12, 2013
Comments (0) is selling something they call "Christmas Tinner," which it describes as "the ultimate innovation for gamers across the nation who can’t tear themselves away from their new consoles and games on Christmas Day."

It's an entire Christmas Day meal, from morning to night, conveniently layered into one tin:

Layer one – Scrambled egg and bacon
Layer two – Two mince pies
Layer three – Turkey and potatoes
Layer four – Gravy
Layer five – Bread sauce
Layer six – Cranberry sauce
Layer seven – Brussel sprouts with stuffing – or broccoli with stuffing
Layer eight – Roast carrots and parsnips
Layer nine – Christmas pudding

However, the product is listed as "SOLD OUT — Check Back Christmas 2014." But it seems that it's always been "Sold Out," which makes it a near certainty that Christmas Tinner is a joke product.

It reminds me of those stories of gamers who use pee pots so that they won't ever have to move from in front of their computer.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Sun Dec 08, 2013
Comments (1)
If you need a meringue top for a pie, and you need it fast, then look no further than They're the "Internet's #1 meringue delivery service." Their fleet of eMeringue trucks are gassed up and ready to hit the highway, to deliver your meringue top directly to your door.

eMeringue was an April Fool's Day hoax by the Motley Fool investment people. But it dates back to 1999, so I'm impressed that they've kept the site up all this time.

If you look at the eMeringue welcome page, you'll see a photo of "eMeringue chef Serge LeGrenouille." My wife is the food geek in the family, but she's rubbed off on me enough that I recognized that chef Serge LeGrenouille is actually Chef Patrick O'Connell of the Inn at Little Washington. I wonder if he knows that in addition to being one of America's top chefs, he's also the head chef at eMeringue?

left: eMeringue chef Serge LeGrenouille -- right: chef Patrick O'Connell
Categories: Food, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 22, 2013
Comments (0)
Back in 2005, I posted about the website of The Federation of Rodent Cheesemakers, promoters of rat-milk cheese. That website is suddenly back in the news, thanks to an article in Modern Farmer, "Rat Cheese: Internet Hoax or Future Delicacy?"

The author (Sam Brasch) acknowledges that the Rodent Cheesemakers site is a spoof, but then he seriously addresses the question of how to make cheese from rat milk. He notes that you would need a lot of rats: "You’d need an army of 674 rats to produce the 31 kilograms of milk one dairy cow puts out each day."

But if you had that many rats, they might produce a surprisingly good product:

"Rat’s milk is high in protein (8 percent) and contains almost four times the fat by volume when compared to raw cow’s milk, so it would make a great brie and stand as a rich addition to a cup of coffee in the morning. A rodent dairy farm would also earn a stellar environmental report card. 674 rats would only produce .003 percent of the methane that comes from a dairy cow, so a piece le fromage de rat could end up being the most sustainable high-end cheese at the deli counter."

My thought here: depending on what you fed the rats, their milk might also be quite tasty!

But the International Business Times has also weighed in on this issue and throws cold water on the promise of rat-milk cheese by pointing out, "We don't have milking machines small enough to make rat dairies a viable option."

But they're wrong about this. There are milking machines for rats. Back in 1946, Prof. B.L. Herrington of Cornell University designed a "midget milker" — the world's smallest milking machine mounted on a board 18x6 inches. He designed it primarily to milk guinea pigs, but also used it on rats, rabbits, and hamsters. A Science News Letter article noted that "milking guinea pigs is a two-man operation, with one person holding the animal, and it takes about 10 minutes."

I haven't been able to find any pictures of Herrington's midget milker in action, but there is a diagram of it in a 1951 article in the Journal of Nutrition ("Milking Techniques and the Composition of Guinea Pig Milk").

So there wouldn't be a technological problem with milking rats. It could be done. The problem would be the labor involved. It would take too long to milk enough rats to produce a decent amount of cheese. So it would never be done except as a one-off thing.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 22, 2013
Comments (0)
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