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Australian news sources are reporting about a woman who has been ordered to serve 18 months probation for selling cases of Duff Beer on eBay. Duff Beer is, of course, Homer Simpson's favorite beer on the Simpson's. At first I thought she was selling imaginary beer, but apparently Duff Beer really does exist. It was made briefly during the 1990s by an Australian Brewery, until they were sued by the makers of the Simpson's and had to stop. However, the beer the woman was selling was imaginary in the sense that she didn't have any cases of Duff Beer, which is why she's now serving probation. I'll have to add Duff Beer to my list of fictional beers that became real. The list now includes Olde Frothingslosh Pale Stale Ale, and Duff (it's a short list).
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 02, 2005
Comments (9)
image I've posted previously about snake wine, which I thought sounded pretty gross, but I could understand how it was made. Snakes are simply added to rice wine. However, Army Worm Wine is another matter altogether. Ray Reigstad says that he makes this concoction directly from army worms (they're those creatures that hang in web-like tents from trees). In other words, he's not just adding them to rice wine. He's somehow fermenting the worms themselves to produce a wine that supposedly tastes like pinot grigio or white bordeaux. Here's how he says that it's done:

As far as the process goes, I simply treated them as a combination of a fruit and a flower, after all, they eat leaves. Other ingredients include sugar, water, champagne yeast (from Canada), yeast nutrient, pectic enzymes, acid blend and campden tablets. This wine was made in Duluth, Minnesota in small batches using highly sterile equipment. It registers approximately 11% alcohol on the vino-meter.

I'm not a wine expert (though I like drinking it), but just because the worms eat leaves doesn't mean they're sugary enough to ferment. Or does it? My gut instinct (for some reason) is to believe that this stuff is real, but I'd like to know more about how it's made.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 28, 2005
Comments (33)
image A guy from Texas is selling his left nut on eBay so that he can buy a tractor. Ha Ha. It's a peanut. But I think I see the face of Jesus on it.
Categories: eBay, Folklore/Tall Tales, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 20, 2005
Comments (13)
image Here's another image-of-God-appears-in-food story. The BBC reports that a Swiss bar manager, Matteo Brandi, has found an oyster shell that bears the spitting image of Jesus Christ, though to me it looks more like what I imagine the Sea-God Poseidon should look like. Mr. Brandi said he found the shell when "The oyster stuck to his hand as if God was calling him." He also points out that his oyster shell is unique because, unlike the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, it is "the work of nature." That's true. A few hundred years ago Mr. Brandi's shell would have been referred to as a Lusus Naturae. Mr. Brandi doesn't need any encouragement to sell his holy oyster shell online. That's already his plan.
Categories: Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 18, 2005
Comments (21)
I spent my Sunday night watching FoodTV's new show, Iron Chef America. I've long been a fan of the original Japanese Iron Chef, but I quite liked Food TV's adaptation of it. However, I was upset to read in this NY Times article that the 'secret ingredient' presented to the chefs at the beginning of the competition isn't that secret after all:

Both teams are readier for the challenge than most viewers realize. They have come to Kitchen Stadium knowing that they will be cooking with one of two ingredients, striped bass or buffalo, a choice negotiated in advance with the network.

Hmm. Instead of calling it the 'Secret Ingredient' perhaps they should call it the 'Previously Negotiated and Agreed Upon Ingredient'.
Categories: Entertainment, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 18, 2005
Comments (23)
I've heard a rumor that some women do this, though I didn't think it was true. But what was I thinking? There's always somebody who's going to try something out, no matter how gross it is. So anyway, if you have a hankering for cooked placenta, here are some recipes, including Roast Placenta (with red peppers and a bit of garlic) and Dehydrated Placenta (that would be like Placenta Jerky, I assume).
Categories: Birth/Babies, Food
Posted by Alex on Sat Jan 15, 2005
Comments (59)
image The latest gross-out food email going around involves a Chinese restaurant in Atlanta supposedly caught accepting shipments of rats and mice. These rats would, I guess, be served to people who enjoy rodents as a delicacy. Some photos accompany the email (rats1, rats2, rats3). The email says that:

After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, puppies and a large frozen hawk... The restaurant has locations off Peachtree Road and Alpharetta near North Pointe Mall.

I tried googling for chinese restaurants located on Peachtree Road in Atlanta and came up with a few of them. But needlessly, since David Emery has already debunked this email by doing a news search and confirming that there have been no recent reports of rat-accepting restaurants in Atlanta. Plus, the photos come from a store that sells packaged rats for feeding snakes.
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 14, 2005
Comments (13)
image I, like everyone else, should stop posting about these miracle foods that keep appearing on eBay. It's only encouraging their proliferation. But I just can't stop myself. So here's the latest one: A Miracle M&M. The seller says:

Purchasing a handful of M&M from vending machine, I came across this very special M&M that I believe to be a likeness of Jesus with a crown on his head. This has been a life changing event for me. I am hoping that all of you see what I see.
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 09, 2005
Comments (17)
'Big Gary' spotted this item in a year-end round-up of unlikely stories of 2004:

Israeli authorities seized a consignment of 80,000 cans of dog food disguised as gourmet goose liver pate. The Bulgarian product was originally marked as "Chicken for dogs" but was relabelled "Domestic birds' liver pate" and "Pate de foie gras". The importer had also forged a kosher certificate to fulfill the requirements of Jewish dietary law.

I wonder if anyone would have realized what they were actually eating, or if they would have figured it was just weird tasting pate.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 28, 2004
Comments (14)
The urban legends forum has a thread going about auto-urine therapy, which translates into 'drinking your own urine'. Is there really a thriving urine-drinking subculture? Well, yes. As the poster points out, all you have to do is google 'drinking your own urine' and you get all kinds of hits. The reason urine-drinking has so many fans is that it's supposed to offer numerous health benefits, including improving the immune system, giving you nice skin, acting great as a gargle if you have gum disease, and having very powerful anti-aging properties. I think I've mentioned before somewhere on my site that I have personal experience with this urine-drinking subculture. NOT that I've ever drunk the stuff myself (and I definitely never plan to). But I do have a relative who, according to family scuttlebutt, used to do it. She was into all the new-age, alternative medicine stuff like that. In her defense I have to say that she's now approaching 90 and is still in excellent health. In fact, she could probably pass for a sixty-year old. So maybe there's something to it (though I've still got no plans to try it out). I'm actually going to her house on Christmas day for dinner. I don't plan to sample the apple juice in her fridge.
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Sat Dec 18, 2004
Comments (72)
image My wife is a big fan of fruitcakes, though only of the British variety. She tells me that American fruitcakes have too much weird stuff in them (maraschino cherries, etc.). But fans of American fruitcakes can find people of a like-mind at the Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcakes. "The Society's goal is to protect and preserve fruitcake, not in the pouring on more brandy or rum type of preservation but in the 'spread the gospel' way. By providing information and links about fruitcake, it's hoped we can provide safe haven for fruitcake lovers and some encouragement for others to give it a try." Unfortunately the Fruitcake Society is only a society in spirit, not in fact, since it doesn't appear to have ever had an actual meeting. But still, for those who love fruitcake it's a start. In other fruitcake news, those who don't look forward to this holiday treat, but who have fruitcakes forced upon them anyway as gifts, will be disappointed to learn that Buffalo, New York does not seem to be repeating its Fruitcake Amnesty Campaign. Last year this campaign provided a home to hundreds of unwanted fruitcakes, no questions asked.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 15, 2004
Comments (2)
Is it true that infants have an innate sense of what food is good for them? That if left to their own devices they will naturally eat the food that their body needs? Well, in my admittedly limited experience young kids naturally gravitate towards a diet consisting exclusively of ice cream and cheerios. However, there apparently is an urban-legend-like tale floating around about a scientific experiment in which a doctor placed samples of food (of varying nutritional quality) in front of newly weaned babies. The babies were then allowed to pick whatever food they wanted from these samples without any adult intervention, and the babies chose to eat a well-balanced diet. Posters over at alt.folklore.urban tracked down the source of this tale and discovered that it does stem from a real experiment performed in 1928 by Dr. Clara Davis: 'Self Selection of Diet by Newly Weaned Infants'. However, as the article that the link goes to explains, Dr. Davis's experiment would hardly be considered 'good science' today. Doctors didn't even fully understand the importance of vitamins back in the 1920s. In fact, the entire 'babies know what's best for them' idea seems to me to be some kind of weird spin on Rousseau's concept that man in a state of nature is good, and that it's only the development of society and civilization that corrupts him (or her). So I think it's safe to say that babies should not be allowed to choose their own food. Make them eat their veggies.
Categories: Birth/Babies, Food
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 13, 2004
Comments (30)
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