Part One can be read here: Whatever happened to our real food?.
After I hit “Publish” on the post, I set to work listing out all the other kind of shocking food things I have learned over the years.
BANANAS AND KIWIS — WHAT DO THEY ALL HAVE IN COMMON?
They aren’t “natural” fruits, but they have been cultivated by humans.
Bananas in the wild, are a lot like plantains, and it wasn’t until in 1836 it was discovered by Jamaican Jean Francois Poujot, who found one of the banana trees on his plantation was bearing yellow fruit rather than green or red. (Source)
Photograph I took in Singapore
THERE IS PORK SKIN (GELATIN) IN JELLO
I knew someone who was allergic to pork. Not to the point where she had to use clean different pots and pans that didn’t touch pork before, but more like if even a whiff of pork juice got into her meal, she would break out in hives, and/or be hospitalized.
This is exactly what happened, and she ate some mystery meat dish at a Chinese buffett (reason #39855 why I avoid Chinese buffets), and was told there was NO PORK in the dish.
Isn’t this cool? It’s San Francisco (the city) in JELLY FORM! Made by Liz Hickok. She does other jelly things too.
She ate it, and ended up becoming hospitalized.
(They were also too kind to sue, but in hindsight, they should have taken those places for every penny they had seeing as that’s what they do in America)
During her stay in the hospital, she was fed Jello, but kept getting sicker, and sicker and sicker.
They finally realized that the gelatin used in Jello, was made from pigs.
What part of the pig? The skin of course.
Upon learning this, I wasn’t as grossed out as some people were, but that’s probably because I am used to eating pork cracklings (fried pig skin).
I was more grossed out that she ate Jello, rather than eating pig skin.
TUNA AND LOBSTER WERE ONCE CONSIDERED THE RATS OF THE SEAFOOD WORLD
Price of blue-fin tuna today: $7.939 per kg or $17.50 per pound with a recent, SINGLE premium Oma bluefin tuna selling for $1.78 million just this year 2013 (Source)
Price of lobster today: $4 a pound; but there’s a glut of lobster, so the price has dropped to $1.35/pound (Source)
Prices of both of these items before people started up-selling them? $0.
They couldn’t even sell them, they were throwing them away or back into the sea.
I was reading The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy, and they were saying that Canadian fishermen were burying blue-fin tuna because they couldn’t sell the fish because no one was buying.
Enter the tuna, and fish-hungry nation of Japan, and the whole business exploded once they figured out how to flash freeze and transport the fish (whole) without defects to the biggest fish market in the world in Japan (Tsukiji) to be auctioned off.
(Fun fact: Paul Qui the winner of Top Chef season 9, makes a token experience in the chapter talking about sushi restaurants in America, specifically Texas. Secondary fun fact? They totally botched his name in the book, naming him Paul BUI instead of QUI. FOR SHAME!!!)
As for the lobster, I had a friend who’s father was in the business back in the day, and he said that lobsters were considered the rats of the sea. They threw them right back if they caught them by accident.
All of the above? Marketing. Change in name. Change in perception. Demand.
What is one person’s food trash, is another’s delicacy.
CRICKETS WOULD BE AN EFFICIENT SOLUTION TO OUR NEED FOR PROTEIN
Insects for sale at a food market in Beijing, China.
Meant to be more shock value than anything, you didn’t see many Chinese folk eating them.
Those round looking beetle things are maggots, or so I was told. Starfish are disgusting unless you just eat the meat inside, and the rest of the wiggly things are scorpions. I think.
I’d be okay with eating crickets. Just like crunchy chips with crispy legs right? I’m sure I’d try it, because I’ve eaten worse (eel, anyone?)
Whereas a cow needs to eat roughly 8 grams of food to gain a gram in weight, for instance, insects need less than two. (Source)
You’d only really need a few crickets to the protein in the same slab of beef, and they’re a low-fat, high-protein alternative. (Source)