Including torpedo fuel and toast water.
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Dormice in particular – you know, the cute Disney-looking ones with big eyes and bulging bodies – were a popular delicacy among the upper classes in ancient Rome. They would be fattened and sold to the rich, who would eat them boiled in honey and poppy seeds or stuffed with other meat.
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As if black pudding wasn’t bad enough, scientists have found that Spartans used to eat a simple broth made from pig’s blood, salt, and vinegar. It was known as Spartan black broth, and even dignitaries in Sparta couldn’t stand it.
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In the film The Lighthouse, both characters chuckle down kerosene (lamp oil), but there are no official reports that light keepers actually do this. However, WWII sailors consumed something called torpedo juice, which is basically a cocktail made from lemon, pineapple juice, and the 180 percent alcohol that is used to fuel torpedoes!
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Did you know that people ate beavers’ tails during Lent? In the 17th century, the Catholic Church made it clear that since beavers were semi-aquatic, they were technically counted as “fish” and could be eaten during the 40-day period when Christians traditionally stop eating meat.
Savory jellied salads
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Americans have made some seriously weird salads in the last century, but one recipe remains more hideous than all of them – the “Jell-O Salad”. It usually consisted of chicken or tuna, fruits and vegetables encased in lime green jelly or some other sickly sweet taste.
Whale Poop (Art)
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Ambergris is basically the intestinal slurry that a whale expels from its body after digesting creatures like squid. It is likely to be secreted towards the back end of the whale and harden in the cold water. It was popular in early modern Europe, where it became a luxury ingredient for things like ice cream.
Black iguana eggs
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The Mayans loved these rich yolk eggs, which – unlike most bird eggs – have a leathery, rough exterior. The Mesoamerican people raised black iguanas, which can stay out of the water longer than their green cousins, and harvested their eggs for food.
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Food was scarce in Britain in the 1940s and people had to live on rations that unfortunately didn’t include exotic fruits from warmer areas. As a result, the British would make mock bananas by adding banana essence to parsnips!
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In the late 1970s, McDonald’s debuted with “Onion Nuggets” – bite-sized pieces of onion that were fried in batter. Onion bhajis are one thing, but personally I’m glad they never caught on. Maccy D finally made up her mind to return to the drawing board and from there they came up with the chicken nuggets we know and love today!
Lemonade in milk
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In the US it used to be common to mix a little seven-up with some cold milk to make “soda milk”. In parts of the UK too, people often mix Coca-Cola and milk. I think there are soda floats and egg creams too, so carbonated dairy products are still alive and kicking!
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Often associated with the Tudor dynasty of England, this bizarre dish from the Middle Ages consists of a piglet torso sewn to the bottom of a capon or turkey. It would then be filled and roasted over a skewer. Similar chimeric items were all the rage at the time, including the “Roast Without Equal”, a roast with 17 birds!
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In 1861, the English food writer Isabella Beeton decided to include a simple recipe for a toast sandwich in Mrs. Beeton’s book of housekeeping. It’s basically two pieces of bread and butter with a dry piece of toast in the middle, seasoned with salt and pepper. AKA the most British dish ever.
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The bizarre uses of toast in cooking doesn’t stop there! Another 19th century English recipe calls for the British to toast a bread crust and then soak it in water for an hour, until the water turns a brown tint. Then you just strain the water and drink it. I don’t know about you, but this one definitely feels like it might become a strange trend in the future!
And finally other people.
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I mean, it’s not entirely surprising that our ancestors ate each other thousands of years ago, but I am talking about Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, when people often ingested medicines made from human bones. Blood and fat to cure all kinds of diseases!
January 10, 2021, 10:45 p.m.
Yes, in a previous edition of this post it was incorrectly stated that the 6th century Catholic Church approved the eating of unborn baby rabbits during Lent, also known as “laurices”. While this has been a ubiquitous idea for centuries and would have been a badass addition to this list, it’s completely wrong. I returned to my sources and found that there was probably only one man doing this and no one thought he was normal for it at this point. Many thanks to our readers for this hint!
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