You are, so they say, what you eat. If that’s the case, then perhaps you need to give a little more thought before you wolf down that innocent snack. Maybe you fancy an ice cream, maybe a vanilla one, just bear in mind that castoreum, often used as a substitute vanilla flavouring is taken from the anal glands of beavers. I don’t know who comes off worse out of that arrangement, the beaver or the ice cream eater.
Perhaps you should stick to natural foodstuffs, like honey for example. We humans have been stealing honey from bees for thousands of years. In fact, the stuff we stole thousands of years ago would still be perfectly ok to eat because honey is the only foodstuff that never rots. It’s miraculous stuff — worker bees have to visit two million flowers just to make one pound of honey, but before you get too enthusiastic about this sticky sweet delight, just remember that in order to make honey a bee has to regurgitate the nectar several times. That’s right, honey is essentially bee vomit.
Perhaps just stick to something really simple like bread, the staff of life. A staff in which the oft used softening agent is L-cysteine, a substance made from human hair and duck feathers. Maybe you’re just safer sticking with a good old McDonald’s, plenty of folks do. In fact, McDonald’s serve up seventy-five hamburgers a second, that’s 6.5 million a day and 2.5 billion a year. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that one in every eight Americans has worked in McDonald’s — there are after all a lot of burgers to be flipped. Interestingly, a single fast food hamburger may contain meat from up to a hundred different cows. It may also contain a few surprises — the average person will consume twelve pubic hairs in their fast food every year. Thank goodness we have food safety guidelines to protect us, Health Canada’s guidelines for food cleanliness impose the most rigid guidelines for our protection. So, for example, only a mere ten insects are permissible in a 225-gram portion of processed raisins. It’s reassuring to know that such strict hygiene standards are being applied.
Some foods though are just plain dangerous, like peanuts for example — and I’m not talking nut allergies or the compulsion four-year-olds have to push them up their nose. These nuts are dynamite, literally, well no not literally but almost: they contain an oil used to make glycerol which, as everyone knows, is the main ingredient in nitroglycerine. Handle that packet with a little more care next time.
None of these dangers seem to put us off eating and drinking though. The French eat 500 million snails per year, the winner of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest ate 69 dogs in ten minutes and Americans consume 3,936 tons of popcorn and 1.25 billion chicken wings on the day of the Super bowl.
Maybe we should all just cut down a little on what we eat. We could take a tip from the Aztecs who used chocolate as currency. Now that’s what I call self-restraint.