This morning I have had my thoughts on a popular subject, food. After reading an article about a man in Australia that had eaten a Geiko on a dare at a party. It was without a dought the worst decision he could have made, the story didn’t say what level of sobriety he was at. He ate the lizard and won the bet, ten days later he died. The coroner’s report stated he died from Salmonella, the coroner said he rotted from the inside out. The details are a bit gruesome as one can imagine, he died in extreme agony. What a horrible way to go, one guy said who’s to know the thing would carry Salmonella? Honestly, I wouldn’t, but I’d surely think it may be nasty in some other way, I mean just take a look at one. I imagine somewhere in California they are running wild after being released or escaping pethood but I’ve not seen one this far North, it may be too cool for them.
Eating one of those creatures would be akin to dining on a fence lizard. Now those we have everywhere throughout the West, I don’t know if they are edible; even if they are I will not consume one, or I’d have to be at an unknown level of starvation. At that stage of hunger, I wouldn’t have the energy to catch one most likely as they are Rocket fast.
That started me to thinking about the different foods we do eat, the safe foods. I wonder however after reading that how did our ancestors determine what was poisonous and what wasn’t? Gruesome Alert! I wonder if that’s why they had so many children sometimes.
Take an Artichoke, for example, the hard pointed large scale hide on those things are anything but inviting. The first person to pick one up and say “Man this looks good, I think I’ll bite into it” sure gained my respect. We should assume at the dawn of man the Artichokes were not nearly as large as they are now. Crunching into one to hold off hunger; those first few bites must have been a real endurance test until they got to the heart. The center of the things are not too bad, (I grow them but I don’t eat them), raw but still are sinewed roughage. Cooking breaks down the fibers making digestion easier, but depending upon how long ago they were first added to the grocery list whether they cooked them. Maybe they pounded them into some other kind of delicacy, not unlike Poi perhaps, come to think of it that wouldn’t be too bad of a way to prepare it.
Native Americans in the Sierra Nevada’s ate Acorns from Oak trees, that’s not as far of a stretch to eat as Artichokes. After all, they look like nuts but are very acrid to the taste. Mortars and Pestles ground them into a flour, then mixed with water it was formed into round bread and baked in a stone oven. We may be able to assume they would add a flavor enhancing berry, or herb to the dough. Hiking along the mountain streams visible in the bedrock on the shore are round holes in the bedrock. Varying in diameter according to what size the Pestle was, is where the nuts were ground. There is a lot to the process of preparing them for eating, the acids had to be leached from them. Soaking the ground flour in water for a specific amount of time then bleaching on the rocks did the trick.
Tomatoes were once known as “Wolf Peaches” in Europe they were declared to be deadly when eaten. People avoided them, then somewhere in the volumes of unwritten history, someone gathered up the nerve to feed one to one of the kids. (Did I really say that?) Who knows the first person or pet to eat one, I wonder how long it took until they discovered tomatoes, could be cooked into a sauce. They are classified as a nightshade, part of that name leans on them originally being thought of as poisonous, the leaves will make us sick the fruit won’t. Many nightshades will, Potatoes are another nightshade, the green ones can sicken us as the leaves will. Still, all of it had to have been sampled at some point in time.
Most of the worlds religions believe eating shellfish, Pork, Fish with no scales, and all bottomfeeders is a direct tenet from God. There is a reason for them being noted as unedible foods- disease. The flesh-eating bacteria Necrotizing Fasciitis, (Link) I am prone to it because of my depleted immune system. A Lady vacationing in Florida died from it recently. Pork (also Bears) carries Yersinia enterocolitica, enterococcus, staph, salmonella, and listeria. Our Ancient Ancestors must have found this out the hard way, it would be interesting to know how long it took them to connect the dots between what they ate and when it killed them.
Ten agonizing days to die is not to be wished on anyone for any reason, today that connection was fairly easy to make, 10 or 20,000 years ago it wasn’t. We at least there are names for things now, who knows if they did way back then, especially if it was an unknown species found in a new environment. But the lizard was eaten recently, maybe it wasn’t the first one he ate, who knows? Fence Lizards live along the streams in the Mountains also, I wonder if those of the First Nation Peoples gave a thought to tossing one in the mix, I’m just wondering is all.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance