EUREKA!............ and roast pork was born.
Many , many years ago I heard this old story about a poor man who lived in a grass hut with his pet pig. Each day he would leave the pig in the hut while he went to farm his field. Upon returning one day he discovered to his horror that his grass hut had burned to the ground along with everything inside. As he sifted through the ashes looking for any of his surviving pocessions his fingers touched the carcus of his pet pig and burned them.
Instinctively, he put his fingers in his mouth to soothe them.
EUREKA... and roast pork was born.
Until a better method came to his attention the poor man, when again he desired a taste of the roast pork would place the pig within the hut and burn it to the ground.
Do you know of any other urban myths about food creation by unusual or accidental means or have you had a EUREKA moment of your own regarding food?
This is from an essay I had to read in High School...
"DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG"
by Charles Lamb
here's a link to an overview..
make sure you scroll down for its' opening page...it's still a fun read...no wonder I am a Porcine eating Chowhound!
I've heard the "cheese origin" story many times. Here is a version from "The Straight Dope" website:
There's also this tale, repeated by many food historians, possibly apocryphal, about the discovery of cheese. The food historians credit cheese's discovery to an Arab nomad, more than 5000 years ago, who poured milk into the stomach of a freshly-killed sheep or goat to use as a canteen on an impending journey. The sun warmed the milk, allowing the rennet to work its magic. When the nomad stopped for a refreshing pick-me-up along the trail, he found, rather than his milk, curds and whey. So, figuring what the hell, he ate (and drank) it anyway.
Sounds like a sub-urban myth to me.
A lot of the early food discoveries in new regions for humans were most likely from observing animals.
Fire was also probably an early source of discovery as partially burned nuts, fruits, etc would have split open to reveal their interiors.
Hunger would have also played a great part.
I've always figured that in times of scarcity (most of human history, that is), if you're hungry enough you'll try just about anything. And if it's even remotely edible, you'll like it...if it's all you have. Still, though - raw oysters seem like an intimidating thing to tackle.
re: Bat Guano
I can see someone trying oysters/clams. You see a bird pick it up, drop it from above and eat the inside and you give it a try. But a crab or lobster w/ claws and some crabs have little meat inside. This can get to be like that survival guy--Bear something. I think he expels more energy getting some of the food than he takes in ("Let me chase this 5 calories bug for a few minutes...")
EllenMM, that's funny about the BLT. I thought my mom was ingenious for putting bacon in grilled cheese.
There's the story about the mom teaching her daughter to make ham. "You always take the ham and chop the end off and put it in the pan and then bake it," she says. "Why?" the daughter asks. "Because that's what my mom always did," the mom replies. The daughter later is with the grandmother and asks, "Why do you chop the end of the ham off?" "Because my pan was too small," replies the grandmother. (You can retell this and draw it out with more generations, I'm just tired of typing.)
Funny--at least he concluded the pig had to be in the hut first and it wasn't just the burning of the hut...
As for my own eureka moments, I had so many before I started cooking more and reading about it. I was so amazed that I could easily peel a garlic clove by hitting it first. I thought I'd discovered something new. Sadly, I think I've had more "duh" moments, than eureka moments, overall.
On a tangent, my husband and I always wonder who was the first person who tried certain foods--for example, who discovered that if you peel away the thistle-y outside of an artichoke, you'd get something delicious? Wouldn't the layers have discouraged that person at some point (what if there was nothing left when you peeled it away?)? What about the first person to try lobster or crab? And, who discovered if you ground the cocoa bean and added sugar, it would taste great?