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What non-food/non-traditional food items did you eat as a kid?

I enjoyed a good Crayola crayon once in a while. My mother always told me I wanted dog food when we went down the pet food aisle in the supermarket. We didn't have a dog...or any pets. A friend of mine munched on sticks of butter now and then; sometimes dipped in cigarette ashes from a nearby ashtray. You?

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  1. Paste.

    It had not occurred to me to try it until Miss Cole, our preschool teacher, sternly instructed our class not to eat it.

    So we all had to try it. It was salty and strangely compelling. It's illicit nature surely added to the thrill!

    5 Replies
    1. re: meatn3

      "It had not occurred to me to try it until Miss Cole, our preschool teacher, sternly instructed our class not to eat it."

      Of course! Very funny.

      1. re: ttoommyy

        God lord, I remember all of us eating that paste! Was there something in there that made us crave it?

        I ate raw/dried pasta right out of the box, no idea why.

        Playdough, which has a salty taste.

        1. re: cleobeach

          "I ate raw/dried pasta right out of the box..."

          I still do at 51 years old! lol

          1. re: ttoommyy

            Well, I will nibble on a piece while cooking but back then I ate serious amounts of the stuff.

      2. my sister and i would unwrap the squares of kraft american cheese and "hide" the wrappers all over the house, but could never figure out how our mother knew we were eating them for breakfast!

        i was also known to take little bites out of the butter stick. again, clueless as to how my mom figured me out...

        1. Toothpaste. My parents were very stingy with the candy so this was the closest thing.

          I grew up in the era of butter is bad. So I munched on sticks of Parkay.

          I know somebody (adult) who eats pretty gross things. But at the risk of offending some of the more delicate posters, I'll refrain from posting.

          18 Replies
          1. re: Miss Needle

            Oh, c'mon. We can handle it, dontcha think?

            1. re: linguafood

              "Oh, c'mon. We can handle it, dontcha think?"

              If it comes out of the body, NO!

              1. re: linguafood

                Based on what ttoommyy wrote below, I think it's in the best interest of everybody that I remain mum on this topic.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  lol Oh, go ahead and post it. I'll just over my eyes. :)

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    OK, don't say that I didn't warn you. I've already been chastised by some of you in the past for making them lose their appetite. If you don't want to read it, just skip it.

                    WARNING!!! STOP READING IF YOU ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT...

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                    LAST WARNING!!! STOP READING IF YOU ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT!!!!
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                    This person likes to eat her toenails, feces and her menstrual blood. When she told me I was shocked. Her response was, "What's the big deal? It comes from my body." I guess I can understand that in some way as I'm a pro on the whole placenta eating issue. But at least placenta has some nutritional benefit. I think eating human feces (whether or not it is yours) can be very harmful.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Ok. I went there. I read it. I've lived an interesting life so I am not so shocked by this. It does take all kinds.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        I also think it's weird is that she only said, ""What's the big deal? It comes from my body." instead of giving a lengthy explanation.

                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          You must lead a colorful life -- can't think of anything worse than eating your own excrement. Actually, I take that back. I guess if I had to choose, I would rather eat my own than somebody else's -- especially if they've been eating a super hot vindaloo a few hours before.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            "You must lead a colorful life"

                            I'm 51 years old, lived in the NYC metro area all my life, partied and played in NYC all during my late teens into my early 30s and work in NYC. There's not much I haven't seen, read or heard about at this point.

                            Do I find this behavior shocking? Of course I do. Does it shock me that there are people who do this? Not at all.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              How is this person still alive? Eating feces, doesn't that, uh you know, kill you? Fecal contaminated water kills countless people every year so I can't figure out how this person is telling the truth.

                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                Without getting into detail, there are many people who do this as part of a certain sexual activity and manage to stay alive. Go figure.

                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  Please, please oh god can we please stop now.

                          2. re: Miss Needle

                            Does she just enjoy it or does she think it is beneficial in some way?

                            1. re: meatn3

                              She definitely doesn't do it for any benefits. I think she's a bit compulsive, especially as she likes to pull her hair out and rip her toenails with her mouth. A very nice person, but has some interesting habits.

                              Viperlush, it is a bit strange that she thought it was no big deal. After I gave her my look, she realized it was a bit odd and we just cracked up over it.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Sounds more compulsive than anything else. That she thought it was no big deal is almost odder than the fact that she does it.

                                1. re: meatn3

                                  It's called 'pica', and, while I learned that it fell under the umbrella of the anxiety disorders, a quick search of Wikipedia shows that it can come under other mental issues as well. You'd be amazed what grown people will put in their mouths

                            2. re: Miss Needle

                              There's a mental disorder called "pica" that encompasses that--eating non-food items. Psychotherapy is generally useful in abating it.

                              Edited: didn't see that someone already addressed this. Mea culpa.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        Second on the toothpaste. We weren't allowed sweets, generally speaking, so sometimes toothpaste worked. I tried a bit of baker's chocolate once too. I ALMOST didn't even spit it out.

                      3. I was a big eater of plants. My mom taught me to suck the honey out of a honeysuckle flower. I also chewed on sour grass. And I ate each part of the begonia flowers seperately. I have a friend who liked to eat butter as a child. I wasn't into paste or crayons, but I certainly knew other kids who were. Our paste tasted (and smelled) vaguely minty.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Kathleen M

                          I also did the honeysuckle, sour grass, and other plants. I tried eating plastic untensils after a trip to the Guiness Book of World Records Museum. There was an exhibit on the person who ate the most nonfood (the prop. plane? truly impressed me) and I wanted to give it a go. I would also chew on rubber bands. And suck on pebbles/buttons because I read that they kept your mouth moist.

                          1. re: viperlush

                            My daughter was quite enchanted when I showed her how to get the nectar out of honeysuckle. Until she discovered she's allergic to it. Fortunately, the allergy is merely annoying, not life-threatening.

                        2. Candles, particularly delicious on one's own birthday. Iced, naturally-I'm not some kind of freak.

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: Brianne920

                            I may have thrown in a candle or two once in a while with my crayons. Gotta mix it up once in a while.

                            1. re: ttoommyy

                              Yeah, just one kind of wax would have made me a dull girl. Totally agree. I eventually graduated to wax lips and wax soda bottle candy from the Jersey boardwalk. Classy dame.

                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                This thread is starting to worry me a bit because now I remember eating birthday cake candles, one little mouse-sized nibble at a time. Ditto on the lips and those horrible soda bottles.

                                Maybe it was pica?

                                1. re: cleobeach

                                  Maybe! I'm also a pen/pencil/straw etc. chewer as an adult, so God knows what my malfunction is. Hahah.

                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    Well, I also ate the lips and the soda bottles. But that is because they were advertised as candy. As children how were we to know that although they are safe to eat, that we weren't really suppose to eat them? Like those candy dots on paper. It got pretty hard to avoid eating the paper.

                                    1. re: viperlush

                                      My partner, 54 years old, still loves those wax lips and swallows the wax after chewing on it. He also swallows gum. I'm always yelling at him about this but he's done it all his life with no adverse effects. Well...so far.

                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        Ha-I do both of those things, too!

                                        1. re: Brianne920

                                          I knew I liked you for some reason Brianne! lol

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            Because I swallow gum? That's a better a reason than some I've heard. High five.

                                            1. re: Brianne920

                                              "Because I swallow gum?"

                                              Because you admit it! High five back atcha!

                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                I still swallow gum, bit by bit, without even realizing it. It has never seemed weird to me even though I was warned repeatedly as a child that it was not digestible and would stay in my stomach for 70 years. (That was the rumor in my neck of the woods, apparently.)

                                              2. re: Brianne920

                                                When I was a kid (many moons ago), nothing was better than tiny bites of Bazooka bubble gum, eating till it was all gone. Come to think of it, at that time, I also liked to put an Alka Selzter on my tongue an enjoy the fizz (had to hide from Mom, of course), as well as eating raw oatmeal (still have a spoonful of the raw oatmeal, oh so many decades later).

                                                1. re: pine time

                                                  The Alka-Seltzer (and Fizzies) and the raw oatmeal, me too. I still like raw oatmeal.

                                          2. re: ttoommyy

                                            The gum. My mother told us, when we were younger, that if we swallowed gum, it would stay in our stomach and grow into a big ball and we would have to to to the hospital, have our belly cut opened and stitched back up--all because we swallowed Bazooka. I've never, ever swallowed gum. Wax lips--yes. Those orange wax halloween harmonicas or flutes or whatever they were? yes. Those disgusting soda bottles with the liquid gunk. yes. Wax mustaches. yes. But gum. Never!