Filth cuisine — 5 edible things borne from crap you’d never eat

Ian Fortey reports for the Asylum blog on the 5 edible things borne from crap you’d never eat. The edited list is below.

• Tilapia
Tilapia are little fish found pretty much all over the world at this point in farms and in freshwater, swimming about innocent as you please and occasionally winding up on the menu at Red Lobster. In countries like Vietnam, tilapia is a great crop for fish farmers as it is what is known as a "value added" crop, meaning not only can the fish be raised and sold for food, they also eat poo.
Like your strange cousin whom you were never allowed to be alone with, tilapia will put anything in their mouths. People exploit that by using tilapia for sewage treatments, where they clean up crap as they grow before getting sold to some lucky diner to eat with a side of mashed potatoes and a biscuit.
Research has shown that fish raised on poop will have significantly higher levels of fecal choliform bacteria in their tissue than fish raised in treated water, but the bacteria doesn’t seem to affect the muscle tissue, meaning the fish is more or less safe for you to eat. And, if it was raised in your neck of the woods, or at least where your toilet drains, it may even taste familiar.

• Citric Acid
If you’ve ever licked the walls under a sink in a condemned building, you have issues. But it’s also likely you’ve been horribly exposed to Aspergillus niger, one of the most common molds known to man, strains of which supply the bulk of our citric acid supplies.

• Sauerkraut
Sauerkraut is a pretty necessary ingredient of any Oktoberfest celebration. It’s fermented cabbage and it belongs on sausage, because if you’re sucking back beer you can’t taste it anyway. And in some cases that’s likely a good thing as some sauerkraut has an unwholesomely close relationship with human urine.
Apparently in blind taste tests, seven in 20 people prefer the taste of sauerkraut that has been made from urine-fertilized cabbage. Which is to say someone peed on the cabbage and then later you ate it, and 35 percent of people think it tastes better than stuff no one peed on.

• Lutefisk
A Norwegian dish made from whitefish and lye, Lutefisk is one of the few foods you can eat that is made from an ingredient that can melt you. If you remember that scene in "Fight Club" when Brad Pitt kisses Ed Norton’s hand and pours powder on it to give him a chemical burn, you have a bit of an idea of what lye in action looks like.
Apparently some industrious Norseman at some point in time ventured to soak fish in water for six days, then soak it in lye to the point where it turns to jelly and would melt your insides out if you ate it, then soak it in water again to decrease some of that horrifying meltiness, and voila. Edible! Seems like such an easy recipe it’s a wonder it’s not served all over the world.

• Pruno
You can’t really expect a prison to offer up the finest in wines, but even by prison standards pruno is kind of disgusting and, according to Wikipedia, is occasionally described as tasting like a "vomit-flavored wine cooler."
Because pruno is made in facilities where alcohol is not allowed and none of the tools to produce it are afforded to anyone, its production is a little more slapdash than your average bottle of Thunderbird. Basically, pruno is made from the remnants of whatever biomatter a felon can get his hands on — fruit salad, oranges, bread or anything that has the ability to ferment.
Once everything is smashed into a bag together, it needs to be kept warm for a few days, and then sugar has to be added. This can be real sugar, ketchup, honey, whatever is handy again, because this recipe is going to be disgusting no matter what. A few more days of being kept warm and voila, you have fermentation. Filter out the chunks of pulp and mold (because there will be mold), perhaps through an old sock, and there you have it, your own glass of awful, awful pruno. Enjoy as you try not to go blind.

Top-10 gross food scenes from the big screen

Westword, the Denver Foodblog, offers their take on the top-10 movies scenes that may cause the viewer to lose their lunch. Edited below.

10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1997)
The turkey is nearly carbonized, the chewing noises are atrocious, Uncle Eddie calls dibs on the neck, and Aunt Bethany puts cat food in the green Jell-O

9. Alive (1993)
A plane carrying a Uruguayan soccer team crashes in the Andes, and in an attempt to survive, the players end up eating the corpses of those who have already perished.

8. American Pie (1999)
Who wouldn’t want to do an apple pie?

7. Animal House (1978)
"I’m a zit, get it?"

6. The Great Outdoors (1998)
The Old 96er," a 96-ounce prime beef that guarantees you and yours a free dinner. Canadians John Candy and Dan Aykroyd shine.

5. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
Another Canadian. Mike Myers as Fat Bastard and that stool sample.

4. Waiting (2005)
The restaurant biz viewed from the kitchen. With Canadian Ryan Reynolds. There’s a pattern here.

3. The Exorcist (1973)
Split pea soup was never the same after little Regan MacNeil and her demons.

2. Hannibal (2001)
Hannibal Lecter’s Silence of the Lambs dinner of liver, chianti, and fava beans sounds downright edible after watching this follow-up flick ten years after he first meets Clarice Starling.

1. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
It’s just a wafer-thin mint, Mr. Creosote.

Poland: ‘We want to live in a country that doesn’t stink’

Poland’s soccer team may suck, but the co-host of the 2012 UEFA Euro championships wants to make sure the toilets sparkle.

Arkadiusz Choczaj, leader of the so-called "Clean Patrol" campaign, told reporters in Warsaw,

"Our toilets are better prepared for these championships than our football players.”

"Clean Patrols", made up of volunteer inspectors dressed in white overalls, recently sniffed around 200 public toilets in six Polish cities slated as Euro 2012 venues or back-ups. The "Clean Patrol" project was co-sponsored by CWS-boco, a sanitary products supplier.

Public potties were rated on accessibility, hygiene, smell and whether toilet paper, soap and hand towels were available.

Just one toilet scored a perfect 100 points, while a three-quarters majority rated 65 points, the basic acceptable standard.

Loos in airports, hotels, restaurants and cafes were rated the highest by both the patrols and tourists surveyed by the independent TNS OBOP pollsters. Poland’s tourist-magnet southern city of Krakow received the highest ratings.

At the bottom of the rankings were a quarter of public restrooms — in train and bus stations, on trains and in camp grounds — rated as danger zones by the patrols and foreign tourists alike.

Jan Orgelbrand, head of Poland’s Chief Sanitary Inspectorate said,

"Regardless of the Euro finals, we have to improve standards because, let’s face it, we want to live in a country that doesn’t stink.”

"Not every football fan or tourist will get to the stadium, but all will visit our public lavatories and their standard speaks about Poland as a nation."

Dancing in the Loo wins, wins, wins at the Gloden Poo awards

Occasional guest barfblogger and handwashing advocate Michéle Samarya-Timm, now with the Somerset County Health Department in central New Jersey – represent – writes:

Usually poo is an undesirable thing. Regular readers know about the focus on poo avoidance – through proper farm-to-fork food handling, through sound regulatory practices, and through increased handwashing. We inform using po(o)p culture. We use humor. We use reality.

And it doesn’t get much more real than this — The International Golden Poo Awards were held in London last week.

Imagine, a red-carpet paparazzi filled evening at a majestic theatre, to view a program full of short animated films about hygiene and poo – culminating in the presentation of a coveted golden statuette. How better to increase awareness of handwashing and heap praise on those who are helping to spread the clean hands message in unique, humorous and gross ways?

Golden Poo Award nominees included:

•    For your convenience

•    Symphony Number Two

•    A Film about Poo

•    Poo in Passing

•    Are you spreading poo?

•    Toilet Plant

And the winner: Dancing in the Loo (above).

The winning videos can be found at

Several of my colleagues already commented that these videos were a little too focused on fecal matter. Perhaps. But as noted in the recent UK study – the perception of gross seems to increase handwashing amongst some audiences.

Handwashing: Making it stick

Your Health columnist Kim Painter wants to know in USA Today tomorrow if the spike in handwashing compliance after SARS hit Toronto in 2003 will be replicated with swine flu in 2009 – and will it last?

In summer 2003, researchers descended on airport bathrooms in the USA and Canada and discovered a dirty truth: More than 20% of restroom visitors left without washing their hands.

But there was one big exception: In Toronto, which had just endured a deadly outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), fewer than 5% of people left dirty-handed. During that outbreak, public health officials had repeatedly urged people to protect themselves by washing their hands.

Doug Powell, a food scientist at Kansas State University, said if changing handwashing behavior was simple, "we wouldn’t have so many people getting sick each year."

The story summarizes handwashing compliance advice for businesses, schools and hospitals as:

•The voice of authority. Just as federal health officials enlisted Obama to endorse handwashing, Dan Dunlop, president of Jennings, a North Carolina marketing company that has designed handwashing promotions for hospitals, has enlisted hospital CEOs and medical chiefs to inspire handwashing in their troops. School principals, PTA presidents and restaurant managers could do likewise, he says.

•The audience. "With younger people, what seems to work is being blunt and gross," Powell says. Powell, who writes at, tells his students that when they eat without washing their hands first, they may be eating feces. (But he uses another word.)

•Social pressure. In one unpublished study, Craig found that petting-zoo visitors who left a barn through a crowded exit washed their hands more often than those who left by a less-crowded door.

•Keeping supplies up. Powell says he hears often about bathrooms in schools, college dormitories and other germ hotspots that lack soap (or paper towel – dp).

Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body

That’s the name of an exhibit set to open yesterday at the South Florida Science Museum and expected to topple previous attendance records.

The Palm Beach Post reports The exhibition is based on a series of books by science teacher Sylvia Branzei whose research found that the average person swallows a quart of snot per day.

Other features of the exhibit include:

• guess the correct sequence of events that sets off barfing at the Vomit Center;

• match horrible odors to their correct source at Y U Stink;

• learn how vibrations of skin around the anus create a fart sound at Toot Toot; and,

• scale a 12-foot wall of pimples, warts and other skin blemishes.

Jennifer Cooper, a science educator at the museum, said,

"This is kind of a learning-in-disguise exhibit. They’re learning without feeling like they’re learning."

And you wonder why we call it barfblog.