1001 Gruesome Facts: The Gross, the Ghoulish and the by Helen Otway

By Helen Otway

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A young Wisconsin factory worker became trapped in a chocolate vat for two hours after he waded into it up to his waist to pull out the plug. Nearly death by chocolate! Raw red kidney beans contain a toxic enzyme called phytohaemagglutinin, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. The beans are made safe to eat by hours of soaking and boiling. Tinned ones are fine! qxd 12/6/07 9:38 am Page 47 47 Fuqi feipian is a Chinese dish that translates as ‘married couple’s lung slices’ and is made of thin slices of spiced cow’s lung, served cold.

The grain used to make the flour was affected by ergot, a hallucinogenic fungus. They were later hanged for doing so. qxd 12/6/07 9:38 am Page 54 54 1001 Gruesome Facts Popular British bar snack pork scratchings are bits of deep fried pig skin… some with hair still attached. Gelatine (also known as E441) is made by boiling up animal skin, cartilage and bone for hours on end. It is added to a range of foods such as gummy sweets and jelly. New York Times journalist William Buehler Seabrook obtained a chunk of fresh human meat from a hospital so that he could cook and eat it for research.

The black stone in the sapodilla fruit has a hook at one end and can stick to the throat if swallowed. Antarctic explorers Douglas Mawson and Xavier Mertz got severe vitamin A poisoning from eating husky liver after they lost their food supplies in a crevasse. Lard is pig fat. Much of the lard sold in supermarkets is treated with bleaching and deodorising agents. Grilled chicken gizzards are a popular street food in many Southeast Asian countries.

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