Girl Meets Bug – Where Insects Are the Main Course

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Daniella Martin is the host of a web-based show called Girl Meets Bug, which tries to show viewers just how eco-friendly it is for people to eat insects and worms.

Daniella’s fascination with eating bugs began 10 years ago, while she was doing anthropological work in Mexico. She discovered the Maya used to eat a variety of creepy crawlers, and while feasting on a small bag of chapulines (dry-roasted grasshoppers with lime and chili) in Oaxaca, she noticed street kids gathered around her table and started eating the bugs off the table. This inspired Daniella to dig deeper into the history of insect eating and upon conducting some research she found 80% of the world’s cultures eat bugs.

Ms Martin says “the day that I was introduced to edible insects changed everything” so she decided to become “an edible insect advocate.” She’s eaten dozens of insect varieties so far, and says each of them has its unique taste and texture, but has a long way to go if she wants to experience all the 1,500 types of edible insects currently known to man. “It’s just about culture, you know, thirty years ago, sushi was considered to be very strange…honestly, I think of it as a cultural matrix that’s in our minds and I don’t know what it’s going to take to change American minds,” Martin says about Americans fear of insects, and adds that all bug cuisine needs is good marketing.

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Virgin Eggs – A Chinese Delicacy Soaked in Boys’ Urine

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While anything boiled and soaked in boys’ urine doesn’t sound tasty at all, Virgin Eggs are considered a Spring delicacy, in China’s Zhejiang Province.

In most places, Spring is all about the smell of blooming flowers, but in Chinese cities like Dongyang, the streets reek of urine. No, the smell doesn’t come from drunk people reliving themselves in dark corners and back alleys, but from the large pots of Virgin Eggs. Called tongzi dan (literally “boy egg) they are an old culinary tradition listed as part of the Dongyong cultural heritage, similar to tea eggs – hard boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce and vinegar. The only difference is Virgin Eggs are soaked in urine.

Vendors collect virgin boys’ urine from elementary schools around the city and use it as a main ingredient for their unusual street food. Plastic barrels are placed outside the classrooms and boys are reminded to pee in them, unless they are sick.  The pee is then used to boil eggs, their shell cracked to allow the flavour to slip through, then soaked in urine and boiled again. The whole “cooking” process takes an entire day. I know it sounds disgusting, but some people say they “have the taste of Spring”, while others claim “they’re so delicious that I could eat 10 a day”.

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The Perfect Breakfast – World’s Tallest Pancake Stack

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In a bid to celebrate Pancake Day in a truly memorable fashion, the guys at Food Network UK built the tallest pancake stack ever.

Who doesn’t like pancakes? I must admit I’m a huge fan of the breakfast treat, and often lose count ‘when tackling s syrup-topped stack in the morning, but even I couldn’t hope to eat my way through the pancake skyscraper created by the staff of TV channel Food Network UK. It took 13 hours to create and required 253 eggs, 5 kilograms of flour and 15 liters of milk, but it was all worth it to celebrate Pancake Day. After cooking a whopping 725 pancakes, they somehow managed to stack them into a 32-inch-tall tower that set a new record for the world’s tallest pancake stack.

Nick Thorogood, of Food Network UK said: “One of the greatest aspects of British Food is its tradition and the celebration of events such as Pancake Day. We wanted to celebrate this year’s Pancake Day with something a little different and what better way than to create a giant stack of pancakes!” A fine and tasty choice indeed.

As you can imagine, the giant pancake tower ended up in the bellies of the TV channel bellies, by the end of the day.

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London Restaurant Sells Breast Milk Ice-Cream Called Baby Gaga

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Icecreamists, a London restaurant based in Covent Garden is offering clients the chance to try ice-cream made with real breast milk.

“No-one’s done anything interesting with ice cream in the last hundred years, wanted to completely reinvent it.” says Icecreamists founder, Matt O’Connor. The restaurant specializes in quirky ice-cream flavors, but using breast milk is definitely the weirdest thing they’ve done in their quest to change how people think about ice-cream.

Victoria Hiley, the first woman to donate breast milk for the unique ice-cream, says she was intrigued when she saw the ad on an online forum. People were arguing whether it was for real or not, so she decided to find out. The 35-year-old mother of one ended up selling 30 ounces of breast milk to Icecreamists. Now the restaurant is looking for more women willing to sell them the magical liquid and is offering £15 ($24) for every ten ounces. In case anyone is interested, the milk is extracted using breast pumps.

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Feast on a Bloody Human Heart on Valentine’s Day

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If you were looking to really hand your heart out on a silver platter for Valentine’s Day, Miss Cakehead has just what you need to make it happen.

Miss Cakehead, the mastermind behind the gruesome “Eat Your Heart Out” cake shop, has teamed up with The London Dungeon to offer lovers a real treat, on valentine’s Day. You can forget about red roses and heart-shaped gifts; if you’re visiting London’s most popular scary attraction, you and your loved one will be given heart ventricle cupcakes to feast on while enjoying the Blood & Guts exhibition.If you’re into sweets and gore, this is great news. Just imagine feasting on these delicious-looking desserts and watching a butcher surgeon perform bloody surgery in graphic detail. Now that’s what I’d call a memorable experience.

So if you’re up for a hearty meal, visit The London Dungeon on February 14 for a chance to eat your heart out, literally.

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The 7 Most Delicious Life-Size Car Models You’ve Ever Seen

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Throughout the years I’ve been writing on Oddity Central, I’ve seen some pretty amazing car models built out of the most unusual materials, and edible cars have definitely been among the most impressive. I’ve featured some of them on this blog, and today I thought I’d make a list of the coolest life-size cars made of things you love to eat.

Chococar

This tasty looking thing was created exclusively out of chocolate, and was exhibited in SIngapore’s Royal Plaza on Scotts, back in 2008. The 4.7 meters-long, 2 meters-wide Formula 1 car weighed around 90 kilograms and was made with white, dark and milk chocolate. The design alone took 44 days to complete, and a team of eight chocolatiers worked 7 days and nights on it.

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Colombian Chef Creates Edible Wedding Dresses

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Juan Manuel Barrientos, a talented young chef from Colombia, has created two fully edible wedding gowns and showcased them during the Colombiatex fashion show in Medellin.

Barrieto admits he didn’t know much about fashion, let alone edible fashion, until someone asked him about clothes that you could eat. He started doing some research on the subject and didn’t stop until he was able to create two beautiful wedding gowns exclusively out of edible materials.

Wedding dresses are usually just something pretty for people to look at, so Juan Manuel Barrieto decided to use his newly acquired knowledge to give them a whole new purpose. Instead of just eye-candy for the wedding guests, his beautiful creations are real candy for the groom to enjoy on his wedding night.

The original wedding dresses are made of 2,000 sugar-glazed rose petals and champagne clothe and come with edible accessories such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings made of candy, and a bouquet made of edible flowers.

Barrieto showcased his sugary gowns during a textile fair for professionals that takes place between Januarry 25 and 27, in the Colombian city of Medellin.

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Chocolatier Carves World Heritage Monuments in White Chocolate

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Mirco Della Vechia, one of Italy’s most talented chocolatiers, has created a series of replicas of world heritage monuments carved in white chocolate.

Demonstrating immense talent and patience, Della Vechia has taken huge blocks of chocolate and, using a series of fine carving tools, turned them into sweet models most people would love to sink their teeth into. The Chocolate World Heritage Monuments collection, currently on display at a Hong Kong shopping mall, features white chocolate models of famous landmarks, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, Stonehenge, the Parthenon, or Egypt’s Abu Simbel.

Apart from this incredible collection of chocolate models, Mirco Della Vechia also holds the Guinness record for the largest chocolate sculpture in the world – a 1.5-meter-tall, 2.5-meter-long and 5.37-ton-heavy replica of the Dome of Milan.

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The Edible Masterpieces of Confectioner Jean Zaun

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They might look like common oil paintings, to the untrained eye, but these are actually edible masterpieces created with chocolate and food coloring, by artist Jean Zaun.

57-year-old Jean Zaun has always had a passion for oil painting, but working in her family’s chocolate shop, in downtown Lebanon, Pensylvania, she started getting bored and started experimenting with chocolate as an art medium. “I was literally ‘stuck’ in a puddle of chocolate eight hours a day. This was a coping mechanism to alleviate the boredom of being a candy coater and also remind myself that I was an artist” Jean says about her beginnings as a chocolate painter.

After 22 years of working in a chocolate shop, Jean Zaun has now dedicated herself completely to painting in oil, pastels and chocolate. Using white, dark and milk chocolate, food coloring, sugars and confectionery glaze, she is able to reproduce famous paintings like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, or Edvard Munch’s The Scream, as well as create her own original works. Mrs  Zaun works up to five days on a single painting, after which she encases it in a chocolate frame and covers it with a special glaze.

Although they are made from the world’s most popular sweet, Jean Zaun says her chocolate paintings are to be consumed by the eye, not the stomach. “They are works of art in their own right and are to be kept and cherished as keepsakes”, she adds. That’s easier said than done, especially when you have a sweet tooth and a chocolate painting is the only sugary delight in the house.

Her works have sold for up to $1,440, and they can be found in the private collections of people like Sharon Osbourne or Al Roker, as well as in museums across America.

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Gingerbread Car Is the Sweetest Ride You’ve Ever Seen

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If you thought elaborate gingerbread houses were impressive, wait until you see the life-size gingerbread car a team of chefs have created, in California.

I’ve seen quite a number of gingerbread houses this holiday season, and don’t get me wrong, some of them were pretty cool, but I was definitely looking for something a little more original. Luckily, the chefs at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, California came up with a brilliant idea – create an edible replica of a 1948 Ford Woodie. Unless you’re a big car fan, you’ve probably never heard about this model, but who cares, it’s an edible car!

The 8-foot-long, 6-foot-wide and 5-1/2-foot tall masterpiece was built from 150 pounds of gingerbread, and covered with 300 pounds of royal icing and thousands of M&Ms. Chef Brian Sundeen and his team spent approximately 800 hours working on the gingerbread house, but you can see their efforts paid off, just by looking at the car.

The gingerbread 1948 Ford Woodie will be on display until December 31st, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, after which it will probably broken into pieces and given to children.

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Chinese Artist Creates Edible Model of Shanghai

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Song Dong, one of China’s leading contemporary artist has almost completed a miniature replica of Shanghai City, made out of various sweets. Song apparently has a thing for recreating major cities out of food, as this is the seventh project in his “Eating the City” series, which includes sweet replicas of Barcelona or London. Working with a team of talented food artists, he uses wafers, biscuits, cookies and candy to create edible replicas of Shanghai’s major landmarks.

On Christmas Eve, Song Dong will show his masterpiece to the world, and invite the people to take a bite out of Shanghai, literally. Take a look at the photos below to see how the project is coming along.

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India Displays Most Impressive Cake Ever, in Bangalore

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I’ve always been a big fan of cool cakes, but the one Indian chefs have just created, in Bangalore city, really takes the cake.

Showcased during the 36th Annual Cake Exhibition, the sweet replica of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is definitely this year’s star of the show. It’s made out of approximately five tons of sugar, and at 22 feet long and 14 feet wide, it’s about to enter the record books as the biggest cake ever made in India. A team of chefs and food artists have been working around the clock to get this perfect replica of the iconic Mumbai hotel ready in time for Christmas, as a tribute to the landmark attacked by terrorists, in 2008.

The impressive-looking cake can be admired between December 17 – 27, during the cake show, in Bangalore.

 

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Le Truc – Old School Bus Converted into Restaurant on Wheels

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Le Truc may have started out as a old school bus, but it’s now one of San Francisco’s most popular gourmet restaurants.

Le Truc is the brainchild of Hugh Schick, a talented chef who wanted to offer his customers a truly unique experience. He managed to convert a 1989 Ford Ward School Bus into an ingenious restaurant on wheels that not only unlike any other restaurants you’ve ever seen, but also serves the finest gourmet meals. It’s now painted all-black, with copper accents, instead of the old yellow, and while it still looks like a bus on the outside, the interior has suffered a complete makeover. The original seating has been altered to accommodate 12 guests, skylights have been added, and the back section has been transformed into a kitchen.

According to San Francisco local media, Le Truc is gaining mad popularity and it’s on its way to becoming one of the city’s busiest restaurants. I guess people are curious to know what it’s like to eat fine foods, on a bus. And to prevent long lines outside the bus, Le Truc has a modern electronic order system that allows people to order from the small kiosk outside, and then simply wait for their meal. They’ll even receive a message on their phone or computer, when the order is ready.

Just so you can get an idea of the foods Hugh Schick and his team cook, on Le Truc here are some of their most popular dishes: grilled Portobello mushrooms and ground chicken meatballs, grilled duck breast with dried cherry, dried pear, and pomegranate molasses, as well various savory sandwiches.

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Archaeologists Discover 2,400-Years-Old Bowl of Soup

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While cleaning up an ancient tomb, Chinese archaeologists have discovered a bowl of bone-soup believed to be around 2,400 years old.

The discovery took place in Xi’an city, capital of China Shaanxi province, and scientists are convinced it will provide great insight into the eating habits of the Warring States era. It’s the first time a soup bowl is found with liquid and animal bones still inside. The relic has been sent to a laboratory, where scientists will try to determine what animals the bones belong to, and the composition of the liquid.

The soup might not look very tasty after 2,400 years, but what would you expect the world’s oldest soup to look like? Actually, I might consider a taste rather than eating spare rib soup or bat soup

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“Hunger Pains” – Ted Sabarese’s Food Fashion

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What is the connection between people, what they eat and their cravings? This is the question Ted Sabarese had in mind when imagining his food fashion photography collection called “Hunger Pains’“.

The clothes on each model are completely made out of food and not only that, but they are also an image of that person’s cravings. This collection represents the result of the imagination and hard work of designers Ami Goodheart of SOTU Productions, Daniel Feld and Wesley Nault of Project Runway alongside Ted Sabarese’s creative vision.

Each outfit was thoroughly put together, leading up to long hour of work, as the artichoke dress alone took around 6 hours to finish.

Taking all that into consideration I think it was well worth it, given the end results.

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