Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let Them Eat Mud

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti people in the slums can't even afford a plate of rice with the rising food costs and have resorted to desperate measures to fill their bellies, cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. The poor people add some salt and vegetable shortening and bake them in the sun turning them into cookies.

Keebler of the United States and McVities Biscuits in Great Britain are looking into doing a dirt cookie range to appeal to the growing immigrant populations, a keebler spokesman said: "Those people will eat anything."

Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation.
Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

At about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. The price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. (75p) Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5. (£2.50) Most poor people are lucky if they earn $1.0o a day.

Our OBB News reporter sampled a cookie and found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered, it needed some grit, but being British and being used to bad food they weren't that bad.

Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but it can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating. Studing dirt-eating beats digging ditches for a living .

Professor Callahan added: " The cookies still have more nutritional value than a Big Mac so it could be worse."

Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

"I'm hoping one day I'll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these," she said. "I know it's not good for me but at least I look good ."


Zoe said...

huh. pica for everyone. here they just eat box's of cornstarch and laundry soap. maybe i could make so money off a cookie....wanna be my partner? tide does have that new vanilla scent...

warriorwoman said...

I like dirt, I've eaten it occasionally.
Crow I don't like to eat so much.
So if you have some mudcakes can you hook me up????