February 3, 2013

One Dirty Little Foodie Secret

Remember when you were a kid and your playmates would try to coax you into eating dirt by saying, “God made dirt, so dirt don’t hurt?” Well, according to Shine on Yahoo, one Japanese restaurant took that old rhyme and ran with it. A French place named Ne Quittez Pas (which apparently translates to “Please Don’t Leave”) is serving a meal (complete with appetizer and dessert) all made with — that’s right — dirt.

Ne Quittez Pas has a $110 meal that includes potato starch and dirt soup, salad with dirt dressing, aspic made with oriental clams and a top layer of sediment, a dirt risotto with sautéed sea bass, dirt gratin, and dirt ice cream. If you’re looking for a down and dirty meal, this French establishment in Tokyo has your dirty desires.

Now, obviously, many people (including many of you, dear readers) probably are scrunching your noses, sticking out your tongue, and saying, “Bleck!” right now as you read. I have to say, I am doing a little of that, too. The idea of eating a meal themed around something as base as dirt does not really appeal to me.

Of course, most foods start with dirt whether they are the fruits and veggies that grow and gain nourishment from dirt or the herbivores that eat those and then become grilled dinner or the predators that eat the herbivores that eat the fruits and veggies. However, rarely do humans eat just the dirt. We eat the fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and meats that benefit from the dirt, but not the dirt itself.

So, the question is can humans eat dirt? Well, Rebecca Scritchfield, one Washington, D.C. dietician is not so sure that people should try it out. As Scritchfield said, “Dirt isn’t regulated for human consumption so it’s hard to know the effects it would have on a person…Food gets its nutrients from soil, but one does not eat the actual soil. What’s more, countries have different safety regulations — some people in Scotland eat Haggis which is sheep organs, but that’s illegal to import to the U.S. Protoleaf says their soil is safe to consume, but is it safe to eat by American standards? We don’t know because we don’t really know what’s in it.”

This says to me that maybe I should wait to try those dirty dishes until I know more about where the soil comes from. On the other hand, though, I have traveled to countries where it is common to eat foods and food items I would not dream of ever trying (haggis is one such food from one such country). When I traveled to England, blood pudding or blood sausage was on every menu and served with most breakfasts. Even if I ate meat, I am not sure that I would try that. No offense to those who love it; I respect your love for these foods.

Ultimately, I think that is what I am trying to say about these new dirty foods. I may not venture to Japan anytime soon to try out the grimy menu, but I do not want to lead readers away from it. Epicureans worldwide might find these filthy foods are just the next big foodie thing.

I do believe in making sure what we eat is something that we should eat, but I also say venture out, try something new, and don’t hate on foods that are different from our usual fare. Who knows? Maybe you will enjoy the way that dirt complements the food flavors.

Image Credit: withGod / Shutterstock

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email


Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

Send Rayshell an email