6 Bizarre Reasons Famous Foods Were Banned
Everyone loves food, except for breatharians, who are lying sacks of garbage. You can't live on air! You crazy! But aside from those nutters, the rest of us enjoy sitting down for a nice johnnycake or some gherkins. Mmm, that's filling.
You'd figure, of all our myriad freedoms, the freedom to eat would be one that almost goes without saying, one you take for granted, because who could possibly give a happy horseshit what you cram into your maw? Turns out all kinds of people care. Just look at Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who, after being touched by Dr. Pepper as a child, went on a soft drink rampage to prevent everyone in New York from ever drinking them again. And it doesn't end there! It goes on! In this article!
Olestra was set to be a miracle food when it appeared in the 1990s, a fat-free substance that could take the place of real fat in snacks foods, thus allowing you to eat like some manner of Hutt while never growing to vast Porkins proportions. The FDA approved olestra in 1996 because it seemed pretty much super safe for humans.
Among the super-safe side effects of olestra was a five-fold increase in diarrhea compared to people eating natural fats. During one eight-week study, subjects who ate 32 grams of Olestra per day, the amount you'd get in 3 ounces of chips, were running an even gamble on the squirts -- a full half of participants ended up with diarrhea.
Olestra's big side effect in terms of sex appeal was anal leakage and staining of the underwear. Thanks to greasy, hard-to-wipe fecal matter (I didn't even choose those words, that's like a scientific observation), eating olestra could lead to back door streakage. Plus it had the potential for leakage of greasy ass resin out of the ol' sphincter. It's a pretty unwholesome package when you put it all together, and it basically suggests that olestra, while fat- and calorie-free, was going to make you shit yourself one way or another. No fat goes in, something is definitely coming out.
Canada ending up banning olestra, as did several European countries, thanks to Proctor & Gamble not being able to prove that it was particularly safe. This, accompanied by the widespread news that eating it would make you drop an oily horror in your trousers, pretty much killed the product completely, although you can still hunt it down if you're in the mood for a well-lubricated snack food experience.
Samosas are a pretty delicious food popular in Asia and Africa that's basically a fried pastry with either vegetables or meat and spices inside. Think of a Hot Pocket minus the shame. Generally they're folded in such a way as to be triangular, because eating pointy things is where it's at.
Since you can get samosas with nothing but veggies, and you can bake them if you'd prefer that to fried, and they're often homemade and contain pretty good ingredients, it's hard to think there'd be any reasonable grounds to ban them at all and, of course, you'd be right. This is about as reasonable as pooping in someone's mail box.
In Somalia, a militant Islamist group called al-Shabaab, which loosely translates to "the fucktarded," banned the sale, production, or consumption of samosas because of the shape. Triangles, you see, are three-sided. What else is three-sided? Nope, not a penis, it's the Holy Trinity! Samosas are therefore terrifyingly Christian and not to be trifled with. And it stands to reason that if you're trying to be all shithouse rat crazy with your outlandish interpretations of religion, then God knows you can't abide a pastry all jammed to its triumvirate gills with Jesus and crew. You take a bite, get some chicken, some potato, some cumin, and then a big, fatty Holy Spirit stuck in your teeth. The next thing you know, you're thinking the pope makes a lot of sense and Christmas trees are lovely. Who needs that shit?
Reports came out after the story broke that the group really banned the samosas because of a health risk associated with bad meat being used. Of course they could have just banned the use of bad meat instead of one particular type of food that may or may not have contained it, but what the hell do I know?
The French are known for a lot of things -- fries, toast, kissing, and also being intolerant assholes. No offense, French friends, but you guys have a bad rep in the world. And this story isn't going to make it any better. Because "If you can't be a pompous asshole, you're doing something wrong" seems to be the motivation for a lot of stories that come out of France, the French decided to enact a ban on ketchup in public schools -- children would no longer be able to enjoy the sauce at lunch time. No more of the old Red Nectar, as no one calls it. The Heinz spigot was shut off.
Health concerns have nothing to do with the ketchup ban and, arguably, ketchup is a lot less harmful than most things you could eat. The true reason for the ban was to preserve Frenchness. In covering food in ketchup, kids weren't experiencing the true wonder of French cuisine. Ketchup masks the taste of food, and kids would be losing out on this hallowed, revered, and much-loved classic French cafeteria staple that we all know so well.
Imagine the cultural impact of a generation of children growing up unable to fully appreciate fromage a la cardboard or pomme du poubelle. It's kind of terrifying when you think about it. Just think of what you lost in your own childhood, eating corn dogs and denying yourself the experience of a pure, unadulterated microwaved wiener on a stick, the way our ancestors enjoyed them at feasts.
Durian fruit was only fairly recently introduced to North American consumers, and it's still very much a niche product. You probably won't find it at your corner store, but some Asian markets will carry them, usually frozen, along with various durian-flavored snacks. The fruit itself looks like the hell-born bastard cousin of a coconut; a large, spiky monster of a thing that, inside, contains creepy, fleshy something or other that is said to be supremely delicious. It is also said to smell like ass steeped in Gerard Depardieu B.O. and hatred.
Travel writer Richard Sterling once described durian as "pig shit, turpentine, and onions, garnished with a gym sock," so you don't need to take just my word for how rancid this stuff is. And while you and I can easily avoid this stank, since we have a lack of durian trees around most parts of the Western World, the same is not true in Asian countries where the little shitballs grow in the wild.
In Southeast Asia, durians are banned in many public places, such as airports, taxis, and hotels. The reason is solely and completely due to its asstastic odor. This is both hilarious and sad at the same time, and also makes one question why there's even a market for something that smells so vile, especially when the taste is described as being a lot like the smell, only sweet. Oh, it's sweet pig shit in a sock full of old man crotch -- well then, scoop some up for me!
Four Loko and Assholism
Four Loko arrived to make the world a better place in the year 2005. Has it been so long? It was like someone took the worst kind of Kool-Aid and included an abundance of alcohol and caffeine in it. It was pretty amazing. A Four Loko's alcohol content was significantly higher than something like a beer -- in fact, it was like drinking several beers, and the caffeine kind of offset the depressing drunkenness by making you jittery and wired, and you continued to spiral closer and closer to an alcohol-induced coma.
The problem with Four Loko was not so much that it was a caffeinated beverage with alcohol in it, despite what the official word was -- alcohol and caffeine together is kind of an old concept, and you can still do rum and Coke or Red Bull and vodka whenever you feel like laughing while you cry in the gutter. The bigger issue was that Four Loko is a douchebag bro drink. College campuses across America were being littered with underage twats, hats turned backward, blacked out and confused, covered in their own urine, as the Four Loko storm swept everyone up. Chugging Four Lokos became the cool thing to do because they were dangerous. The stuff tastes like Third World cough syrup, so no one was drinking it because of the easy sipability or anything -- it was just the image. More bros drank it, more bros blacked out, rumors of seizures and alcohol poisoning and deaths crept into the world, and next thing you know, The Man is cracking down on Four Loko like it was a televised nipple slip out to destroy the fabric of society.
As the ban was instituted, Four Loko was forced to reformulate. This created a fun black market for old-style Four Loko, because if you tell people the shit they're drinking will make them black out, you'd better believe they're going to want to drink even more of it. Stores upped the prices, and people began selling it on eBay and Craigslist, and the blessed blackouts continued unabated.
Absinthe is one of the most legendary drinks known to man. It carries an air of mystery about it, a sense of sophistication, the kind that can only come from being so shitfaced that the things you do in that shitfaced state are considered art.
The infamous muse of such luminaries as Oscar Wilde and Vincent Van Gogh, absinthe tastes like the floor of a hospital and is green. It also contains a compound called thujone, which is why it was banned in so many places around the world. See, thujone, derived from the wormwood in absinthe, messes you up, dawg. It causes hallucinations, a kind of lucid drunkenness that would make you experience all manner of awesomely creative stuff. It'd turn you into a Romantic artist in no time -- you'd be spouting all this esoteric poetry and painting sounds and bohemian types would think you were so deep, you don't even realize. Basically every white chick on Earth with dreadlocks would want to bone you. Except none of that is true.
Turns out absinthe doesn't actually cause hallucinations, and likely never did. Thujone just isn't a hallucinogen, and they make it the same today as they did back when the artsy-fartsy crowd was down with sucking back on it. It is 85 percent ethanol, however, and will probably kill you faster than a Pabst, and likely gave everyone who drank it a wicked buzz. Combine that with a bunch of already artistically inclined, self-important blowhards drinking it and claiming it's a mind-bending experience and you have a nice setup for other people pretending it took them to far-off lands as well.
Around the turn of the last century, with the temperance movement coming into fashion, absinthe took a boot to the jubblies, thanks to its reputation as the craziest of crazy boozes, and countries all around the world cracked down on it. Effectively they succeeded in banning a product only guilty of tasting like shit, which can't be grounds for a full-on ban, because if it were, then the world would be free from the tyranny of canned peas.