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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"They Actually Eat That:" Gelatin.



Admit it: Unless you were raised in a family with a special diet, you have, at one point, eaten Jell-O or some other gelatin product. Perhaps it was not as fancy as the pretty lemon slices up there, but you still had the wiggly stuff. It is also in marshmallows, gummi candies, and Altoids, so there is almost no escape from the almighty gelatin.

Do you really wanna know where it comes from? Really?

OK then. As per Wikipedia, gelatin comes from "...the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated cattle, and pigs." The skins of various animals are the most common ingredient. Horns and hooves are usually not used (although I have heard horror stories from someone who has seen a gelatin factory) and, more recently, fish has been added into the mix to make Kosher gelatin. Not that we can tell.

Gelatin and hot dogs have a lot in common. Both originated as ways to use up parts of the animal that people did not want to eat. One of the oldest types of gelatin, hartshorn, comes from deer antlers, of all things. The discovery of gelatin probably spawned from the strange meat jelly called aspic which...well...how DOES this look appetizing?

This looks more like modern art than something edible.













There are a ton of religious issues that come up around gelatin. For example, Islam and certain Jewish customs forbid eating pork, a very common ingredient in gelatin. Gypsies also have to be careful; certain gypsy practices forbid the eating of horse, which, by the way, is also found in gelatin. Have fun with that image. 

To put it in a different light, animal-derived paste is like rough gelatin. What did we tell you about eating paste?!

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