Preparing Edible Garbage and How to Cook Shoes


“Crazy Shoe Stew” from Cool Songs Collection & Times Table Fun by William Avery. Released: 2007

No doubt, we’ve all had a meal that we found distasteful, inedible and would have just as soon relegated it to the trash.  But, a recipe for “Edible Garbage“?  Seems like an oxymoron to me.  Would you be willing to cook shoes for your family, or whore’s farts? (really!)

A fascinating cookbook in my collection is “The Curious Cookbook:  Viper Soup, Badger Ham, Stewed Sparrows and 100 more Historic Recipes“, by Peter Ross, first published in London in 2012.  Ross delves into historic recipes, whose titles are somewhat confusing at times, if not outright repulsive.

“The Curious Cookbook” by Peter Ross


“You’re not getting me into that soup pot!” (Photo Credit: http://www.ngm.national






Edible Garbage” consists of “fresh garbage” (faire Garbage), chicken heads, feet, livers and gizzards, tossed into a pot with beef broth, pepper, other spices and herbs.  Bread is soaked in the broth and mashed through a strainer, which is then added to the pot.  The recipe dates to 1450.  Despite the name, it really sounds like darn good chicken soup, with the exception of the nebulous “garbage”.

Is this what’s in the recipe for “Edible Garbage”? (Photo Credit: http://www.aginnovators.


“I am not dumpster diving. I’m retrieving ingredients for tonight’s dinner of “Edible Garbage” (Photo Credit: http://www.insightout magazine.






To Cook Shoes” is a recipe that just begs to be investigated.   Not to be taken literally, of course, however, allegedly in 1980, a documentary film was made, which depicted director Werner Herzog eating his shoe, as part of a promise he made if Errole Morris ever completed the film “Gates of Heaven“.  Supposedly the film was completed and Herzog honoured his promise, boiling up his shoes with the assistance of Alice Waters at her restaurant, Chez Panisse and eating one before an audience.

Of course this man can’t eat this shoe…it’s still raw! (Photo Credit: http://www.dreams


He did, however, explain that he would not eat the sole of the shoe, as that would be akin to eating chicken bones.  However, in “The Curious Cookbook“, “To Cook Shoes” (1545)  involves a “rumpe of beife“, boiled with cabbage, a few birds including partridge, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Where the “shoe” enters the picture is unknown, but perhaps the beef was so overcooked that it had the texture of leather.

“I should have consulted the Sommalier…I just don’t know if red or white is appropriate” (Photo Credit: http://www.    canstock photo.      com)

Some of the recipes just can’t be envisioned, including “Butter Roasted on a Spit” (1615).


“Butter Roasted on a Spit”. Sounds messy to me. (Photo Credit: http://www.foodhistory jottings.blogspot.      com)

I scoffed at a recipe for “Dried Instant Vinegar for Travellers” (1615), until I found a modern ad for dried vinegar, but whether the ability and knowledge was available in 1615 to produce such an item I have to question.

There is such a thing as “dried vinegar”, but did the cooks and alchemists know how to produce it in 1615? (Photo Credit:








Also picturesque is “Whore’s Farts” (1653), which is fritter batter, and when squeezed into hot oil from a syringe made some rather melodious sounds.

Something resembling this was “Whore’s Farts”, a most unappetizing sounding food. (Photo Credit:


I find it hard to picture “Artificial Asses Milk Made with Bruised Snails“, no matter how long I concentrate (1747), and I don’t particularly want to envision “Lips, Noses, Udders, Ox-Eyes and Sparrows on Toast” (1660).

“Excuse me, but you’re adding my milk to what?” (Photo Credit: http://www.modern

“Fly, fly….he’s got the toaster out!” (Photo Credit: http://www.travis

Who, however, could resist “Rabbits with Jaw-Bone Horns, a Bunch of Myrtle in Their Mouths and a Frothy Liver Sauce” (1800) Yum.

During Medieval times, longevity and storage was important, thus recipes such as “A Ketchup What Will Last You Twenty Years” (1747), courtesy of Hannah Glasse, which sounds like a fine Remy Martin Cognac, appropriately aged to perfection,  or “A Barrel of Tripe to Take to the East Indies“, which should survive a nine month journey across tropical seas (1747).  Opening the barrel must have been an olfactory experience to match none.

“Just because the ketchup container exploded doesn’t mean it’s spoiled, does it? After all, it’s only been 18 years!” (Photo Credit:

So, run, don’t walk to your bookstore and get a copy of “The Curious Cookbook” and cook up a mess of “Poisonous Purple Pears“, “Asparagus Coffee” (really!), and “Imitation Entrails(who would want imitation, when you can have the real thing!)



My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,500. What next? More shelves?
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3 Responses to Preparing Edible Garbage and How to Cook Shoes

  1. Wende says:

    Good. It would really kill my cholesterol count too. What will they think of next :::smh::::?

  2. Hi Wende. We are well, thanks for asking. Don’t worry about being served shoes at our house. We had that last week and are fresh out of shoes for now!

  3. Wende says:

    Hi Sue, hope you and the hubby are well. Remind me if I’m ever invited to your house for a meal, to ask which cookbook you are cooking from. Out of 5,787 cookbooks I’m hoping I’m not coming on the week you decide to cook out of this one. Well I guess I could handle roasted butter on a spit if I had a side of popcorn. Edible Garbage is definitely making Old Bay oatmeal sound better already.

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