Eat This—Not That
You may have noticed that quite a few books have been published lately about what to eat. Examples include Eat This, Not That, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and My Very First Book of Food. These sorts of publications make it evident even to the untrained eye that there is a very great need for education about which things are edible and which are not. Since our eyes are altogether other than untrained, we have put together this elementary guide to edibility, which we hope may help our readers distinguish food from non-food.
Lesson 1: Most Inorganic Substances Are NOT Edible
While it’s true that there are some inorganic substances we can safely eat,1 the bulk of our diet should consist of organic materials. This means that the first thing we need to figure out, when faced with a potential food, is whether the potential food is or is not carbon based. While not perfect, a good rule of thumb is to stick to parts of plants, dead animal tissue, and doughnuts.2
Lesson 2: Do Not Eat Sharp, Pointy Objects
Whether organic or inorganic, sharp or pointy objects should NOT be eaten.3 This includes nails, harpoons, and dinosaur teeth and applies even to metallophages. Instead, choose food that is rounded, flat, or amorphous. Or, if you really like the taste of something that happens to be sharp, then invest in an appropriate grinder.4
So next time you’re out there in the real world, trying to figure out whether something is food or not, just remember these two lessons: don’t eat the inorganic, and stay away from the sharp and pointy.