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"Ampo" -- The Snack Made from Dirt

People in the Indonesian village of Tuban like to eat "ampo" -- a snack literally made from dirt:

Although there is no medical evidence, villagers believe the soil snacks are an effective pain-killer and pregnant women are encouraged to eat them as it is believed to refine the skin of the unborn baby.

There is no real recipe: makers of the snack use a wooden stick to pound the soil into a hard, solid mass.

Rolls of dirt are then scraped off the with a bamboo dagger, baked and smoked in large clay pot for half and hour and then they're ready to serve.


The food is said to have a "cool, creamy texture."

Link and Gallery via The Presurfer | Photo: Reuters

I've heard of things like this before. Not saying that this is the case but there is a disorder called Pica that causes people to eat things that have no to little nutritious value. (could be wrong) But this particular case seems to exhibit Geophagy or Geophagia. Look here for more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geophagy
or google the term
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Pre-earthquake Haiti

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080130-AP-haiti-eatin.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3337cj4sJQ
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@jmercier76
Yes, I believe this dirt snack would have strong roots in pica.
Pica is most prevalent amongst children and pregnant women. Pregnant women with pica are particularly inclined towards eating dirt.
There is a theory that there are certain nutrients in dirt that pregnant women are often deficient in, causing them to develop cravings for dirt. It is something that appears to be innate, even if it is technically a pathology.
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Pica is seen with iron deficiency anemia. It is plausible that if an entire village had little iron (poor red meat intake) then this could well become a popular snack. Many hematologists include pica (ice chip eating) on their intake survey as it can be sensitive for picking up iron deficiency.
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Dirt eating is common in cultures that suffer from famine, malnutrition, and diarrhea. Dirt is nature's pepto-bismol, and many people who do not have access to doctors and drugs would die without it.
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@Alex

I think it's more like one guy saying "Daaaaamn, I'm so hungry, I could eat a ball of dirt", and another guy saying "Hey, that's not bad, but I can make it taste better!"
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People fail to realize that the things we call "food" today are seriousel;y lacking in any nutritional value. Humans did not evolve eating campbell's soup and vegetables or chicken fried steak. We evolved literally eating the world around us. Now that people have a craving or need for the nutrients in clay, we're all stymied. mystified..can't fathom why anyone would want to eat nutrient rich dirt. uh..maybe because the daily diet of humans today is the equivlant of eating paper and salt formed in the shape of food. Clay is nutrient rich in ways "food" is not. by the time veggies reach the grocer they've lost most of thier nutritional value. Same with meat. when the body is low on a nutrient it needs to sustaion itself people experience cravings. and you'll eat what you can until that craving is sated. cravings are your body's way of saying "try that there maybe it has the vitamin i don't have."
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hi, I am from Indonesia, ampo famous for people who are pregnant because in Indonesia they like to eat spicy food, and ampo is spicy food, you try to eat and taste the delicacy of this ampo... :-)
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