Weird Old Book Finder

Clive Thompson has made a wonderful little site called Weird Old Book Finder, where you can input a search term and get a random old book in return. I tried searching for “food” and was presented with this mouthful of a title from 1859: “The Curiosities of Food; or the Dainties and Delicacies of Different Nations Obtained from the Animal Kingdom” (Google Books) The gist of it is: if an animal exists, someone has made good eatin’ out of it. It reads like some explorer has traveled the world and eaten his way through a list of exotic and endangered animals. Elephant’s paw? Yes, please! Here’s a taste:

The armadillo, remarkable for its laminated shell, when baked in its scaly coat is a good treat, the flesh being considered delicate eating, somewhat like a rabbit in taste and colour. The flesh of the large twelve-banded Brazilian one (Dasypus Tatouay) is said to be the best of all. In South America there are several species of armadillo, all of which are used for food when met with.