Eaten is fast-becoming my favourite indie magazine. First, let’s judge a book by its cover. Eaten is so beautifully put together and is full of the most wonderful illustrations, on looks alone it’s 10/10. But then, the content is just as marvellous. I’ve read issue 11 from cover to cover and now I’m full to bursting with fascinating facts that I feel compelled to offload onto everyone I see.
So, here are five things I learnt from Eaten No. 11.
1. In the early 1900s there was a cult called Cocovorism based on the twin pillars of coconut-eating and nudism.
In a deliciously titled article called ‘Cults, Coconuts & Colonialism,’ (I defy anyone not to be intrigued) writer, Rachel Robey, tells the story of the German aristocrat who started the cult for ‘like-minded nudists,’ and convinced them to shun society, vaccines and non-coconut based food with disastrous results. Brilliantly written, it’s a fascinating story too. Excellent ‘did-you-know’ dinner party fodder.
2. Chairman Mao didn’t like fruit.
I know, I know, this isn’t necessarily that interesting on its own, but the ‘mango madness’ that swept through China as a result is such a wonderfully bizarre story that I don’t want to spoil it! The seemingly far-fetched story is accompanied by actual propaganda posters from the time and the tale includes a mango poem, mango tours and political infighting ‘over who was entitled to an arriving mango.’ It’s a wild story but it also highlights the fear of being perceived as ‘counter revolutionary’ under Mao’s dictatorship.
3. The first British grown pineapple sprouted in Richmond, in 1718.
How did they grow them in Britain in the 1700s, I hear you ask?! Well, there’s a lovely piece by garden historian, Johanna Lausen-Higgins, telling you all about it, as well as her experiences growing pineapples in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, in Cornwall. Lovely.
4. The man behind the US banana trade instigated not one but TWO national coups in Central America.
He was a Moldovan American called Sam Zemurray, and Apoorva Sripathi’s brilliant article tells the tale of his rise and fall, which affected the lives of millions across the Americas. I had a very vague knowledge of so-called ‘banana republics,’ but this piece is an insight into the mass exploitation and violence involved, and the influence of the US companies on foreign governments and now I just want to know more!
5. How to make turtle soup.
Not that this is practically useful in any way, but it is a recipe from an anonymously-penned cookbook from 1859 called The Puerto Rican Cook - or instructions on how to make all kinds of foods, sweets and cakes, in accordance with the precepts of chemistry, hygiene and the special circumstances of the weather and customs of Puerto Ricans.(The title alone brings me joy).Aside from turtle soup, the mag also features useful recipes for fried plantain, creole black beans and ‘papaya candy,’ which I think I’ll have to try for my imminent dinner party/lecture on everything that I have learnt from Eaten No. 11.