Weird Foods: Mineral
- Clay (US South): In Georgia & Alabama, in the Southeastern United States, there are rural, generally poor, pockets where eating a particular type of chalky, white clay called "kaolin" is common. People claim to crave it, and it's use is particularly common among pregnant women. They say it settles the stomach. I've even seen it in certain rural food stores sold in baggies.
The persistent consumption of non-food items has a technical term: pica. Eating dirt, clay, etc., is called geophagia.
- Clay (Africa): A special type of clay is eaten by some tribesmen in parts of Africa. The clay is very rich in minerals and is similar to a multi-mineral tablet. Clay for eating is carefully dug and sold in the market-place. This practice is found all over the world, as documented in a 30-minute film made for British TV. The film-makers brought samples to each locale. One woman in Britain liked to buy especially dirty potatoes in order to lick the dirt off them. Many urban people eat laundry starch in place of the clay they used to dig out in the countryside.