Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cooking With Poo, and Lots of Sand Dredging

Being in a silly mood recently, I was looking at Buzzfeed and found a small item on the strangest book titles.

The winner was called "Cooking With Poo" which honestly doesn't sound that appetizing. I had to wonder if restaurants did this, the health authorities would certainly disapprove.

I thought maybe the book was a takeoff on the Food Network show "Chopped" in which chefs must make delicious meals out of strange ingredients, but I doubt even TV would go as far as Poo.

On the other hand, my dog Jackson goes out in the yard and tries to eat the poo left by the flock of wild turkeys that keep wandering by. But that's another story.

Luckily,  if you read the fine print, "Cooking With Poo" is a Thai cookbook, and the word "poo" means "crab"

So, we're really cooking with crab, which is another, much better thing altogether. We can all take a big sigh or relief now. And I do feel sorry for the author, who is probably a very good cook and is getting picked on for her book she innocently titled, and we all have a middle school mentality.

It turns out that the "Poo" cookbook and many other bizarre titles are the subject of a contest. The Diagram Contest has for years honored, if you can call it that, strange book titles, according to an article in the Telegraph of London. 

I was especially taken by one of the runners up in the list of silly titles. It's called "A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel, Volume II."

Volume II!?!?!?   There's that much to say about digging sand out of a channel? The book, running all of 128 pages, is probably for those people who have insomnia and are loathe to take sleeping pills. I'd read the book to see if there's anything to say, other than people dig sand out of channels.

Maybe there's hilarious stories of people, um, spilling sand on themselves? Accidentally getting sand grains in their sandwiches during lunch? Building elaborate sand castles? Do they use little plastic shovels and buckets to do their work, like a toddler at a beach? Maybe this is interesting after all. Or not.

Past winners of the Diagram awards have been intriguing to say the least. The first year of the awards, in 1978, the big winner was "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice." I wonder if this international workshop goes on to this day.  And are nude mice a problem or something to be celebrated.

Other winners include:

1986: "Oral Sadism and The Vegetarian Personality." I never realized vegetarians have so much fun, so to speak.

1990: "Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual." This sadomasochism seems to be a recurring theme in the Diagram Awards. I'm glad there's a safety manual, though. I support anything that keeps health care costs down.

1994: "Highlights in the History of Concrete": Hey, concrete is partly made from sand. I bet a new book, a collaboration of the guy who wrote the sand dredging book would be interesting.

2002: "Living With Crazy Buttocks" I'd commit suicide inside if I had crazy buttocks, whatever that is.

2004: "Bombproof Your Horse" Because there's nothing worse than an exploding equine.

2006: "The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification": Oooh! Look, a rare Target cart in that ditch near the Interstate interchange. Get a photo before it disappears!

2007: "If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs."  Good advice!

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