10 Weird-but-true Food Facts

Mellified Man: It's the Taste of Nuts and Honey
The historical and prehistoric consumption of "long pork" spans the globe and reaches back to the caves of the Neanderthal. Rest assured that these days people mostly just stick to eating plain old honey. grafvision/iStock/Thinkstock

While Europe was enduring the long intellectual Dark Ages that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Muslim world was experiencing a flourishing golden age of intellectual and cultural achievement. But if, as philosophers have long contended, we can judge a culture's character by what it eats, then here's one honey of an "Oh boy, I think I'm going to be sick."

The recipe is simple: Take one elderly Arabian fellow, feed him nothing but honey, wait until he dies and then bury him ... in more honey. Allow the man to marinate for 100 years, then dig him up and sell the "mellified man" (from the Latin "mel" for honey) in your local grand bazaar for a substantial stack of coins [sources: Horrible Histories; Roach].

Was mellified man a real thing? It was recorded in a 16th-century Chinese pharmacopeia, Li Shizhen's "Compendium of Materia Medica," but even the person who recorded it admitted it was hearsay at best [source: Heater]. Like most honeyed words -- and a nice caramel -- it's probably best taken with a grain of salt.