May 20, 2006

A pastry made of warts?

To most people, the notion of recycling human tissues into consumer products would be both fascinating and disturbing. In Fight Club, the characters use discarded human fat from a liposuction clinic to make designer soap. As they say, they are "selling rich women their own fat asses back to them." And of course, who can forget that crazy kid in your neighborhood when you were growing up who, rather than opening a lemonade stand, would peel the dried scabs off his knees and sell them as beef jerky. On a recent trip to the Beijing Wal-Mart, I came upon this delicacy in the baked goods section. You might have already seen it in your local grocery. It's a pastry known simply as the Wart Coil.

From what I can tell, directly below the "W" on the package are two close-up pictures of someone's plantar wart. "They must have recycled patients' warts from the dermatologist's office and concocted this delicious medicinal pastry", I thought to myself when I saw it. Why warts, and why coil them up?

For any students of Chinese language that may be reading, you may find it interesting that the Wart Coil is labeled as "肉松卷" rather than "人疣卷". I believe that this difference can be attributed to the local Beijing dialect. From the pastry's packaging, we can safely deduct that "肉松" must be the way that "疣" is called in Beijing. These types of details in the study of Chinese regional dialects are very fascinating.

Prior to ingesting the Wart Coil, I decided to perform a dissection so I could learn more about it. Here's a closer look at the surface of it:

Mmm, looks tasty, doesn't it? Why this treat hasn't replaced the Twinkie yet is anybody's guess. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the bulk of the Wart Coil is essentially a hot dog bun that's been partially covered with something like the pink slime from Ghostbusters II.

Needless to say, I couldn't work up the nerve to even taste it and I ended up chucking it in the trash.


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