Food taboos are as universal as food. It stands to reason then that they have helped us through the years in our efforts to avoid killing ourselves. As it turns out, some of the most fascinating food taboos dovetail with another basic human desire–reproduction…
Some Nigerians believe eating yams might make a baby too big to deliver, and eating fish can cause late delivery in Tanzania. Speaking of fish, it may cause a woman to have graceful children (in ancient Jerusalem lore), or an upside down fetus and extra long delivery (in Indonesian tales).
In rural Laos, eating rats is verboten for a woman in the family way, but in western Malaysia, rats, frogs, and other “small” spirits are fine to eat, so long as a husband or close relative does the killing (the baby’s spirit is too weak for larger grub like turtles and anteaters).
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