Ever bite into something and think “damn, this tastes like cardboard and industrial chemicals!”? Well, if you ate some buns from the Chaoyang district of Beijing, you’d be scarily correct:

BEIJING – Chopped cardboard, softened with an industrial chemical and flavored with fatty pork and powdered seasoning, is a main ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in one Beijing neighborhood, state television said.


“What’s in the recipe?” the reporter asks. “Six to four,” the man says.

“You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?” asks the reporter. “Fatty meat,” the man replies.

The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.

Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda — a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap — then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.

I think we’ll pass on asking this guy to participate in Shaker Gourmet.


Filed under 03_misty

27 responses to “yummy

  1. I recall reading a story about people eating cardboard prepared with lye and lard during the Great Depression.

    So, this isn’t such a unique situation.

  2. NameChanged

    blegh…I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  3. Arkades

    Squares of cardboard picked from the ground

    Wow. So it’s not even fresh, clean cardboard!

    Not that it would make it OK if it *were* fresh, mind you. But the fact that it’s trash makes it even more revolting. Recycling is good, but, seriously…. ewwwww.

  4. oddjob

    Damn, that’s something out of The Jungle!

  5. oddjob

    Granted, as long as it’s not laced with carcinogens the cardboard probably isn’t really harmful (just indigestible “fiber”), but still!

  6. Yuck, that makes Soylent Green sound like something from Whole Foods.

  7. Doktor Wankenstein

    Didn’t Charlie Chaplin cover this material already in The Gold Rush?

  8. This is why I won’t eat at Chili’s.

    Seriously, everything on their menu tastes like salty cardboard.

  9. DBK

    Know what I had for lunch? Leftover lentils and rice from my dinner last night. I used red lentils and brown rice. The rice was simmered in salted water and I cooked the lentils in vegetable broth with two small tomatoes chopped in and seasoned with cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger, hot sauce (made by a friend’s father), dried thyme, salt, pepper, and chili powder. I added diced potato for the last fifteen minutes of cooking and, in the last five minutes, I added broccoli, bell pepper, and carrots. When it was all done, I mixed the rice and lentils together in a stew. It was so delicious at dinner that I almost couldn’t keep myself from eating it all and leaving me with no leftovers for lunch.

    For lunch I ate my lentils and rice and followed that with a kiwi (95% of your daily vitamin C requirement). Between the stew and kiwi, I had more than half of my daily fiber and a large portion of all the nutrients I need to get through a day.

    Why am I telling you this? To encourage you all to cook for yourselves and make healthy, delicious food. The entire dinner and lunch cost about $2.00 and it took about fifteen to twenty minutes of actual attention during the cooking. I had to wash two saucepans plus the bowl and spoon after dinner.

    I know this doesn’t really address the point of the posting, but it wouldn’t hurt for folks to think more about what they eat and how easy and healthy and delicious your own cooking can be. Avoid Rachel Rae-style recipes; they depend a lot on prepared food products, which means you have much less control over the quality, and she really doesn’t save you any time compared to, for instance, what I just described cooking.

  10. Better keep this article away from the fast food chains. You wouldn’t want them getting any ideas.

  11. many food manufactures have included ingredients from China and I second what DBK says. COOK YOUR OWN FOOD!

    My husband and I cook our own food exclusively. We frequent local Farmers Markets for vegetables, eggs, organic meats (yes, they even sell those as well!) Fruits….it’s a Sunday ritual to visit the Market.

    We usually whip up dinner in less then 30 minutes using all fresh and whole ingredients. (huge Nod to Nigella Lawson for her kick ass recipes and love of food—and Alton Brown who prefers to make just about everything himself!)

    Often, we look to ethnic recipes as well for quick, easy meals that taste wonderful.

    Cooking daily is a habit to get into, but once you do it it’s really hard to turn back. I love it when my Daughter comes home from friends houses and says, “Ahh, It’s so nice to have a good home cooked meal instead of icky fast food or boxed mac & cheese!”

  12. Erm, i guess that’s one way to get your fiber. *cringe*


  13. DBK


    One cup of cooked lentils provides 15 grams of fiber. 21 grams of fiber a day significantly reduces your risk of coronary heart disease. The average American consumes less than ten grams of fiber per day.

    Check out whfoods.com for vast amounts of nutritional information, as well as recipes (some of which did NOT work for me, so I can’t recommend the recipes). Read the whfoods list there and see which foods provide the greatest benefits. It is not a vegetarian site and I am not a vegetarian trying to convert people.


    They’ve got lots of nice, fresh Salinas Valley spinach for you in my neck of the woods.

  15. DBK, I think Lindsay was referring to the cardboard when she made the “fiber” comment, not your lentil recipe. Which I’ll probably try, minus the bell peppers since they make me retch.

  16. Heh. DBK, i was being somewhat goofy in the thing about the fiber. I’ll spare you the details, but the health issues i have require me to eat more fiber than the average person. The bowl of bran crunchies i have for breakfast alone provides me with 30g of fiber (based on the nutritional label and the fact that i usually have twice the recommended amount specifically for fiber intake reasons). My husband makes small bran muffins for me which i take to work for snacks when i get peckish.

    And no worries, i’ve been on the internet WAY too long to have any interest in participating in a meat vs veggie debate. 😉

  17. DBK

    I got that you were going for the funny. I was just using it to make a point. Again. Because I’m boring that way.

    I’m not a big fan of manufactured products with added fiber, but if you need so much fiber in your diet that you have to have 30 grams at breakfast then you’re into something with which I am unfamiliar.

    On my current food-style I get so much fiber I could probably pass a cinderblock.

  18. Susan

    Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in. My former mother-in-law had that recipe. It was called Christmas dinner.

  19. DBK – roffles on the cinderblock. So long as i don’t see it on YouTube, more power to ya. Hehehe.

    I have chronic pain issues that seem to stem from the fact that i have a highly irregular digestive system. Before my bran-is-tasty-and-helpful discovery, it was not uncommon for me to poop once, maybe twice a week (apologies if that’s TMI). With this amount of bran, my chronic pain is lessened, i have more energy, and i’m more regular.

    (Oh, and my original response was to the cardboard pork buns, not to your first comment about the lentils. I ate way too many lentils as a child to really appreciate them as an adult, but your recipe still sounds tasty. Not sure if there was any confusion on that point, wanted to clear it up in case there was.)

  20. Rhiannon

    Well…. they’re getting fiber at least…. though surely eating grass and leaves would be more effective.


  21. oddjob

    Depends on the grasses and the leaves…… 😉

  22. Wow. So it’s not even fresh, clean cardboard!
    Honey, it would take some kind of bacteria to survive a bath in caustic soda. Doubt it improves the taste though.
    We used to use that stuff to wash down the paintwork on board ship. DON’T SPLASH IT IN YOU EYES!

    And it was Chaplins shoe sole that was the great delicacy.

  23. Mama Shakes

    Mmmmm, my mouth is watering now!

  24. Lindsay,
    One remedy you might consider is Turmeric powder. I have just begun taking it on the advice of a doctor for chronic pain. It is well known in Ayurvedic medicine. While it may not help, it is unlikely to do any harm.

  25. Her standard advice for dosage (she gave me a printed sheet) is 1-2 tsp twice per day. I found it was fine to mix into hemp milk, she said some people mix it with honey as well.

  26. oops, just 1 tsp 2x per day. I went and checked, and didn’t want to leave bad advice.

  27. Golden milk, golden milk, how I love my golden milk!

    saute 1 tsp turmeric in 2 tbs veg oil until it turns red, add a quart of milk and warm, add honey to taste.

    yummy, and good for your joints and pain and helps you sleep if taken before bed …

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