Butterflies, Rattlesnake Rattles and More
From butterflies to severed rattlesnakes, some of the world's most famous people have eaten some pretty strange things. CBS News got the skinny on bizarre eating habits from Matthew Jacob, co-author of the new book What the Great Ate: A Curious History of Food & Fame
Angelia Jolie Ate Cockroaches - and Approved
Angelina Jolie reportedly praised a Cambodian delicacy she once ate as a "high-protein snack food." It was otherwise known as cockroach. She survived, of course, but food scientists say eating live cockroaches is not a good idea.
Credit: Wm Jas/Flickr; AP
No Froot Loops for Saddam
Saddam Hussein loved Raisin Bran Crunch cereal, according to "What the Great Ate." One morning, when soldiers brought a different cereal, the captured dictator protested: "No Froot Loops!"
Saddam may have been on to something: With 12 grams of sugar and 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving, Froot Loops isn't the healthiest cereal (though the loop that eventually got Saddam didn't come in a box).
"Eating a high-fiber cereal will keep you regular and help lower your cholesterol," says Marisa Sherry, MS, RD, a New York City-based dietitian.
Credit: Theimpulsivebuy/Flickr; U.S. Library of Congress
Elvis: 800 Miles for a Sandwich
According to lore, Elvis Presley once flew more than 800 miles just to eat a sandwich. But not just any sandwich: The "Fool's Gold" was an entire loaf of bread hollowed out and stuffed with peanut butter, grape jelly, and a pound of bacon.
Eating such fatty foods didn't do the King's waistline any favors, though drugs did him in before obesity had a chance to. He died in Memphis in 1977.
Credit: Spicks and Specks/YouTube; Ollie Atkins/U.S. Government
Mint Nix for Alexander the Great
According to "What the Great Ate," Alexander the Great banned his soldiers from chewing on mint leaves, fearing they would become sexually excited and unable to fight effectively.
Believe it or not, he was right to believe that some foods are aphrodisiacs - though he may have gotten his spices confused.
Seeds of allium tuberosum (garlic chives) have been shown to have sex-boosting properties - at least in rats, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Credit: Kham Tran/Wikipedia; Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Amelia Earhart's Stressful Breakfasts
Everyone knows breakfast is important, but Amelia Earhart's manager-husband insisted that she sign 10 autographs before having her orange juice - and sign 15 more before having her bacon and eggs, says the book.
Stress at breakfast probably isn't much fun, but Marisa Sherry, MS, RD, a New York City dietitian, says an occasional meal of one or two eggs and a serving of low-fat, low-sodium bacon is probably safe for take-off.
Credit: David Benbennick/Wikipedia; Scott Bauer/USDA; Renee Comet/National Caner Institute; U.S. Library of Congress
Henry Ford's Sugar Phobia
Henry Ford, says Matthew Jacob, feared the sharp crystals of granulated sugar would cause internal bleeding in his stomach.
Certain painkillers, including aspirin, can lead to stomach bleeding. But sugar? No way.
Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos; Hartsook/U.S. Library of Congress
Did Canned Apricots Put Edmund Hillary Atop Everest?
Before summiting Mount Everest, legendary explorers Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were said to have dined on chicken noodle soup and canned apricots. Then, Norgay buried pieces of chocolate in the snow as tribute for the gods.
No word about its godliness, but chocolate does contain heart-healthy antioxidants
Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos; Kete Horowhenua /Horowhenua Historical Society Inc.
Joe Louis Sipped Cow Blood
To help prepare Joe Louis for a match, the boxer's trainer sometimes took him to Chicago's stockyards to drink blood fresh from the slaughterhouse.
Did it help?
"Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, including protein and carbohydrates, is the best way to enhance performance," says Marisa Sherry, MS, RD, a dietitian in New York City.
There's scant research on the health benefits of drinking blood.
Credit: ASHWebmaster/YouTube; Van Vechen/Wikipedia
Judy Garland's "Prisoner's Menu"
No matter what Judy Garland ordered at MGM Studios cafeteria, the staff was instructed to serve the actress only chicken soup with matzo balls - what Garland called a "prisoner's menu." If the studio was trying to keep Garland healthy, it might not have been such a bad idea.
Chicken soup has long been used as a cold remedy and one University of Nebraska study
found that it may accelerate mucus clearing and improve hydration when we're sick.
Credit: The Gifted Photographer/Flickr; Warner Bros./YouTube
Maria Callas: Did a Tapeworm Make Her a Star?
Once a pudgy soprano, Maria Callas became a glamorous opera star after losing weight because she ate a tapeworm - on purpose, some say.
Tapeworms, which live inside the intestines and eat food before you digest it, can cause weight loss - but experts strongly recommend against the practice. If a tapeworm leaves the intestine, it can cause seizures, fever, and cystic lumps.
Try worming your way out of that.
Credit: U.S. Government; Sudroid/YouTube
Nabokov Ate Butterflies
Vladimir Nabokov ate butterflies and said they tasted "like almonds and perhaps a green cheese combination," according to "What the Great Ate.'
The author of "Lolita" and other classics, Nabokov wasn't the only entomophage, or insect eater. Insects are a staple in many cultures, says New York City dietitian Marisa Sherry,MS, RD.
In Thailand, she says, some eat fried grasshoppers and crickets; some Filipinos eat June beetles and grasshoppers.
Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Micro2Macro; Penguin Group
Paul Newman' Perfect Salad
According to Hollywood lore, Paul Newman was so obsessed with the perfect salad that during a dinner date, the actor took his salad into the restaurant's men's room, washed it, and returned to the table to re-dress it himself.
Seems the actor and sometime race-car driver was comfortable with risky behavior off the track as well as on: Bathrooms are notorious havens for germs, including some that can cause illness.
Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos; TriviaKing/Wikipedia
Sacagawea: Rattlesnake Rattle for Childbirth
Sacagawea, a Shoshone native American guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition, was experiencing a difficult childbirth when, according to legend, Meriwether Lewis tried an Indian folk remedy, giving her crushed rattlesnake rattle in water. She drank it and quickly gave birth.
But don't try this at home: Snake venom can be deadly if it gets into your bloodstream via a cut in your mouth, Marisa Sherry, MS, RD, a New York City-based dietitian, warns, adding that there's no proof any particular food can induce labor.
Credit: Tigerhawkvok/Wikipedia; Hans Anderson/Wikipedia
Thomas Jefferson, Rice Smuggler
During a visit to Italy, Thomas Jefferson was so taken with the local rice that he arranged to smuggle two sacks out of the region - a crime punishable by death at that time, according to "What the Great Ate."
No word whether it was white rice or brown - which has double the amount of dietary fiber.
Credit: David Manniaux/Wikipedia; AP
Kimchi in Space for Yo So-yeon
South Korea spent millions of dollars perfecting a special version of the national cabbage dish, kimchi, for astronaut Yi So-yeon to eat aboard the International Space Station. The meal was as healthy as it was high-flying: kimchi is high in fiber, vitamin C and carotene.
Credit: Nagyman/Flickr; NASA