How to Make "Dirt" You Can Actually Eat
Want to show all your foodie friends that you're really in the know? Then it's time to master the art of making edible dirt. Chefs out there are finding ways to take various foodstuffs and dry, char, and combine them to give the appearance of actual dirt—only with a rich, savory taste.
The ingredients vary—some use a combination of mushrooms, leeks, and nuts while others grind up one element, like olives, in food processors.
Chef René Redzepi of famed Copenhagen restaurant Noma is the most celebrated purveyor of edible dirt. His version, as Time.com describes it, is made "… from dried malt and beer." Once of the most interesting parts is that it's presented in terra cotta pots, complete with a whole raw radish "planted" in the dirt to really give it that earthy feel.
Fortunately, edible dirt isn't too hard to recreate for home cooks and can be served as a base or a garnish for all kinds of dishes, from salads to eggs. You can recreate Redzepi's version, make a sweet variation (using Oreos, naturally), or make a super-healthy version courtesy of Tim Ferriss.
There's also a slightly different version that combines things like oatmeal stout, espresso grind, cocoa powder, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and black barley powder.
Just keep in mind that this is very different from the time-honored practice of eating actual clay or earth. Some people consume dirt for health reasons, others do it for spiritual ones, while others practice geophagy out of necessity.
But despite what you may have heard from actress Shailene Woodley, there aren't any conclusive studies that eating clay does great things for your body. If you're lucky enough to live in a place where food is plentiful, we say get your nutrition from actual fruits and vegetables instead.
Would you eat edible dirt? How about the real kind?