PEOPLE in some parts of the world eat very curious things; they think them nice, and in all probability they would not enjoy our food at all. The best way, the right way, is to be satisfied with what we have. The Esquimaux thinks that there is nothing so delightful as a fat whale blubber. Some of the subjects of Russia enjoy train oil, and in one region a tallow candle would be preferred to the choicest confectionery.

A tribe of Indians in South America actually eat dirt, but this is only when they cannot get anything else to eat. They much prefer fish and turtle, but these are only to be had when the river is low; and to keep from starving, they swallow balls of clay, which look like huge pills. A stock of these clay pills is always kept on hand; pyramids of them, four or five feet high, may be seen in their huts.

Another strange thing to eat is a mineral called "fossil-flour." It is mixed with the food of the poor in some Chinese provinces in the time of scarcity or famine. 

This is also a kind of earth, which is found only where no vegetation will grow. After bruising it to a fine powder, it is mixed with ground rice and a little salt or sugar and made into small cakes. By this means the supply of food is made to hold out twice as long as it otherwise would, but unless the scarcity is very great the mineral flour is not used. Those who eat this mixture always complain of feeling ill, and unless the earth is mixed with some vegetable matter it is almost sure to cause death.

This food would seem easier, to those not accustomed to such fare, than to eat ants. The people of Eastern India, however, make flour of these insects, which are of the large white kind, by parching them on hot stones or metal plates, and then grinding them to powder. But this flour does not agree with the eaters much better than the fossil-flour, as those who eat largely of it generally die of cholera. Ants are also eaten in Africa and South America, where they do not appear to be injurious. 

In other places spiders are considered a delicacy, and in New Caledonia the natives roast a fine large species about an inch long, and devour it with great zest; they are said to taste like hazelnuts. Grubs and larvae also are eaten, and in one of the South Pacific islands butterflies are caught in large quantities and roasted. These do not agree, either, with the eaters, but the sickness they produce does not last long.

Locusts and grasshoppers and caterpillars also are used as food, and in Southern France the peasants eat largely of snail soup.

 It is habit that makes these things palatable or disgusting, and it gives us fresh cause for thankfulness to the God of harvests that our favored land is so bountifully supplied with the fruits of the earth.