I consider myself pretty open-minded. I tend to not judge others for things that they enjoy, and I recognize that pineapple on pizza is a legitimate culinary decision to make. But if you had the chance to consume the flesh of another human being, would you?
That’s a question Reddit user IncrediblyShinyShart asked his friends a few years ago. He was in a horrific motorcycle accident that resulted in his foot and part of his leg being amputated. According to Vice:
When a car hit his bike and sent him careening into a nearby forest, his foot was shattered to the point that he would never walk on it again. When the doctor asked if he wanted to amputate, his one question was, “Can I keep it?”
A reasonable question, and one that an acquaintance of mine (who blogs as “One Foot Wander“) also asked her doctor. It turns out that, in fact, it’s rather easy to keep your body parts that have been cut off:
Have a few new followers, so I figured it’s about time for another information post for everyone who thinks the bones are fake. Also, welcome and thank you for following our adventures. 1. “Looks like an anatomical model” Yes, why do you think models look like that? Bones ARE white once all the flesh is decayed (or removed in my case). My bones were whitened in the articulation process. 2. Anyone who doubts this is real: if you’re interested feel free to contact @skullsunlimited for verification, as they are the ones who articulated my foot. 3. “The bones would not be held together without the flesh, muscles, ligaments, etc.” That’s why they are now wired together. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see that. 4. “It’s a biohazard for the hospital to return a limb.” Not true. (Some hospitals tell people this though) At the Stephenson Cancer Center in OKC, OK where I was treated, all I had to do was ask, sign some forms, be adamant about getting it back, and then pick it up from pathology about a month after the amputation. It was taken straight out of a bucket of formalin and given to me in a red biohazard bag. For those of you who are interested, there are photos of the foot before the flesh was removed, but after the amputation that I posted back on February 17th of this year (you will have to scroll- the first photo is just of the bones due to the graphic nature of the rest). 5. I am aware there are many people who think it is gross that I got my foot back. You’re entitled to your own opinion. Though, in my experience, the majority of amputees and cancer survivors totally understand the humor. If you don’t, consider yourself lucky. 6. The bones are not plastic. You’ll notice in some of the photos there is a tattoo on the heel. I have a friend who is a tattoo artist and we thought it would be funny to tattoo the bones. (Tested w an animal bone first). You can also see the bone around the tattoo is stained with ink because bone is porous. Plastic is not, so if this was plastic the ink would have just washed off. -if you have any other questions, feel free to post in the comments or shoot me a DM. #amputee #onefootwander #foot #bones #skeleton
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Three weeks after his accident, our anonymous redditor invited his friends for a meal:
On Sunday, July 10, 2016, three weeks after the accident, Shiny, who prefers to remain anonymous, invited 10 of his most open-minded friends to a special brunch. They ate apple strudel, quiche puff pastries, fruit tarts, and chocolate cake. They drank gin lemonade punches and mimosas. And then the main course came out: fajita tacos made from Shiny’s severed human limb.
There’s no law against cannibalism in the United States, except in Idaho. According to Vice:
Laws against murder, buying and selling human meat, and corpse desecration make cannibalism difficult, but technically legal in the other 49 states. It’s rare someone able to consent to being eaten meets someone interested in eating them, but even that scenario raises a ton of ethical questions.
As a lover of Mexican food, I think tacos would be how I’d prefer to be consumed. Here’s the presentation of the cooked human calf:
Vice interviewed IncrediblyShinyShart about the experience:
On why he wanted to do this: All of this came out of the idea that it’s my foot. It’s not going to be cremated and chucked into a landfill. It’s a part of me, and I want it back.
On how he preserved it: I got back to my place and I froze it. I couldn’t find a taxidermist who would take me seriously and freeze-drying was too expensive. It would have been $1,200 to freeze dry the thing. If I had the money I would have done it. Eventually, I decided to cast it in plaster to use as a doorstop, then capture a 3D rendering so I can make little keychains.
When we got back to my house, I took the foot out, and it was so gross, man. It was covered in blood and had iodine all over it. After I cleaned it off, I was pleasantly surprised by how well-preserved it was. It’s not like they preserved it in formaldehyde or anything. But when you think about beef, which can be dry-aged for months, I suppose it makes sense.
I had four friends with me at the time, and it was all surreal. We picked it up and were playing with it. It didn’t seem like it was a foot. It just seemed like an object, not a piece of a person. There was no emotional connection. I could think, “Yep, that’s my foot right there,” but there wasn’t some deep part of me that felt weirded out by it. In fact, that was the weirdest part, was that it wasn’t weird.
On how he got his friends to eat his leg: I invited 11 people. I said something like, “Remember how we always talked about how, if we ever had the chance to ethically eat human meat, would you do it? Well, I’m calling you on that. We doing this or what?” Ten said yes. I guess we’re a weird group.
On how he cooked his leg: I told the chef my idea and after thinking about it for a couple days he said, “OK, let’s do this. I’m going to prepare it, and you guys just come over tomorrow.”
He marinated it overnight and sauteed it with onions, peppers, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Then he served it on corn tortillas with a tomatillo sauce.
The full recipe is here:
On how it tasted: People think it tastes like pork because in movies we hear it called “long pig.” But that term originated in places like Papua New Guinea, where they eat wild boar. They’re not eating our big, fat, domesticated pigs that have white meat. Boars don’t have white meat. They just don’t. I remember eating a heritage pig and it was some of the reddest, most flavorful meat I’d ever had. It was almost like venison. And I think it’s more akin to that.
This particular cut was super beefy. It had a very pronounced, beefy flavor to it. The muscle I cut was tough and chewy. It tasted good, but the experience wasn’t the best.
There was very dark humor, which we all already have in spades. I think that’s why this went so well. We were cracking jokes the whole time. I said at one point, “Well, today was the day I was inside 10 of my friends at once.” I got a phone call the next day from a friend saying, “Hey, just so you know, I pooped you out. Sorry.”
Describing the accident: It sucked the whole time. I remember flying through the air. I remember getting hit. I remember sitting in the forest and taking off my helmet and feeling this burning pain. I looked down and my foot was hanging off. The picture of the foot all broken and mangled and dirty was on the ambulance.
But I was very lucky to be in a place where people were around. I was very lucky that a young woman who is just now graduating high school, showed up and put a tourniquet on my leg. She had just taken a first aid course. I was lucky to have an off-duty paramedic show up within 15 minutes.
There are so many things that happened in the best way possible. I didn’t have any other injuries. It was just my leg, and a little cut on the back of my neck. Other than that, I was unharmed, man! I went back to look at the place, and I flew through trees that are only a foot-and-a-half apart. I was going 45 miles per hour when I flipped. So I don’t know how I got out of there with just that injury. I could have very easily died that day.
I remember waking up in the hospital many times and just crying, wondering what my life was going to be. I talked with the doctor about what we could do, what was salvageable. But there were bones missing and everything else was garbage. I would never be able to walk on it again. Around a week in I decided to let them cut it off.
On his life after the accident: Things worked out so damn well afterward. My life has gotten so much better. I left the town I was in and a job of 10 years that was killing me emotionally. I moved to another state. I have a way better job that I enjoy the hell out of. I’ve met a woman who I’ve been with for over a year and a half now and she’s the best thing in my life. I’m so much happier now than I could conceive of being before. And it’s because of this time where my life was threatened and I persevered through it. Eating my foot was a funny and weird and interesting way to move forward.
His thoughts on cannibalism: It has a stigma. It’s associated with cultures that aren’t perceived as civilized, or situations where people are forced into it to survive. They see it as barbaric, so they wonder why I would go out and do it on a whim. But people eat the placenta after a child is born. That’s cannibalism, I don’t see any way around it.
I think you can ethically be a cannibal in certain situations. I don’t have some hunger to go hunt people down and gnaw off their faces. This was one experience where I had the chance to do something unique in a healthy and ethical manner. I did it and it was fun and cool, and I have a great story.