Medicine: Why People Eat Dirt

Many a homesick or sardonic Northern Negro, writing to Southern friends, says "Ship me a bag of good dirt to eat." Sometimes he means it. Even in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, Negroes and whites send requests to their upcountry friends for a bit of red clay, declaring that black Delta soil is "right bad eating." In certain parts of Mississippi, poor whites will walk miles for a spoonful of dirt from a favorite bank of clay, because it "tastes sour, like a lemon." In other sections of the South, some top their meals with a savory tablespoon of dirt, believing that it...

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