Are Brains Really That Tasty?

Honestly, zombies and brains seem to go together like bread and butter, Brad and Angelina, and briefs with poop stripes. But has it always been the case, as this nutritional zombie guideline suggests?

I'll posit "no" and we'll just see where that takes us.

Zombies have existed in popular culture ever since people started telling stories. In fact, you can't swing a severed limb at folklore without whacking an undead varietal of some sort. Why, here's a little snippet from the epic Gilgamesh...

Father give me the Bull of Heaven,
So he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling.

If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,

I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,

I will smash the doorposts,
and leave the doors flat down,

and will let the dead go up to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living!

What the ancient Sumerians don't mention is...Brains. Nor did Wade Davis's research into the coup de poudre find that the Haitian zombies hunger for brains or even the flesh of the living. They simply wanted out of their coffins so they could stumble around groaning, and really who doesn't want that? I know I do.

You may blame George Romero, whose 1968 entry into the lore, Night of the Living Dead was the first appearance of the on-screen flesh-chowers, but those zombies were eating whatever they could get and we really can't blame them for that. Roaming the countryside is exhausting and food is our natural fuel.

The Brains thing may have a Southern influence. Where else might you find such a delicacy as this on your store shelf...

But, no. The real beginning seems to be that classic of zombie comedy, Dan O'Bannon's Return of the Living Dead. Let's pause to reflect...

It's hard to believe, eh? Prior to Return's release in 1985, brains don't seem to have been a delicacy, at all. No more so than a liver, spleen or chewy knee-cap. Maybe it's because we acquire different tastes as we age. I used to hate asparagus, now I love it and not just because it's fun to leave that rank stink floating in the toilet bowl, either.

When did you notice you liked brains?


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