So, I’m strolling the aisles of the grocery store, like I do every week, minding my own business…when a smell so hideous that my eyes start to water does a full-body slam on me. I look up from my grocery list and see YOU. The Man in the Dirty Overalls. I push my cart at warp speed to get around you, skid around the end display and say a prayer in the fresh air in front of the pickle display.
You have our sympathy, Currentlydreaming – for while “Things That Stink” documents that which issues from the Crack of the Earth, we do not enjoy the direct experience of stench, especially when its source is the crust covering the body of a chronically stinky person in bib overalls. Not long ago we were at a book sale, and therein was a man with pit odor so rank, so strong, that it would have been impossible to distinguish him from a vat of month old Spaghetti-Os. We were not pleased.
“Health! The key to the sucker’s purse!” – Goodlow Bender in The Road To Wellville
Wikipedia describes “Noni”–
“Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores….The plant flowers and fruits all year round and produces a small white flower. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval and reaches 4-7 cm in size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted….” (source)
Doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? No matter, for the enterprising individual. Package something attractively, and make a host of vauge, inflated claims incorporating buzzwords like “health,” or “natural” or “environment,” and you can sell damned near anything. Particularly in America.*
Which is exactly what the Noni-fruit millionaires did, creating a stench above and beyond the smell of the Noni fruit itself. The stench of “snake-oil cures” and those who promote them for vulgar profit.
The same exaggerated health claims which made the Noni millionaires were made about sarsaparilla in the late 19th century, but sarsparilla’s chief application at present is as the flavoring agent for sarsaparilla soda and, of course, root beer, which is made (the real stuff) from the roots of the sarsaparilla plant.
Limburger is a profoundly stinky cheese, as wisegeek.com describes–
Limburger cheese is a shockingly odorous cheese which originates in Belgium. Most individuals who have been in the vicinity of Limburger remember the smell, which has been likened to rotting feet or moldy boots. Some consumers are in fact utterly unable to get over the smell and experience of the flavor of the cheese, which is actually quite excellent. As the smell indicates, Limburger has a strong and aggressive flavor, which is very popular in many parts of Europe.
While Limburger is originally from Belgium, many German dairies manufacture the cheese as well, and Limburger is also made in some parts of the United States. The distinctive cheese goes well with strong bitter foods, like rye bread and onions, and many consumers greatly enjoy the taste of Limburger on a sandwich, in a salad, or in other culinary settings.
Limburger’s distinct odor is partly due to the fact that it is a washed rind cheese. During the curing process, Limburger is periodically washed with a mild brine solution, which prevents many bacteria and molds from settling in on the cheese. In the briny environment, enzymes thrive on the surface of the cheese, and they will begin to break down the proteins inside. Limburger is also fermented with Brevibacterium linens, the same bacteria responsible for body odor, and this contributes to the odor. [emphasis mine]
The sentence I’ve boldfaced goes a long way towards explaining why female malaria mosquitoes are attracted equally to limburger cheese and the smell of human feet. (read story)
And, now, limburger in pop-culture. Here’s a video of the B-52s “Dance this Mess Around,” way back in 1979, the chorus of which goes, “Why don’t you dance with me?/I’m not no limburger.”