Advice: To chew or not to chew

It is not an absolute, inviolable rule that one should always chew one’s food. Whether or not this Time report is accurate, its advice at the end is basic and good:

A fishmonger in southern China found a live bomb inside one of his squid. The man — identified only as Mr. Huang by the Guangzhou Daily — said that while he was gutting the squid, his knife suddenly hit something metallic. That turned out to be a 3-lb. unexploded bomb….

Reporting the incident, the Guangzhou Daily reminded its readers to always call the police if they find explosives in their food.

(Thanks to investigator Geri Sullivan for bringing this to our attention.)

Once you have determined that your food does not contain explosives (in quantity and of kind that would likely explode when chewed), one is generally advised to chew one’s food.

This video shows a man named Paul Chek, who implores you to chew, an activity that, in his words, “imprints… the idea of who you are… into the food”. We do not know what Mr. Chek means by that; presumably he does:


Here, from a rather different source, is a medical report about chewing:

Chips and rips: ‘’chew your food well‘”, George F. Longstreth, Jeffrey C. Buehler, Gordon C. Hunt, John J. Garvie, and Daniel S. Anderson, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy,vol.  65, no. 3 2007, p. 556. The authors write:

“Only 8 cases of esophageal trauma from normally ingested food are reported. We would like to share with your readers 4 additional patients that we have cared for….

” A 60-year-old man had substernal/epigastric pain, dysphagia, melena, hematemesis, and presyncope minutes after eating corn chips….

“A 38-year-old man developed substernal pain, dysphagia, and fever hours after eating taquitos….”

“A 53-year-old man developed epigastric pain immediately after forcefully swallowing an unchewed bite of taquito because it was so hot….

“A 38-year-old woman presented with 7 days of progressive substernal pain, dysphagia, and odynophagia that started immediately after she ate a toasted pita bread chip.”

BONUS: Hazards abound, even prior to the moment when chewing becomes an option. Example: this news report in The Guardian:

Essex school bans triangular flapjacks after injury

A school has banned triangular flapjacks after a pupil was injured by one. Dinner staff at Castle View school in Canvey Island, Essex, were told to cut the treat into squares or rectangles following the incident. It is understood that the triangular version was banned after one was thrown, hitting a boy in the face….