Sunday, July 4, 2010

Yum yum yum (and ewwwwwww)


Charles Domery (c. 1778 – after 1800), also known as Charles Domerz was a Polish soldier, noted for his unusually large appetite. While serving in the Prussian Army against France during the War of the First Coalition, he found that the rations of the Prussians were insufficient and deserted to the French Revolutionary Army in return for food. While generally healthy, he was voraciously hungry during his time in the French army, and ate any available food. While stationed near Paris he was recorded as having eaten 174 cats in a year, and although he disliked vegetables he would eat 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kg) of grass each day if he was unable to find other food. During service on the French frigate Hoche, he attempted to eat the severed leg of a crew member hit by cannon fire, before other members of the crew wrestled it from him.

In February 1799 the Hoche was captured by British forces and the crew, including Domery, interned in Liverpool. Domery shocked his captors with his voracious appetite, and despite being put on ten times the rations of other inmates remained ravenous, eating the prison cat, at least 20 rats which had come into his cell, and regularly eating the prison candles. Domery's case was brought to the attention of The Commissioners for taking Care of Sick and Wounded Seamen and for the Care and Treatment of Prisoners of War, who performed an experiment to test his eating capacity. Over the course of a day Domery was fed a total of 16 pounds (7.3 kg) of raw cow's udder, raw beef and tallow candles and four bottles of porter, all of which he ate and drank without defecating, urinating or vomiting at any point.

By the age of 13 Domery had enlisted in the Prussian Army and was part of an army besieging Thionville during the War of the First Coalition. The Prussian army was suffering from food shortages which Domery found intolerable; he entered the town and surrendered to the French commander who rewarded him with a large melon, which Domery immediately ate, including the rind. He was then given a wide variety of other foodstuffs by the French General, all of which he ate straight away.

Domery then enlisted with the French Revolutionary Army. He shocked his new comrades with his unusual eating habits and voracious appetite. Granted double rations, and using his pay to buy additional food whenever possible, he nonetheless remained voraciously hungry; while based in an army camp near Paris, Domery ate 174 cats, leaving only the skins and bones, in a single year, and ate between 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kg) of grass each day if other food was unavailable.

He preferred raw meat to cooked; while his favourite dish was a raw bullock's liver, he would eat any available meat. While in service on board the French frigate Hoche a sailor's leg was shot off by cannon fire, and Domery grabbed the severed limb and began to eat it until a crew member wrestled it from him and threw it into the sea ...

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