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Craving Earth
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Craving Earth: Understanding Pica--the Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice, and Chalk

Sera Young


This book provides a portrait of pica, or non-food cravings, from earliest times to current times. It explains how humans have eaten earth, on purpose, for more than 2,300 years and that people also crave starch, ice, chalk, and other unorthodox items of food. It details how some individuals even claim they are addicted and “go crazy” without these items, and asks “why?” The book draws upon extensive historical, ethnographic, and biomedical findings and describes the substances most frequently consumed and the many methods (including the Internet) used to obtain them. It reveals how pica is re ... More

Keywords: pica, non-food cravings, earth, starch, ice, chalk, unorthodox food items

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780231146098
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231146098.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sera Young, author