In the 14th century, the Bubonic Plague killed one-third of Europe’s population–partly because medicine was still very primitive at this point, and partly because the word “bubonic” made people giggle and smirk.
Now we know that the plague spread rapidly throughout the continent due to rats. But at the time, rats were not considered pests at all. Many families kept rats as pets, teaching them such tricks as Sit, Roll Over, and Bite The Neighbor’s Baby.
But rats weren’t just great pets. During the famine of 1367, many people were forced to suck on live rats for nutrition. Today we know rats are a poor source of vitamins and minerals, but their irresistible peppercorn ranch flavor still tempts many. Plus, they’re probably healthier than anything from Burger King these days.
Also during the 14th century, people commonly scrubbed themselves with rats during their annual bath. As it turns out, rats make a great exfoliant–try scrubbing with one today for a deep-down clean freshness that lasts all year long.
With today’s medical knowledge and technology, we are not likely to see another Bubonic Plague. But if we do, save a delicious peppercorn ranch rat for me.