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The Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet, or Ketchup and Kakistocracy

The Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet was the first modern work on tropical fauna, compiled by the 17th-c travel writer Georgius Everhardus Rumphius.

In it he gives us a description of sailing through a host of tiny shrimp, about the size of lice, in the Javan Sea, an experience he likens to sailing through blood. He also tells us that these tiny shrimp are caught and netted with cloths stretched across river mouths, the catch then crushed and pickled into a thick brown paste that is then thinned with lemon juice. This condiment was called kitsjap by the Chinese, and a far cry from the ketchup people now smother onto their chips.

Personally I find both options equally unappealing, although such a choice reminds me of a great word you hardly ever hear used, despite its aptness:

        Kakistocracy, meaning a government formed from those least able to govern, or by the worst citizens of the state.

Enough said.

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