Well, that was one hell of a week for news, wasn’t it! There was a drunk Texan, a squirrel eating Nutella, a guy who drank his own mummified frostbitten toe, and some light treason. But the biggest story of the week, in case you missed it, was without a doubt the news that a certain Mr. Nicolas Cage will be starring in a movie about a truffle hunter whose prized foraging pig is stolen, forcing him to hit the mean streets of Portland, Oregon to find his swine and seek revenge. And so, for this installment of Fun Fact Friday, I’m going to be sharing some incredible facts about truffle hunting and Nicolas Cage: two things I never knew belonged together but, in order to form a more perfect union, have been joined.
All the Best Finds at the Sweets & Snacks Expo
- Pigs are rarely used to hunt truffles anymore, since their hooves can destroy the root systems of the trees they’re dependent on for survival. Italy banned the use of truffle pigs entirely in 1985. Now, specially trained dogs are used instead.
- Nicolas Cage’s favorite sandwich is roast lamb on white bread with a bit of mayonnaise and arugula.
- Some purists continue to use pigs, because unlike dogs, they don’t need to be specially trained to find truffles. Both animals will try to eat the truffles once they’re discovered, but it’s easier to divert a dog’s attention away from its prize because, well, it’s a dog. You show a dog a strip of beef jerky or a spoonful of peanut butter, and it’s like the truffle never even existed. Pigs, on the other hand, are assholes, and there’s plenty of documentation to back that up.
- When Nicolas Cage was a little boy he would have this recurring dream in which “I was on the toilet and this giant blonde genie woman in a gold bikini would reach into the bathroom window like King Kong and pluck me off of the toilet seat and laugh at me.”
- Pigs are natural born foragers—especially the lady pigs—because truffles emit a compound that is very chemically similar to androstenol, a.k.a. the pheromone that can be found in a boar’s saliva when he’s ready to bone. One whiff of the stuff and lady pigs go b-a-n-a-n-a-s, charging through the woods like horny she-beasts just looking for a good time. I imagine that once they finally locate the truffle, the entire chase becomes very disappointing for them.
- Nicolas Cage chooses what animals he’d like to eat based on how they bone. “I love all animals. I have a fascination with fish, birds, whales—sentient life—insects, reptiles. I actually choose the way I eat according to the way animals have sex. I think fish are very dignified with sex. So are birds. But pigs, not so much. So I don’t eat pig meat or things like that. I eat fish and fowl.”
- The chemical scent that comes out of truffles and horny pigs is also excreted from the armpits of human men. This is why a lot of fancy ladies have a thing for French dudes.
- Nicolas Cage has a massive back tattoo of a lizard in a top hat and cane, because, in his own words: “other cultures have initiations into manhood and that’s what the tattoo was for me.”
- There is a seedy underbelly to truffle foraging! Trained dogs and pigs are stolen and held for ransom with surprising regularity. There have even been murders over the truffle trade, which sucks for those in the industry, but bodes very, very well for this Nic Cage movie.
- Nicolas Cage has a pet cobra named Sheba that hates him, and also inspired his portrayal of the flaming skeletal superhuman Ghost Rider.
- Ancient Greeks though truffles were made when damp soil was struck by lightning. I never understood how those guys could make world-altering scientific discoveries, but then still believe unbelievably dumb crap like that.
- When an 1870 photo of a man who looked suspiciously like Nicolas Cage surfaced, the actor went on Letterman to publicly state that he was not, in fact, a vampire. Of course, that’s exactly the sort of thing that a vampire would say if he didn’t want you to know he was a vampire.
- It’s believed that truffles are mushrooms that started growing underground to protect themselves from forest fires, drought, and cold snaps. It’s got to be depressing when you’re smart enough to shield yourself from nature’s wrath, just to end up getting eating by a super-horny pig.
- Nicolas Cage bought the LaLurie Mansion in New Orleans, best known as the real-life home of Kathy Bates’ character in American Horror Story: Coven. He has also built a pyramid in which will be entombed, located in the same New Orleans cemetery as the grave of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, who was played by Angela Bassett in American Horror Story: Coven. Coven was the best season of American Horror Story, so good for you, Nic Cage.
- In the middle ages, monks were prohibited from eating truffles, as it was believe it would make them so crazed with lustful desires that they’d explode out of their robes, flee the monastic life, and then no one would be left to make beer and pretzels and write all those books by hand.
- One time Nicolas Cage woke up and found a naked man eating a Fudgesicle at the food of his bed. He said that he used “verbal judo” to talk to the man, who was then apprehended by the police. He chose not to file charges.
- More than a 100 types of truffles have been found in 12 countries, but the only ones anyone seems to care about are the French black truffle from the Périgord region of southwest France, and the white truffle of Alba, in Italy’s Piedmont area. This is probably because of some sort of conspiracy and/or mafia activity.
- In 1998, Nicolas Cage was being stalked by a mime.
- Truffles need to grow near the living roots of specific trees such as the chestnut, oak, hazel, beech, red alder, pine, lime, hazelnut, pecan, and cottonwood, depending on which kind of truffle they may be.
- Nicolas Cage had a lot of input on his role in 2011's Drive Angry, where he plays a felon that has been cast down to hell but escapes after cultists murder his daughter and take her baby. “Believe it or not, I was reading a lot of Walt Whitman at the time—our poet laureate, Leaves of Grass—and somewhere in Leaves of Grass, Whitman just says in a stanza ‘drinking mead from a skull.’ I thought to myself, ‘I like that. I would like to find a way to drink beer from a skull in this movie.’ And the reason being partly because I wanted Milton to have this kind of Celtic and Wotanic kind of modern primitive style about him. And also I wanted to see if there could be any way in my presentation of the skull; I put a lot of thought into that, even did a few takes of it almost like a beer commercial to find a way to make the beer slosh out of the eye in such a way that my cup runneth over and have it look really inviting and appetizing and make people in the audience go, ‘Wow, I know it sounds crazy, but I’d really kind of like to drink beer from someone’s skull right now.’”
- Nicolas Cage bought an octopus because he said he needed it to help him with his acting.
- One time Nicolas Cage was arrested during a fight with his wife and had to be bailed out of jail by Dog the Bounty Hunter.
- Nicolas Cage’s earliest childhood memory is from when he was three years old and lying on a bed with Italian nuns, who made him drink Sambuca and fed him a stew made of fox meat.
- Nicolas Cage has done shrooms with his cat at least once.
- Nicolas Cage does not care about being good in movies, telling his fans, “I will promise you, if I can give you two good scenes, which is what I always try to do in every movie, then I feel like I’ve done my job.”