I love following link chains on the internet...going from one blog or website to another, sometimes for hours of fascinating reading that almost inevitably leads to me getting completely derailed from the thing that I was looking up or about to order in the first place.
The latest chain was so interesting and fruitful that I had to write about it and share it with The World (hello one reader, you are now nick-named "The World").
See, it all started with a search for lard. We are almost out, so I need to restock. Usually I get my lard from a farm in Minnesota, but I wanted to see if there was a more local source, so the shipping might not be so expensive. No luck there, but that is how I came across this wonderful article about leaf lard (and discovered what scrapple is - I'd totally eat that). It was so interesting that I had to find the source, which turned out to be a collection of writings about old-fashioned southern food and nearly-lost cooking techniques written by the owner of what sounds like an amazing restaurant in Virginia. If I ever end up in Urbanna, VA, you can bet I will be paying a visit to the Something Different Country Store and Deli. Their byline is "Righteous Ribs and Bodacious Butts", after all.
I started working my way through the Something Different articles, trying not to drool too much, and came to the one about oysters, in which he describes shucking oysters and finding a tiny little passenger called (appropriately enough) an oyster crab. Well, I had to look that up.
It was with a strange mixture of gick factor and hmmmmm that I studied the googled images of this strange little crustacean. The oyster crab is very like a parasite, albeit a mutually beneficial one, since he contributes his share of nutrition to the oyster by catching and grinding up bits that the oyster can't filter, in exchange for room and board. But still, it's a sea "bug" living inside another creature. Bleh.
And yet, according to the internets, it's considered a delicacy. This blogging couple fried the ones they found and nommed them down, then shared an article on several ways to prepare them. And this fellow made me laugh til I nearly cried with his tale of suffering, discovery, confusion, and failed attempt at nurturing Gary the Oyster Crab. Maybe he shouldn't have poked at him so much.
I still haven't decided whether I would try eating one of the little buggers...I suppose if someone served it to me I'd have to try it on principle, but I don't think I'll be out actively seeking - or shucking - them out. I will, however, be keeping a much closer eye on the oysters that I eat.
Anyway, I need to go order my lard now, and put some meat into an ancient Roman marinade. (The recipe of which is the result of a previous day's link chain.) Yes, I did just post two links from 12BottleBar. They deserve it, because it's my go-to site when I want to find a fab cocktail - the bits of fascinating history are an added bonus. Plus, they keep company with some fab folks. Ooh, one more link: BUY THIS BOOK.
Please do follow these links. Especially if you are in love with food, history, and great writing.