Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Foil

I used a pair of scissors to crack open a writhing sea urchin and suck out its gonads.

I felt the pulse of a beating chicken heart on my tongue, before chewing it up and swallowing it.

In a live sweet shrimp, it's the brain, not the tail, that's sweetest.

My long-standing dream is to stand in a rushing river in Alaska and catch a leaping salmon with my bare hands, stun it with a rock, peel away some skin, and take a huge bite.

Suffice it to say, there's not much alive out there that I won't kill, eat, and enjoy.

But this weekend, I finally met my match:


Also known as mirugai, elephant trunk clam (I need the Chinese script), and I'm sure a lot of other names.

There's nothing quite as disgusting to prepare. It smelled like sea and sand and vomit. It had a squishy sack of guts I had to wrench from its body. I peeled what looked like a foreskin from its siphon, which looked like a pale, flaccid, very crooked penis. It's texture when raw was what I imagine dried mucus feels like between the teeth--a bit of crunch followed by salty sliminess. When cooked, it felt about the same (but warmer).

Still, I ate the whole thing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Work, work, work

You know you've been spending too much time away from home when your kombucha baby had its own baby, and you missed it.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I've been noticing that news reports characterize the violence in Darfur as having started four-and-a-half years ago. But Darfur is the western region of Sudan, the same Sudan which was torn apart by a civil war between its northern and southern halves in the 1980s. This is the very war that forced some 26,000 Lost Boys (and thousands of Lost Girls) to march to their deaths only to be "saved" in refugee camps. And this is the same war in which 2.2 million people already died, before the 200,000 in Darfur.

In 2005, the U.S. brokered a peace treaty that stopped the fighting between north and south. The Bush administration cites this act as one of its major foreign policy triumphs. Not surprisingly, Sudan's oil rich lands (producing more than 600,000 barrels per day) are mostly in the now calmed, debilitated south. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has yet to work its magic in Khartoum, where key figures in governmental posts continue to provide us with "substantial" intelligence on al Qaeda.

What does it say that our supposed triumph has done nothing to rebuild the wasteland Sudan has become or to bring four million refugees home? The peace treaty has only left the people to fight amongst themselves while outsiders swoop in for their reward.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Touching my readers

I've done this before. I vaguely remember composing this work of blogging genius one slow afternoon in my law school library. In the past three years, it has garnered such insightful commentary.

Friday, August 24, 2007


August 24 marked San Francisco's first annual Lobsterfest. It was a classic New England clambake with 20 pounds of lobsters, clams, mussels, corn, chorizo, potatoes and a small crowd of delightful people. After much consideration, I agreed to forgo the process of digging a pit, setting a fire, heating rocks, gathering seaweed, arranging layers of food items and then waiting five hours. While I favor authenticity, Lobsterfest took place in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is a national park and not a place for big, fiery holes.

Everyone always asks whether a lobster screams when it dies. Sure, it's hard to throw a living thing into boiling water. I do my best to keep the suffering brief. Anyway, lobsters don't scream, because they don't have lungs. They have air pockets though that expand and contract with a change in temperature, and those can make a whistling sound. Also, there's no need to worry about destroying a deeply committed relationship. Contrary to sitcom wisdom, lobsters don't mate for life. Males have pointy pleopods (the first set of appendages behind the tail (useful for injecting)), while females have soft, brushy ones (good for fanning eggs). Whoever's got the biggest gets first crack at injecting sperm into a female and then sealing up the hole. You know what they say about males with big, pointy pleopods...

They have narrow tails. My mother employs this more innocent method of sexing lobsters, whereas my lobster skill-set is limited to devouring a two-pounder in under five minutes.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturated fats

I steamed ankimo (monkfish liver) with nigori sake (the milky kind) today. Hard to beat that. Although, the foie gras over a pumpkin pot de creme from last night came close. Today's lunch sounds much more fancy than it really was, considering I was still in my pajamas and hadn't yet brushed my hair. Cholesterol makes you sleepy.