Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Aristotle's lantern

Who uses it: Marine biologists
What it means: The mouth apparatus of a sea urchin, named by Aristotle because it is five-sided, like a Greek horn lantern
How you can use it: To explain the "doves" inside a sand dollar; sand dollars are a type of sea urchin, and those "doves" inside are actually its teeth, part of its Aristotle lantern.

I've never been known for adventurous eating. I survived until my teens mostly on peanut butter and carrots, and pretty much quit eating altogether between the ages of 14 and 16.

It may surprise some family members, therefore, to hear that I have eaten sea urchin. Once, in Grenada, after a couple of rum punches. My friends Carla and Bill can confirm it; they were there. I didn't eat much of it, and what I did eat was part of a heavily-mayonnaised salad, but I ate it. It wasn't bad, although that might have been the dressing.

What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten? Frances Kao, legal expert and co-owner of The Mystery Bookstore, probably takes the prize for strangest thing I've ever heard of: she was given frog's eggs as a delicacy at a banquet in China. As if co-owning The Mystery Bookstore weren't heroic enough...

We got about five inches of snow yesterday, more than anyone had predicted. We're supposed to get more tonight. It's pretty, though I forgot to put the YakTrax back on my shoes last night before I took Dizzy out, and slipped on the hill in front of my apartment building. It was good practice, because I'm going ice skating at lunch today.

8 comments:

Dan said...

I had rather chewy sushi in southern japan, or rather, sashimi. Or rather, on enquiring, it wasn't sashimi, it was raw horse. Tasty.

linda said...

You inspire me, Clair -- every time I talk (okay, IM) with you, you've taken another tumble on the ice. And yet you get back out there. Walking Dizzy is imperative, I know, but ice skating! That's a heroic choice...

AnswerGirl said...

Yeah, and I fell at the rink today -- but it's good for me, I think. A little boy was at the rink with his father, and he must have fallen half a dozen times -- it fazed him not at all; he was taking chances I wouldn't have dreamed of.

Raw HORSE, on the other hand... ugh! It's possible that I've eaten horse -- there was that joint of "meat" Eileen & I bought at the market in St. Petersburg -- but it was properly stewed, at least!

Anna said...

I was going to post about my bravery in having Kangaroo Stew in Oz but the raw horse takes the cake. I'm heading downstairs to make dinner and I'm feeling a little nauseous.

Anonymous said...

Carla here to confirm the sea urchin story. She ate it. We saw it.

Bill travels a great deal in China these days and after each trip comes home with the "what I ate this time" story. The best frightening food trip was when he was served "Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix soup." Dragon = snake; Phoenix = Chicken and Tiger = Cat. He's also had cobra, which you eat after watching the snake being killed. You also drink the blood and the bile. Yup, there are reasons I stay home and mind the children.

AnswerGirl said...

ACK, cat! Though I don't know why I should object to cat, when I've eaten rabbit and enjoyed it. When I was in St. Petersburg, vendors on the street sold skinned rabbits with the fur still on their back legs, so people could be confident they were buying rabbit and not cat. Mmmm.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/cat_steve_dont_eat_it.php Check out this link and see if you would be brave (or stupid) enough to try this stuff. - Susan

AnswerGirl said...

I love that site... it makes me laugh every time I look at it. But you know what? I have eaten huitlacoche -- the corn blight stuff -- at a fancy Mexican restaurant, and I thought it was delicious.