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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"They Actually Eat That:" Chiton.

There are so many ways that people eat molluscs. Many of them are delicious; molluscs have only mild flavor on their own, so any cream, butter, or garlic makes them taste pretty good most of the time. It should be no surprise that we've tried to eat every squishy thing with a shell, right?



Chiton does not usually appear on menus in the mainland U.S. restaurants. It is, however, quite common in Caribbean and Alaskan cuisine. Native Americans in the U.S. also enjoy chiton. In other words, the main reason this is unusual is because "regular" people in the U.S. have a narrow definition of "food."

First off, I did not mention this in the chiton entry, but chitons can get huge.The Giant Pacific Chiton (or "gumboot"), enjoyed in the North American northwest, can get up to a foot (300 mm) long. A lot of it is guts and shell. Believe it or not, there is relatively little meat in this big thing here:

VIa Wikipedia.


The rules for eating chiton are about the same as eating abalone. This does not mean it is advised; chitons yield very little meat and have tough, rubbery hides. They are usually reserved for times of famine because of it, and please have a Native (no offense, guys) prepare your chiton for you should you still wish to eat one. Oh, and apparently "abalone" is the mollusc equivalent of "chicken;" everything is compared to it. 

Chitons have very interesting shells. They have eyes in there, for example. The last blog entry on chitons talked about how awesome that shell was. Underneath that awesome shell is a blob of meat waiting to be devoured. It should be absolutely no surprise that someone noticed the meat beneath the armor and tried to eat it. It's snail logic, basically.

Chiton: It's like snail, only with even less shell.

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