Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"They Actually Eat That:" Lampreys.

We could, of course, eat the invasive bloodsucking fish.

Before you get grossed out, I must once again reinforce that America eats shit. Thanks to our low standards of what, exactly, defines "food," we have literal crap in our burgers and farm enough to save a hundred starving kids in Africa. Despite this, the idea of Koreans eating dog for dinner guarantees a shiver from almost every American, even though dogs are easier to farm than cattle (just head over to your local shelter for proof). I'm personally still reeling over hagfish as a food; OK, I can understand eating what's around you, but hagfish are pretty much universally gross. Thanks, Korea. Thanks a bunch.

The notion of eating one of these will haunt my nightmares.

The thing is, lampreys are not food for some poor nation with lower standards of living. They are haut cuisine.

Lampreys have been eaten in Europe since at least the ancient Romans. Legend has it that, as punishment, the emperor Augustus sent a slave into his lamprey-filled fishpond for breaking a single crystal glass. Those lampreys were not just torture devices. The Romans loved eating those little bloodsuckers.

Ever since then, they have been considered a food for the wealthy. They were so popular during medieval times that one king supposedly died from eating too much lamprey. Since lampreys are much meatier than bony fish, they were also eaten during times of fasting.

"That was then, and this is now," right? Nope. In Spain, Portugal and France, lampreys are still considered a delicacy. They are also eaten in Finland (after lutefisk, are you surprised?), Russia, and, of course, South Korea. Hell, in some of these areas, lampreys are over-fished. Alaska has also jumped on the lamprey bandwagon.

I'm not sure what this soccer mom thinks of Yukon lamprey. Probably the same thing she thinks of other Alaskan wildlife. *Twitch.*

You want a solution to the lamprey problem? Try fishing for and selling the lampreys. It'll be more genuinely European than pizza. The not-eels are rapidly going extinct because lamprey is apparently that damn good.


  1. Mystia, the night-sparrow youkai from Touhou, is said to operate a grilled lamprey cart. She lures humans with her song, gives them night-blindness, then makes them buy food for a cure.
    "Yatsume unagi 八目鰻 (やつめうなぎ, 八つ目鰻) lamprey (eel)
    Lampetra japonica
    yatsume 八目(やつめ)
    kan yatsume 寒八目(かんやつめ)
    river yatsume, kawa yatsume 川八目(かわやつめ)
    sand yatsume, suna yatsume 砂八目(すなやつめ)
    Despite its name, this in not a member of the eel family.
    Often eaten as medicine, since they contain a lot of vitamin A."