November 19, 2014

Cookin' Like It's 1884

Today I bring you yet another culinary adventure, but this time the only casualties were a dozen shrimp. But first, let's be clear. I am not a cook. I can handle myself in the kitchen, but my lovely wife is the real pro in that arena.

Given our commuting logistics, it makes sense for me to cook most meals during the week, which is fine. I always welcome opportunities to mangle meals. Once with friends over, I cooked some chicken fingers and nearly sent everyone to the hospital. Apparently chicken fingers need more than three minutes in the oven.

In any event, recently I tackled a reasonable dinner task. Pasta with fresh tomato sauce and shrimp. Easy right? Can of tomatoes, seasoning, onions, pasta. Grabbing the bag of shrimp from the freezer, I notice they didn't resemble the type I've seen before. Aside from their Hans Solo-like deep freeze state, they looked like they just came out of the ocean. Given this monstrous appearance it's amazing someone at some point in history took a leap of faith to eat them at all, but I digress.

The loyal family dog in the nineteenth century.
Loving, playful and good on a stick.
In today's fast-food, easy to cook, microwaveable roast beef in a bag society, I can truly say that preparing this meal was a complete anachronism. There are many steps involved, and the time to go through them all increases significantly since it was my virgin attempt. I guess Captain Highliner was more Dexter than fisherman, because when working with raw shrimp you basically have to disect the poor bastards.

I can say that I've never had to "remove a husk" quite like this when preparing a meal. Corn doesn't count because corn can't swim. You then move your way down to the millipede-like legs, another treat. But nothing compares to the jolly good fun associated with disembowlment. I've heard of this terribleness. I took my knife and did the deed, removing shrimp poop like you'd pull off string stuck on your sweater. Done right? Nope. Lo and behold, I discovered yet another string of nasty on the underside of the shrimp. So let me get this straight, they have two asses?  All in it took about an hour to deal just with the crustaceans - only a fourth of the ingredients in the meal.

In the end, the experience made me think about what humans had to go through to prepare food decades and generations before us, not to mention having to catch the fucking things. If it was 1884 and I was living like Laura Ingalls out on the prairie, chances are I'm not making it to 1885.


  1. Yet another reason I remain a vegeterian.

  2. I have never eaten shrimp. I will never eat shrimp. I'm a pretty adventurous guy when it comes to food. I've tried snails, raw fish, raw beef, camel, octopus and the like. But there is something about the shrimp i just can't get past. It's pink and wet which i don't mind, and it never tells me it's tired. But i just don't like it.

  3. stick with filet o fish