I don’t know his secret identity. He comes in the night, after the snow, and renders sidewalks clear. Sidewalkplow Man – super hero.
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I usually like shrimp. Cold with cocktail sauce is fine, or splayed out neatly atop a little bundle of sushi rice is nice, but cooked is even better; stir-fried with teriaki and hot sauce, bundled up in a little har gow dumpling, sauteed with oil and garlic, deepfried with batter, bbq’d on skewers… there’s countless ways to make shrimp yummy.
At home I typically stir-fry them, or in summer I bbq them on skewers with some pineapple and a sweet-and-spicey sauce. Though if I’m feeling particularily lazy, I’ll just eat them cold a la shrimp cocktail. I usually get them in about the 25-count size. (This means, 25 to the pound.) It’s a good size, they’re not so tiny you have to deal with a million of them to make one meal, and not too expensive. The biggest ones, the 15-count, usually cost over a dollar each.
Recently I accidentally grabbed the wrong bag, and picked up the 15-count ones. The usual ones cost me about $10 / pound, these ones were about $17. But I wasn’t paying close attention and didn’t notice till I got home. I’d bought the dreaded…. Jumbo Shrimp.
“Jumbo Shrimp”. It is an oxymoron. Shrimp means tiny, jumbo means big. Big tiny. It doesn’t work.
Worse – jumbo shrimp are too big.. they’re just wrong. Cooked, peeled, deveined and with no heads and tails, they are just sort whitish pinkish things about 5 inches long, an inch across at the big end and just under 1/2 inch across at the small end.
Last time I had Jumbo Shrimp, it actually put me off shrimp for a year or two.
It’s not the taste – they taste like shrimp. It’s everything else. The size. The shape. The appearance.
I just can’t shake the impression that they are skinned, boned, deveined fingers from some big guy with fat fingers. Fat man fingers. Fat man finger cocktail.
So I had my Jumbo Shrimp last night.. and once more I have the fat man finger cocktail in my head and an uneasy feeling about all shrimps.
So there’s this show on the Discovery Channel about squid in the Sea of Cortez that have been attacking people, taking bites out of them.
The thing that really caught my attention was the sense of indignant outrage in the tone of the voice of one of the talking heads. It just sort of struck me. My first thought was, fair’s fair and we’ve probably eaten a hell of a lot more of them than they’ll ever even see of us.
I mean, we’re going around eating entire species out of existance. But when something has the gall to eat one of us, or even take a little bite, then it’s all outrage and shock and revenge against the “mindless killing machines”.
What the hell makes us so special? My policy is, if you don’t want to get eaten, don’t go where lurk things that can eat you. Stay clear of sharks, bears, big squids, and the rest. Further to that, have a little respect for the creatures you’re feasting on. You can’t go eating them like they’re nothing – or hauling them up by the thousands for others to eat – then get all morally superior when one tries to drown and eat you.
Photo from Monterey County Weekly