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Capital Adventures
June 19th, 2008
09:25 pm
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Rotten, poisonous shark. Yum.
Photobucket is down for maintenance, so while I am waiting for it to come back up, here is an excerpt from my current recreational reading. It happens to be a book on cod, entitled somewhat unsurprisingly, Cod*. Perhaps more surprisingly, it's a really readable book. It also has vintage recipes.

This, then, on the subject of Icelandic cuisine -

"Another speciality was hakárl, the flesh of a huge Greenland shark hunted for the commercial value of its liver oil. The flesh which contains cyanic acid, a lethal poison, was rendered edible by leaving it buried in the ground for weeks until it rotted"

Now I will give it to you, some of my favourite foods and drinks are pre-rotted in various ways.  I know how fish sauce is made and I still use it but how brave and how desperate would you have had to be to be the first person to try the rotten, poisonous shark?
I also wonder what it tastes like? Fishy cheese, perhaps? Please, no-one offer to send some, as I would feel obliged to try it.

*Kurlansky, Mark. Cod : A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. Vintage, 1999.

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(5 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:June 19th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
He has a follow-up book, too, Salt, which is also good. While researching cod, naturally, he had to look into salt, which is also relevant to cod, and discovered that there was enough cool stuff there to warrant another book.
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Date:June 20th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
I have looked thoughtfully at that book in the shop. I will probably buy it now, either for myself or for Dad for his birthday. I'll get to read it either way.
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Date:June 20th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
My flatmate's tried it. His Norwegian inlaws think it's a delicacy. He wanted to puke.
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Date:June 20th, 2008 10:44 am (UTC)
Pfh, he needs to harden up. I suggest a diet high in lutefisk.
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Date:June 20th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Anything prepared by soaking in caustic soda is getting dangerously close to not-food to my mind.
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