June 19th, 2008


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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