Conger eel for Christmas, oe how an eccentric laird’s plans went horribly wrong amid a shower of blood
, 2023-01-02 01:00:06,
Joe Gibbs recounts a dinner he will never forget. And you neither.
Before Christmas, a seasonal invitation blew on the west wind from the Lovelorn Laird. It was a call for a pow-wow at their mountain fortress on the 33rd of the month, a date that I felt was stretching the elasticity of time even for a West Coast.
The laird wanted to pass me the menu for an alternative Christmas brunch designed for the times in which we live. The avian flu uproar, its super-inflationary effect on turkey prices, plus the punitive additional costs of transportation to the Northwest had forced him to explore radical innovation for his holiday meal. And he means radicals. It is not for him the traditional goose or bird alternative. Not even the venison run over with pickled sweet. No, in this, the largest festival of the Christian calendar, he proposed to serve the family Christmas conger, a food even discarded for the consumption of the chosen people in the Old Testament (Leviticus 11, v 9-12), although, you know I grant, without a blemish on his reputation in the New.
In general, my taste in food is simple and unadventurous, but there have been times when I have explored darker culinary paths. From the anguilliformes order, I tried smoked eel in St. James and jellied eel at an eel and pie shop on Wandsworth Bridge Road. When I really pushed the envelope, I’ve eaten…
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