O Canada: Halifax!

The biologist W. Ford Doolittle (known to all as “Ford”), won the Herzberg Medal in 2014, Canada’s highest prize for science (e.g., it comes with a million Canadian dollars). With some of the money he funded a science and philosophy discussion group that brings in people from the outside, and Ford was kind enough, along with the Centre for Inquiry, to help fund my visit to Halifax. I spent a day visiting his lab, other scientists in the department, and discussing my views on religion and free will with the science/philosophy group (about 30 people). It was great fun and I learned a lot about symbiosis, the topic of much of the group’s research.

As it was supposed to be Ford’s birthday (though it’s listed as November 30 on Wikipedia!), there were cakes baked for him yesterday. Here’s Ford contemplating a gluten-free chocolate cake.


This is what Ford calls his “phylogeny and philosophy lab”. Since he’s retired, he no longer has a “wet lab” (one where experiments are done), but he mentors and funds both philosophers and systematists who use computers. Here’s part of that group. The food on the table was brought in by a student whose roommate left town, leaving food for general distribution.


Ford has a B.A. in fine arts (he’s an excellent photographer), and also a sense of humor. The walls of his lab and office are festooned with stuff like this: a branch from a yucca plant that fell off the big plant in his office, breaking his computer in the process. After a year and a half, it’s still alive, hanging on the wall and putting out green stuff, nurtured by god knows what. He calls this piece of art “rootless tree”, a play on phylogenetic terminology:


Here’s another piece of his art. Note the horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which blurs the branches of the bacterial “family tree”. All it lacks is Darwin’s “I think” in the corner.


One of the group happens to have a cat, and so there are LOLcat images around. This one is above the sink:


Lunch with the Doolittle crew: we went for kebab, which appears to be Halifax’s Official City Dish. This is a lamb and chicken kebab with yogurt and tomato sauce (similar to Turkey’s “Iskender kebab”). It was very good:


Dinner at a bistro that night. I was full of cake and kebab, so I limited myself to one dish: a cassoulet with duck and sausage:


Dinner last night before my talk. I was hungry, and so started off with French onion soup:


. . . and then proceeded to some local fish and chips:


Today the weather was dire: very cold and rainy. Nevertheless, my kind host Sharon drove me half an hour up the coast to Peggys Cove, a local tourist spot which is quite scenic. It’s a small fishing village with a famous lighthouse, and yet despite the tourists (none in evidence today), the town retains its charm and character. Here’s the lighthouse:


Here are some ducks on the choppy sea. I couldn’t get close enough to get a good shot, as it’s quite dangerous to get near the water on the slippery rocks (two people die each year doing that). What are they, readers?


UPDATE: I didn’t know these ducks even existed, but savvy readers in the comments identified them as Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus). The males are gorgeously marked, rivaling wood duck males for beauty. Here’s a photo of them from the web; I wish I had been able to get closer to them:


My lunch, which cost all of $13 U.S.. First, a bracing and filling bowl of seafood chowder (fish and lobster)


Then the main course: a locally caught crustacean.


Oy, am I full! Thanks to Shawn Wilson and Sharon Woodill for their kind hospitality in Halifax. And, to paraphrase the late Robert Kennedy, now it’s on to Ottawa and let’s win there!


  1. Ian Clark
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Ottawa awaits! I hope your flight isn’t too affected by the terrible conditions here.

  2. ChrisH
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    You can’t beat a nice cassoulet. Mmm!

  3. Merilee
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    You DO like to make us drooool with your photos of deelish noms. I note the Canuck usage of tea towels for dish towels which teh kitteh insists be used to dry teh dishez🐾🐾

  4. ChrisB
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I believe those are harlequin ducks, with the unforgettable scientific name of Histrionicus histrionicus.

    • John Harshman
      Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      You believe it because it’s true. They’re unmistakable. They winter offshore and breed far inland, on mountain streams. I’ll never forget my first encounter, in Glacier NP. I was hiking beside a stream, and a pair came bobbing downstream past me and out of sight. I’ve also seen them in winter on rocky coasts in California.

    • Posted February 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I love their binomial – so apt. They always brighten up a dreary winter day along the shore.

  5. Jeff Ryan
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    “Gluten-free”? You’re kidding, right?

    • Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Let’s not forget that 3 million Americans and 350000 Canadians (including me) have Celiac Disease. The backlash against gluten-free foods is really mystifying to me. Would you say the same thing about food choices made by someone with diabetes or a peanut allergy?

      • Jeff Ryan
        Posted February 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        I certainly don’t suggest anyone should be exposed to gluten if they are adversely affected by it.

        But removing gluten affects flavor, yet everyone seems to be buying “gluten-free!” irrespective of whether it makes sense or not.

        A friend once proudly announced to me that everything he bought was gluten free. Then he asked me what gluten was.

        The numbers you cite (which I have no reason to doubt) constitute, in the U.S., less than 1% of the population. Would that gluten free products made up a similar percentage of items on offer at the supermarket. In some stores, it is hard to find a non-gluten free version.

        I am not against gluten free versions of food. I AM against giving the impression to millions that, for those unaffected by gluten, they should nonetheless be stocking up on such products. I haven’t the least desire to see you suffer from this disease. But I’m seeing people purchase such foods without the slightest idea why.

        People allergic to, say, peanuts know to inquire at restaurants before ordering. But it is getting a little like the idea that vitamin C will cure anything. Great for the purveyors of vitamin C, misleading for the rest of us.

        • Posted February 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          You have to admit that your first comment was a bit flippant and disrespectful of anyone following a gluten-free diet. I encounter this frequently and I usually find that the people who make such comments are uninformed. Your statement that ‘everyone seems to be buying “gluten-free!”’ is rather over-stated.

          Current stats suggest 1-3% of the population have Celiac disease. There are huge numbers of people who claim to have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. They people out-number people with Celiac Disease. There have been conflicting scientific research on this, but I say, why question a food choice that makes someone feel better? And, the jury is not yet back on this issue.

          I have no idea where you shop, but I would love to have access to a store where 1% of the products were labelled gluten-free. That sounds like paradise to me. You state: “In some stores, it is hard to find a non-gluten free version.” Again, where? I have never seen a store like that, not even a health food store.

          “I AM against giving the impression to millions that, for those unaffected by gluten, they should nonetheless be stocking up on such products.” – I am not sure who is giving that impression. I have a need to avoid gluten, and I have never noted any pressure to do so. In fact, what I notice recently, is people questioning my diet, accusing me of following a fad, and not taking me seriously, which is problematic, especially in restaurants.

          By the way, I also know how to inquire in restaurants about food and ingredients.

          To say that removing gluten affects flavour misses the point. No one is removing gluten; they are using different ingredients. To you, it might not taste as good. I no longer notice because I have forgotten what the “real” versions taste like.

          Twenty years ago, I had only one or two places where I could find gluten-free foods. I welcome the plethora that we now have. Don’t forget also, that diagnosis is slowly improving, so we can expect more people asking for gluten-free food, not fewer. Instead of complaining about it, you will have to get used to the idea.

          • Jeff Ryan
            Posted February 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            This is my complaint: Many people reach for gluten-free products because, frankly, all they see is “gluten free!” on so many products that they have come to believe gluten is a huge problem. Which it is, but only for a small portion of the population. And if you are not gluten intolerant (if that is even the correct term, but you get my point), you can miss out on whole grain foods that deliver a lot of nutrients that gluten-free foods don’t have. I understand that anecdote is not evidence, so I make no broad claim, but I know people who have become “gluten-free” because they have become convinced it is somehow healthy for them, even though they themselves do not have a specific gluten problem. According to one survey ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/most-people-shouldnt-eat-gluten-free/ ), 30% of consumers say they are trying to cut down on gluten. This is a good thing? These people are robbing themselves of nutrition, because of shameless promotion by food suppliers.

            I am not disturbed that people who need them have choices. I AM disturbed when people wrongly perceive something. And if 30% are concerned they need something only 1-2% of people need (I could not find any estimate as high as 3%, but I didn’t look too long, either), yeah, I am a bit tetched.

            You may want to check out Kroger’s, City Market, or King Soopers: They have gluten-free vitamins there. Safeway, too. I would have thought you could make vitamins without gluten in the first place. Oh, and those gluten-free vitamins are – you guessed it – more expensive than the regular vitamins.

            • rickflick
              Posted February 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

              I’m perplexed when I see “gluten free” on a water bottle.

              • Jeff Ryan
                Posted February 24, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

                It’ll be oxygen tanks next.

              • rickflick
                Posted February 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

                I can get by without Nitrox on a dive trip, but, I mean, where can you go for a good clean tank of air? I can see the new labeling requirement now – a black background with “gluten free” and a skull and cross bones in mustard yellow.

          • Posted February 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

            I think what he’s saying is that “gluten free” has been adopted by the faux medical/supplement crowd as the flavor of the day.

            Remember when it as Acai berry [or name your miracle/devil food of choice]?

            My wife appears to be gluten sensitive (she was tested and does not have celiac disease or similar.) So, we go gluten for for her as much as possible. Obviously her condition isn’t nearly as serious as yours (thankfully for us).

            As an aside: What gets me is seeing books coming out with titles like “Against All Grain”. Well, yeah, if you are a very wealthy westerner, you can think about nonsense like that. If all grain were poofed out of existence, the world’s population would, in a few weeks, go through a step function drop of something like 50%. Might be good for the earth as a whole; but civilization wouldn’t be a very likely survivor.

            (Not that that nonsense is related to going gluten free; it just shows how an idea like that can morph rapidly in bizarre directions with the self-help / supplement / faux-medicine crowd: gluten is bad for some people –> Gluten is bad, full stop –> All grain is bad.)

            • Posted February 24, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              I agree with everything you have said. We have always had fad diets, like the Atkins, but I really don’t recall such a backlash as there is against gluten-free food. And, it comes up in bizarre places. I remember reading a Facebook post from the Dawkins foundation and someone asked in the comments if the topic under discussion was gluten-free, even though the topic had nothing to do with food. I just don’t see the point of that. The only word for it is uninformed because I think some people making fun of the gluten-free “fad” simply have not taken the time to figure out what gluten really is and why some people need to avoid it.

              • Jeff Ryan
                Posted February 24, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

                I should probably shut up, but then, what the hell.

                I have absolutely no problem with gluten-free food for those who require them. They should be available, they should carry no stigma, they should be non-controversial. That was not my point, though I obviously could have made it better.

                What I do resent is the mass-marketing of food tailored to a specific condition with the implication that “Anyone who doesn’t drop gluten from their diet doesn’t love their kids and might as well smoke cigarettes because that’s just how stupid you are.” Hyperbole? Sure. But I meant what I said. The other day in King Soopers I was really overwhelmed by the number of “gluten free” products, and the dearth of the plain old version. Should there be gluten free alternatives? Absolutely, and I never meant to imply different. But the question that friend asked me is a bit telling. After ensuring (based on marketing) that none of his food (which, BTW, was also his family’s food) had gluten, he was obviously ignorant of why he should be buying it. Which, in his particular case, he shouldn’t have. (It won’t kill anybody, it’s just kind of pointless for most people.) As far as he knew, none of his family has celiac disease, not had anyone in his family insisted that he buy only gluten free products. He just believed that there must be SOMETHING horrible about gluten, else why would there be some damned many foods trumpeting their gluten freeness? (Sorry.)

            • Jeff Ryan
              Posted February 24, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

              You said it better than I. And more economically.


            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 24, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

              I suspect the ‘gluten-free’ marketing complained of is perceived a bit like ‘low-calorie’ or ‘sugar-free’. And since *everyone* “always” has too much sugar and would benefit from sugar-free, the implication is that cutting down on gluten (whatever that is) is also a good thing for anybody.


              • Jeff Ryan
                Posted February 24, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

                It really seems like consumers are being told that Gluten Free! is something that only a fool would pass up, with no effort to explain just why this is so. It’s like “all natural”. “Gee, honey, let’s get this instead. It’s all natural!”

                “Don’t buy that, buy this. This one’s gluten free!” Okay. And…?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        For what it’s worth, I guiltily gobble up a gluten free Mac and Cheese that the local health food store makes because I find it tasty. Unfeeling utility because someone with celiac sod missing out.

        • Posted February 25, 2016 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          I make gluten free pasta for my wife, which she claims to like, but the smell while it’s cooking is vile. I’m not sure what it is in the pasta that does that; but I suspect some kind of animal protein or plant protein that takes place (structurally) of the gluten proteins.

          But she also claims to like plain steamed rutabaga with no sauce/butter/etc. 🙂

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:05 am | Permalink

        bcameron, I sorry you have to live with this disease!

        As everyone has said above, the joking about the term “gluten-free” has nothing to do with actual victims of Celiac Disease or the marketing of products they need. It’s all about people who don’t educate themselves but jump on the bandwagon because they assume gluten-free must be good for all, and the merchants who see a good marketing window.

        I don’t know where you live, but here in southwest Michigan the stores seem full of items marked gluten-free, including foods that would never have had gluten in the first place. That’s the sort of thing you have to poke fun at. 😉

        A few years ago, everything had to be as close to no-carb as it could get, to the point where some restaurants advertised bun-less hamburgers.

        I was curious when PCC mentioned the cake and wondered if either Doolittle or one of his students had CD. Also if PCC sampled it, and if so, what he thought.

        • Posted February 25, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          My initial comment was about this off-hand comment: ““Gluten-free”? You’re kidding, right?” which struck me as insensitive and rude. It’s a good bet that someone there had celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

          In the United States, food labelling is different from in Canada. In the USA, a manufacturer can label bottled water as gluten-free. That is illegal in Canada.

          In any case, the backlash is what concerns me. It makes the lives of people who suffer from Celiac Disease difficult. There have been cases of vendors selling things as gluten-free when they are not, just because they believe that is a fad. The more we have to deal with this backlash, the more we encourage misunderstanding, like the first comment on this post.

          Why can’t we let people eat what they want without fear of ridicule?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            I get a similar backlash with MSG. MSG gives me migraines. I have impericle evidence. But a paper came out saying something that it was a reaction only in our imaginations. The backlash was awful. I wanted to give all those people migraines.

        • Merilee
          Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          I have had delicious flourless brownies which presumably would be gluten-free.

          I agree with Diane that very few people are making fun of celiac disease ( just waiting for da Donald to say something stupid about it), just the bsndwagon effect of non-sufferers going all “Gwyneth Paltrow.” I think I posted before about reading how anti-vaxers might get their shots if they were labelled gluten-free.

          • Diane G.
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            “…just the bandwagon effect of non-sufferers going all “Gwyneth Paltrow.” I think I posted before about reading how anti-vaxers might get their shots if they were labelled gluten-free.”

            Lol, I wish I had your gift for humor! 😀 That nails the reason for the ridicule.

            bcameron reminds me to be more sensitive to milieu. With a little thought it would seem that there probably is someone within Doolittle’s group who is gluten-sensitive or has CD; it seems like an unlikely group to have someone of the bandwagon-irrational type who elicit derision.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 25, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            When someone says they don’t eat gluten, my next question is “oh, do you have celiac disease?” If they say no, I just go “oh” and say nothing. Sometimes they say they have a sensitivity which is fine as I know that can be true too. I have a few friends with for realz celiac so I understand why people with the condition would find it incredibly exhausting to be lumped in with the BS people. I get a sense of it when people think my chronic migraines are just “headaches” and don’t understand why I can’t just take an aspirin. I want to drop an anvil on those people and ask why they can’t just use a bandaid.

            Violence once again averted by lack of anvils and the tireless efforts of my neocortex.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 25, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

              I agree entirely. I’m permanently pissed off by the stupidity of food fads and the diet supplement con – oh, and ‘energy drinks’ and even bottled water, which costs an absurd price and is a stupid thing to buy in any country where tap water is perfectly safe to drink. It comes in non-recyclable plastic bottles, which is a crime against the environment. (I drink lots of water. I carry it in an old Coke bottle which I refill from the tap for approximately free).

              I have sympathy with anybody who has a genuine ailment that needs dietary attention, but the faddists who have just been swayed by some annoying TV ads (“You live an active lifestyle, you *need* Gunge(R) to keep you going all day long!”) – all I can say is “suckers!” You could sell them compressed cowflop and they wouldn’t know the difference.

              It is unfortunate if my derision appears to reflect on anyone with a genuine condition, that is unintentional.


            • Diane G.
              Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink


              Diana’s Xmas list: 1. Anvils

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted February 25, 2016 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

                My birthday is coming up.

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

                Oh, better yet! 😉

  6. Daniel bertini
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant food!!

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmmmm all the seafood looks so good! When I travel to any coast, I eat seafood almost exclusively.

    I read the duck question as following on from the previous sentence about drowning because of slipping in the rocks and it seemed like the drowning victims were also readers. 🙂

    I always follow the advice my aunt gave me: never turn your back on the ocean. I saw some doofuses get overcome with a monster wave doing just this in Hawaii on Oahu’s north shore in December when the waves are high. They weren’t supposed to even be there as it was roped off and they were considering evacuating the area.

  8. Nwalsh
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Love the seafood, but scanning the weather forecasts of both Halifax and Ottawa me thinks you should have chosen Vancouver again. 🙂

  9. Posted February 24, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    That’s some good-looking seafood I see there. Now I’m getting a hankering for ‘chowdeh’.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Me too. I want a bowl of that chowder Jerry had. It looks very good!

  10. Taskin
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful looking food! Cassoulet is a favourite of mine, but that chowder is the thing I most want to dig into. Thanks for making me hungry. 🙂

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    His brother Russ (Of Urfs and Orfs) is a great guy, too.

  12. jeffery
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s probably hard to believe, looking at the city today, that much of it was destroyed by a monumental disaster back in 1917


    • Diane G.
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Incredible! Thanks for the link. I vaguely remember knowing something about this (we visited Halifax in the early 80’s) but had no idea of its magnitude.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Yes, thanks for this link!

  13. Posted February 25, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Kebab is not the “Halifaxism”, an invented pseudo-Middle eastern food “donair” is, which is now available across the country, especially here in Ottawa. (Vaguely Arabic fast food is popular.)

    I remember a conversation between two co-workers. A is originally from Lebanon. Something like this happened.

    A: What’s with donair? I mean, we don’t eat it. Where’s it from, anyway?
    B: *We* do, and it is from where I am from.
    A: B, where are you from?
    B: Nova Scotia.

    • Jeff Ryan
      Posted February 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Are you talking about a doner kebab?

      • Posted February 26, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        No, donair is something else, sort of vaguely analogous – but invented in Canada. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doner_kebab#Canada sort of seems to be correct

        • Jeff Ryan
          Posted February 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Sheesh. When I was in London in the ’70s, I lived on doner kebabs. The pita bread was scored and each half used as a pocket. The meat was lamb, and it was stuffed in the pita, with a sort of salad on top of that with peppers and a wedge of lemon. It was most definitely a Middle Eastern dish.

          Back in the States, I encountered what is best known as the gyros sandwich, where the meat is pressed lamb and beef together. closest I could find to the doner kebab, but not the same. (Greek, for one thing.) The pita is not stuffed, but fried and wrapped around the meat. And Americans have figured out a whole lot of ways to ruin even that.

          What the hell are the Canadians up to? The doner kebab wasn’t good enough? Did they think it lacked mayonnaise?

          • Posted February 29, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            I don’t know why it was invented, to be honest, but there are a lot of weird things like that in many places, not just Canada.

            Think of (say) the fortune cookie, invented in San Francisco.

            • Jeff Ryan
              Posted February 29, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

              I thought I read Irish Coffee was invented in San Francisco, too.

              I’m in Colorado, and I can’t find a doner kebab to save my life.

  14. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 26, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    WTF is lobster meant to taste like? I tried cooking it once, but the result was such slop that the wife and I chucked it in bin and made something else (which is a very rare crime against food waste for me, and uncommon for her). Is it actually worth eating?

    • Jeff Ryan
      Posted February 26, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Nah. No more than the best sex you ever had, or the best band you ever heard, or the best car you ever drove.

      No big whoop.

      • Merilee
        Posted February 26, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        Wonderful if fresh and done properly (one of several ways). I especially like Chinese style with black bean and garlic sauce. Butter and garlic not bad either. (I’m always reminded of Woody Allen trying to coax the live lobster from behind the fridge with the “drawn” butter. Never understood why it’s called drawn…like drawing a bath, perhaps?

        • Jeff Ryan
          Posted February 26, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

          When I grew up in Boston, my mother brought the lobsters home alive. She’d ask that I carry the groceries into the house, and some bags were MOVING!

          I learned early on how to eat a lobster. You don’t just eat the tail (which I’m sure you know). We used to laugh at Midwesterners who would eat the tail and stop. Leaving all that rich meat in the claws, and everywhere else. What a waste!

          And all you needed was a bowl of melted butter. Now, If you like good king crab, then you sort of know. Multiply the taste of king crab by a hundred, and you have a little idea of how great lobster is. And I love king crab.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I don’t do music – never had the hearing for it. Cars are machines for getting from one place to another (I still don’t understand why the wife insists that I buy her a new car every couple of years).
        So, what has sex got to do with the taste of lobster again? Is it actually worth pursuing? Is it meant to taste like sex fluids, or what?
        I’ve had too many misadventures with seafood in general to trust it, but you hear so many people going on about how wonderful it is, that one wonders from time to time.

        • Jeff Ryan
          Posted February 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          I was speaking metaphorically, but you’ve sort of taken the fun out of it.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 1, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            That’s the problem with trying to describe things subjectively.
            For reasons too long to go into at the moment, I’ve got my book of colour reference tiles sitting on the table in front of me. I doubt that’ll surprise you.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Music, cars and sex. Sturgeon’s Law applies as always, but when I think of the best of each I get a happy feeling.

          It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s magic.

          Comparing those memories with some slimy crustacean on a plate is blasphemy. (OK, I know, crustaceans aren’t slimy, it’s the molluscs that are slimy. Same thing).


    • Diane G.
      Posted February 27, 2016 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      For some reason I think of them as tasting like sweet crab, if there were such a thing. Their richer flavor is often too much for me…like the meat is overripe. But then, I grew up loving Dungeness Crab; I’m spoiled.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        So … we were probably doing something wrong, because there was no detectable taste to the goo that came out of the lobster.
        “Sweet crab” … I’d have to find out what crab tastes like. I think I had some once in Norway (monolingual labels on the sandwich bags, so grab at random in the couple of seconds you’ve got).

        • merilee
          Posted February 28, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Aidan, you have missed out on such wonderful tastes: FRESH crab and lobster!

          • merilee
            Posted February 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            PS and you worked in/on the ocean;-)

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

              My Dad and his Dad (whom I never knew) were both mariners. Dad said his father refused to eat crab, because crabs ate the shipmates who died at sea and were consigned to Davey Jones’ Locker.

              • merilee
                Posted February 28, 2016 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

                TMI, D:-(

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 28, 2016 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

                Oh, sorry. I’ve always thought of it as an interesting old sailing superstition.

                FWIW, my Dad learned to love Dungeness crab.

              • Merilee
                Posted February 28, 2016 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

                Good:-) I certainly won’t stop eating crab. Love soft-shelled crab from Maryland, too😋

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 1, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            … were never available unless we went to the coast. And since we didn’t get a fridge until I was about 7, were never on the agenda then. No confidence in them.
            By accident, I was in the shop where we brought the lobster (frozen, of course) and contemplating kangaroo, ostrich, venison or boar, when I noticed that the same brand of lobster was on sale. And to my surprise, the labels explained that it was pre-cooked. Which somehow missed us previously – I remember hunting through one of the wife’s cook books for an appropriate recipe. So it seems we had a DN-RTFM error. I’ll put lobster back on the “try that, some time” list. But Ostrich leg, Skippy Steaks, Boar Burgers and Venison stew are all ahead of it on the LIDL shopping list.

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