If You Can’t Beat’em: Eat’em!
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” suggested Mark Twain.
I don’t know anybody who has tested that premise, but it rings true to me. Maybe the closest we can come to finding out for sure would be to ask someone sitting at a Chinese dinner table.
Cane toads were the answer 75 years ago to control insect pests for Australia’s sugar cane growers. The non-native toads were imported in large numbers (they now number 1.5 billion!), and lacking natural predators, in the sadly well-known pattern of solutions becoming residual problems, they’ve experienced a population explosion and become a national pest, advancing more than 1200 miles across the parched continent.
Which is wonderful news to four populations of humans: those who collect cane toads from the bush for a bounty; those who turn them into a goo for use as a soil fertilizer; those who export thousands of drums of pickled cane toads to Asia; and to the family sitting at that table with their napkins tucked into their shirts, chopsticks poised over a steaming platter of toad meat. (Remove poison glands first and don’t let your dog eat them!)
The poison is such that, with repeated non-lethal contact, old Rover can not only become immune to the toxin but addicted to it. There are accounts of dogs obsessive seeking out toads to lick, perhaps early in the morning, and of course, nothing worse will happen to them the rest of the day. Watch Cane Toads: an Un-natural History to become fully educated and creeped out.
Or if eating a ranid for breakfast doesn’t have you licking your lips, think about another invasive for lunch: silverfin. Sounds delicious, even though it is just one the few species of Asian carp given a new, more gastronomically pleasing handle. Before you run for your fishing pole, take a look at this video: they can weigh up to 40 pounds and jump up to 10 feet. Many in boats have been injured. Carp-e diem, caveat emptor.
These are the same bottom feeders you may have heard lately are threatening the Great Lakes–this critter another “good idea” brought here in the late 1800s by our government as a food fish about the same time as they were singing the praises of kudzu. I used to catch big grass carp (one of the Asian species) on a hand line at summer camp (with bread dough mixed with jello. I’m not kidding.) Nobody wanted them but the cooks. The common wisdom regarding the best way to use them for the table:
Take a large carp. Encase it in fresh cow dung. Bake in oven at low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Carefully extract fish from cow dung. Throw away the fish. Eat the cow dung.
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- Cane Toads: The Conquest (thestar.com)