19 July 2006

I Heart Eel

Eel is one of my secret crushes. I have an intense fondness for it—the ugly looking but oh so tasty creature from the sea. But I wasn't always so open to this unattractive water being. I remember the first time a college friend ordered it in a Japanese restaurant in New York City. Unagi as it's called—it even sounds awful. I was less than impressed with her selection, thinking she was young and inexperience in such matters as ordering well—I was a year her senior in school. But alas, I was proved the innocent fool when our meals came out. My boring dish faded from my memory as soon dinner was over, but the one bite I took of her unagi donburi was the beginning of a love affair. The eel was a revelation: its meat, sweet and rich, coyly concealed its skin, crisp and smoky from the charcoal grill. Many years later, I can still close my eyes and daydream of the unexpected pleasures of the contrasting textures brought to mouth—crispy skin mingling with tender flesh and warm rice. A girl's first time with eel isn't easily forgotten.

Here's an article in the Washington Post, Food and Dining section on eel—The Overlooked Appeal of Eel. Maybe you'll fall in love, too!


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