A little while ago, I got the strange urge to try mussels.
I just saw some pictures of mussels, and the broth looked so good, and the shells looked so fancy, and then they were on sale at our local grocery store, so I decided to take the leap and try them. I bought them, took them home, and was pretty excited for the big experiment.
The recipe I had was pretty simple–just a basic curry/coconut broth, throw the mussels in, steam, and serve with crusty bread. So I made the broth, was baking the bread, and finally it was time to crack out the mussels.
And then I found out they were alive.
In general, I have no idea about seafood. Sometimes I make salmon (I usually overcook it) and I occasionally eat whitefish, and tuna sandwiches, but beyond that, I’m pretty clueless. So I didn’t know the mussels would be alive. It totally freaked me out. Most of them were open a bit, and after reading that you shouldn’t cook mussels that are open because they might be dead and, you know, poisonous, I freaked out a little more. I tried banging most of them on the counter, to see if they would close (most of them did) but I had the heebie jeebies, so Andreas graciously stepped in to do the sorting. Happily, they were already de-bearded (?!?) and scrubbed, so the rest of the work was minimal.
Then there was the dumping of the mussels into the pot. My guilt took hard hold of me. They were alive! Poor things… I felt awful, but I’d bought them, they’d die regardless, and I knew that the show must go on, so into the pot they went. Luckily, they don’t make any noises, and a few minutes later, everything was ready.
So we sat down. And looked at the pot of mussels. And then I googled “how to eat mussels” as we gave Theo a piece of bread.
And then we did it. We tried mussels! I was already, as I mentioned before, freaked out. And mussels are weird. They’re white and black and look like they may have tongues (do they? Nevermind, I don’t want to know) and ragged edges. But we scooped one out each, and ate them.
Andreas doesn’t like fish, but he’s never really tried shellfish. After seeing just how weird they are, I’m really proud of him for trying. He tried two, but his stomach got a bit queasy after that, and he had to switch to salami on my homemade bread. My first one went down pretty easily, and since we had an emormous pot of mussels, I ate a full portion. I had to sort of try not to look at them as I ate them, and ate an awful lot of crusty bread alongside, but I was pretty proud to say that I ate a whole meal’s worth of mussels!
And then there was Theo. I hadn’t really expected him to partake, since he doesn’t eat any fish, and hardly any meat in general. We offer whenever we have it, but it’s usually turned down. But mussels? Sure! Why not? He downed them like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Like they didn’t look like they had tongues or eyes or small teeth. He plowed through some buttered bread, a bit of breath, and probably a dozen mussels.
Go Theo, you’re the bravest of us all!