Thursday, February 14, 2013

why did i do that?

Last weekend, I made mussels for dinner. It was terrifying. I didn't like it at all. I'm probably never going to do that again.

First of all, I had to go to the fish place and I had no idea what I was doing. Let me just add that it was snowing/sleeting while I was walking to the fish store. Sideways hail pellets were slamming into my face. And my boots were leaking. Additionally, I grew up in the middle of the country and I honestly have no idea how to buy mussels. I think I can count the times I've ever even eaten mussels on three fingers. Luckily, they had a bag of mussels that I dug out of some ice and it was the perfect amount for my recipe and it was ONLY $6! (I'm still probably never going to make them again).

So I took them home and made this fancy tomato sauce (I might do this part again) and started cleaning the mussels. I read online that if there is one that is open, that means it is dead, and I could see an open one in my bag o' mussels, which made me really nervous because I really didn't want to touch it. What if it oozed out onto my fingers? Or was rotting and smelled really bad?

Hey mussels. You're in my sink. I really don't know what to do with you.

So I started scrubbing the mussels to get all the dirt off of them and noticed that there are weird little strings coming out of them. At first I just thought they were disgusting so I started throwing them away, but after I googled "how do I cook mussels and clean them and what are those little strings coming out of them" I realized that I'm supposed to pull the strings, aka "beards," OUT OF THE MUSSEL WITH MY FINGERS! Gross. It makes a crunch sound when you pull it out, in case you were wondering.

For a while, I was just going along, semi-grossed out, pulling out the little beards, until I ran into a shell that had A CREEPY FLAT SNAIL ATTACHED TO IT! It was probably a blood sucking leech in a shell. There is no other explanation.

What is that little leech thing?!

So I decided to push that mussel and leach to the side until Michael came over and could throw it away. Continuing my cleaning, I kept searching for that mussel that was open and dead, but I couldn't find it. Only then did I realize THEY ARE STILL ALIVE! AND THEY WERE OPENING AND SHUTTING WHILE I WAS CLEANING THEM! Like little, gooey monsters.

You see that little guy? With his shell open, ready to clamp some fingers? Not okay.

After cleaning, I waited until Michael was over to  steam them because I was struggling, emotionally because I was traumatized and physically because I scrubbed the top of my thumb off with the scrubbie so I was gushing blood. I was also afraid that they would scream like lobsters or do some other creepy thing when you cook them.

Well we finished them. 

Michael liked them. I ate a loaf of bread.

I didn't like it. Not one bit.


  1. This sounds terrifying and sounds like a scene from Julie and Julia. But, it was also a really entertaining story. You don't have to make mussels again, but can you please make something else equally terrifying and write about it?

  2. I'm so glad you waited to try this until you did not live with me, because that sounds like a scene from my worst nightmare. Especially the beard part - gross. I have cooking weird sea animals because they're like gigantic bugs. Food should not have an exoskeleton.