a canonical compendium of repulsive recipes


hagfish-slime scones

Courtesy of - wait, could it be? what a surprise! - Laurel, who appears to spend all day reading the internet trying to find things to make my blogging experience easier, I am pleased as punch to present something that actually really truly made me feel a little welling of throwup when I looked at pictures of it.

So there is apparently this creature called a hagfish. I consider myself to be a fairly worldly sort of person and while the possession of a somewhat thorough zoological knowledge isn't something on which I necessarily pride myself, up until just now it was something I never quite realized I lacked. Have you ever heard of a hagfish? Don't lie. Clearly you haven't.

Here is what a hagfish looks like:
I find this very disturbing on many levels, one of which the level of this looks sort of repulsively genital. Oh, also, the hagfish likes to open its mouth and get all Dune on our asses:
I should clarify for the sake of journalistic honesty that the matte white bits surrounding the black slimy bit are actually the gloves of a researcher, and only the black slimy bit is actually the hagfish. If you would like to know what a whole hagfish looks like, mentally picture an earthworm that has slime-secretion glands running along the length of its body, magnify it by like twenty, and put on the creepy head evidenced in the above images. Yum, hagfish. Actually there are some decidedly awesome Fun Facts about hagfish, such as: they get their own slime up their noses, and then they sneeze it out. No joke.

So you will have noticed by now that the hagfish secret tons of slime, because I mentioned it in the previous paragraph. As I learned from my vast hagfish research (this one site, pretty much), the slime is a sugar and protein solution that coagulates when it's secreted into water, forming a slime that is similar in texture and chemical composition to egg whites.

So these dudes made scones out of them. This is a picture of a scone:
I'm going to posit that a scone is significantly more appetizing than a hagfish. The, um, fearless students who made a hagfish-slime scone didn't include the recipe in their lab report, so here is my personal recipe for excitingly flaky and not at all dense cheddar-gruyere scones, which receive rave reviews whenever I bake them. Except that I've changed what would have been "eggs" to "hagfish slime." I trust you to adjust accordingly.
Hagfish-Slime Cheddar-Gruyere Scones

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (two sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese (about 9 ounces), or a mix of 6 ounces cheddar and 3 ounces gruyere.
1-1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons hagfish slime

Preheat oven to 375F

In a food processor, blend flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using quick pulses until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cheese and cut in using quick pulses. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and hagfish slime. With the food processor running, add cream mixture through feed tube. Process until dough just holds together – don’t overmix!

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gather the dough together and divide into quarters. Pat each quarter into a round just short of 1 inch high (it should be about 6-7 inches in diameter). Using a clean, sharp knife, cut each round into six wedges. Transfer half the wedges to ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake the first batch of scones until the edges just start to brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer them, still on their parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool at least 10 minutes, during which time put in the second batch of scones.

Serve warm or at room temperature. The scones will stand for about 8 hours. Do not refrigerate. If you want to reheat them, warm them in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes.
From a real culinary perspective, I sort of doubt that the pure egg-slime substitution works terribly effectively, since about 1/3 of an egg's mass is the yolk, which contributes texturally since it's both pure fat and it holds air marvelously (it's a born emulsifier). So maybe this would work better with 4 ounces of hagfish slime and two egg yolks. Or you could probably replace the yolks with butter... or cook up some hagfish and render the fat, if you want the truly authentic version.


1000 servings

the ever-vigilant Laurel, who really - let's face it - ought to be running the whole show here, has found the ideal illustration for Braised Puppy, courtesy of cute overload:


braised puppy with assorted greens

Helen's First Axiom Of Gross Food Blogging:
As soon as you start looking for gross food, gross food stops presenting itself to you.

You would think this is a good thing. You don't want to be walking down the street and suddenly be caught in a hail of pickled eels and be forced to find a positive glimmer in the situation because, well, you started a blog about it and here's a post just raining the fuck down from the sky. But there's got to be some middle ground... the occasional icky recipe that finds its way into a cookbook or a food supplement magazine. This one showed up in my inbox courtesy of me being addicted to Vice magazine, and has the added bonus of being illegal, because we anthropomorphize our pets and we legislate against feeling guilty.

Like many Chinese recipes, the ingredient list is daunting, but if you have any experience with Asian cooking, it's likely you have most of these sauces and spices in your pantry already. And odds are good you can find a dog within a few blocks of your apartment.
Braised Puppy with Assorted Greens


2 pounds dog meat, cut into 2-inch chunks (cuts from both the front and hind legs are wonderful) (Ed: after skinning and deboning, a 2-month-old Labrador ought to yield about 2 pounds of meat. I mean, I think so.)
1/2 medium head iceberg lettuce
1/2 pound Napa cabbage
1/2 pound spinach
1/2 pound edible chrysanthemum leaves (tong oh), optional
1/2-inch-thick slice fresh ginger, smashed
4 slices garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups chicken broth (Ed: if dogs were kosher, the inclusion of chicken broth rather than dog broth would make this a questionable dish, since you're not supposed to mix animals. But then, dogs aren't kosher, so this is a moot point.)
1 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, cut diagonally into 2-inch sections
Cilantro sprigs

Sauce mixture:
2 tablespoons ground bean sauce
2 tablespoons red wet bean curd (nom yu)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing wine
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 square inches dried tangerine peel, softened in hot water for ten minutes
4 pieces star anise
1 tablespoon sugar
8 turns freshly ground black pepper

Sauce thickener:
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons water

Separate the lettuce into leaves and break the leaves in half. Wash, drain, and pat dry. Ditto the Napa cabbage. Trim spinach, wash in several changes of water, drain, and pat dry. Discard the buds and the tough ends of the chrysanthemum leaves, wash and rinse them thoroughly, then pat dry. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce mixture and set aside.

In a four-quart pot, bring about two quarts of cold water to boil over high heat. Add dog meat chunks and return to boil. Parboil for five minutes, drain meat in a colander, rinse under cold water, then pat dry. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottom wok or skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the dog meat and stir-fry without any oil for three minutes to brown; the meat will stick to the wok a little. Dish up. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok, then the ginger. Drizzle in the sauce mixture, add meat, and stir-fry and turn for a minute. Transfer the whole thing to a four-quart clay pot, add the chicken broth, then bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for approximately an hour and a half, depending on the grade of the meat. Test doneness by inserting a chopstick into the meat: If the chopstick goes in with no resistance, it’s done. Mix the corn flour with water and stir in the mixture to thicken the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat the wok or skillet over high heat again until it’s hot but not smoking. Add one teaspoon of vegetable oil and a piece of garlic, and stir-fry for ten seconds. Add the lettuce and stir-fry for one minute. Add a quarter-teaspoon of salt and stir-fry for another ten seconds or until the lettuce is just limp. Dish up. Repeat the same cooking procedure with the Napa cabbage, the spinach, and the chrysanthemum leaves. Line and surround the braised meat with the four batches of vegetables, garnish with scallions and cilantro sprigs, and serve immediately.
Like the guinea pig recipe, I imagine this would be quite delicious if made with a meat that was not Extremely Cute, for example beef (or if you want to keep the horrific cruelty/really cute animal factor, but are just concerned about the illegality, you could use veal, though the slow braise would sort of ruin the delicate flavor that veal is known for and for which you pay a ridiculous amount of money. I mean come on, it's only a baby cow. Economically speaking it's cheaper to kill it when it's only 3 months old, instead of raising it all the way to adulthood. It eats less, or something).

I think there's also a joke to be made here about dogs being loyal, or being man's best friend, or throwing a dog a bone, or a dog having its day. But honestly I'm too distracted by the delicious thought of getting a puppy and frolicking with it and cuddling it and it being tiny and soft and needy to really pay attention to the humor inherent in Chinese Dog Stew. Mmmmm, puppies.