Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Appeal of Thankgiving Eel

This may not seem at first to be a very appetizing subject, but a wonderful oped in the NY Times today explores whether eels were part of the first Thanksgiving meal. I've encountered eels only twice hereabouts: a tiny one in the Millstone River below the dam in Kingston, and a large one that scrambled upstream when they drained the upper Mountain Lake this past summer. Turns out they were once a main source of food, and quite tasty. The fascinating story of these locals, who swim 1000 miles out to the Sargasso Sea in order to breed, can be found here.

The oped is relevant to discussions in progress about how the series of small dams along the Millstone River can be made less obstructive to the movement of migratory fish heading up towards Princeton from the Atlantic Ocean.
Among migratory fish, the most familiar are anadromous species like salmon and shad, which live in the ocean but breed in freshwater streams. Eels are catadromous, meaning they live in freshwater, then head out to sea to breed.

1 comment:

  1. I saw a fisherman get a rather large eel out of Mercer Lake ...was trying to give it away. Not an eel fan, but I did read a cook book entry once about how they need to be cut and drained before eating.