Should You Eat That Eel?


Not for dinner! An eel at the Academy of Sciences aquarium in San Francisco (Author photo)

The eel in the aquarium is among my favorites. He (or she, as the case may be) just has an enigmatic grace wondrous to behold. You can’t watch an eel and not calm down a little.

But take him home for dinner? Nahhh.My husband loved eel. He was prone to pay exorbitant prices for it; and to my protestations would say, “It’s only an Anguilliform!”

Which is true.

Eels are also catadromous, meaning they migrate from freshwater to salt; and they can swim forward or backward, all sensible traits. Two drops of eel blood, however, and you’re dead. This never increased my fondness, but it explains why raw eel isn’t a menu item. The blood cooks out; I still prefer not to think about it. And lobster is cheaper!

Still. An eel in an aquarium is a joy and a blessing.