[Sca-cooks] lampreys

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Dec 10 05:00:08 PST 2009

> Stefan li Rous wrote:
>> Has anyone cooked one of the medieval lamprey recipes? Where did you get 
>> the lamprey? Or did you substitute something for it. Perhaps a different 
>> type of eel?
> http://www.southsoundeats.com/blog/eds-table/lamprey-eel-deal/
> Makes them sound delicious, but not especially like eel.  (On the other 
> hand, I like eel-- maybe I'd like lamprey, too!)
>> Or did you hunt them in the wild? Doesn't the lake at Pennsic or Gulf 
>> Wars have lampreys? Or am I thinking of some other critter?
> You're not thinking of hagfish, are you?  I know they're an introduced 
> pest in the Great Lakes (no real idea obout Cooper's Lake-- just a guess).
> In any case, I don't think they're edible.
> -- 
> Antonia di Benedetto Calvo

Hagfish (family Myxinidae) and lampreys (family Petromyzontidae) are sister 
taxons sharing a common anscestory, but are distinctly different critters. 
There is some ongoing debate about the precise taxonomy within the families, 
but I think the families are relatively fixed.

Hagfish are eaten in Korea, but most people find them too ugly and slimey to 
be considered food.  I think you'll find lampreys are the scourge of the 
Great Lakes rather than hagfish, although I would not be surprised to find 
both there as both are found in seawater and fresh water with many of the 
species being marine critters that breed in freshwater.  There are some 
freshwater varieties of lamprey.

In Europe most lamprey were taken by seining, as shown in Campi's The Fish 

If I were looking for lamprey in the U.S., I think I would look for an 
oriental market that carried fish.


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