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Oh man, how great is that word I just made up?  Gambertarianism?  Well… I’m totally a Gambertarian now.  WTF is a Gambertarian?

I’ll happily tell you, but first you’ll have to follow me to paradise…

Welcome to paradise. It smells like fish here.


Joining me on the adventure (well, she actually architected the whole thing, which makes her more like Morpheus in this alternate reality and that makes me more like Neo.  Woah), is my wonderful GF Rachel.  You might think it’s a perfectly normal thing for a young(ish) couple to have a romantic date to a fish market to find things to murder.   It turns out, however, there is a bit of a hitch here in that Ms. Rachel has a bone rattlingly horrific fear of crustaceans.  I blame this on the fact that she’s Jewish, and the bible CLEARLY says “But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.”.  Do Jewish people follow that part of the bible?    Rachel finds shellfish ‘detestable’ in the same way that waking up to find a naked guy in your room wearing a mask of your face with a wig fashioned from your barber shop hair clippings as ‘detestable’.   Which is my way of saying ‘horrifying’ (if you don’t think of that as horrifying I don’t know what to do to help you).

Incidentally, just a little while in Leviticus it also very clearly states not to eat Camels or Rock Badgers either.  Luckily for us, this store did not have any Rock Badgers in it.  Unluckily for Rachel, it had one or two giant crabs, lampreys, weird looking fish and other swimming horrormonsters.  It also had the reason we’d come down to sunny Rosemead:



Sorry about the horrific grating sound.  That’s what Satan’s laughter at the fate of these shrimp sound like.   One of the other things I’ve learned about the whole ‘kill your own food’ thing?  If you’re not Zuckerberg and you have to find this shit on your own, it’s not the easiest thing to do, then when you eventually do find it, it’s not exactly a cheap option.  Here I got 2 pounds of shrimp (I think these might have been prawns technically) for $19.99 a pound.  As I was checking out I looked down and they were selling Tiger Shrimp for 3.99 a pound.  Life, in this case, is worth $16.99 a pound.  I paid an extra $33.98 for the privelage of taking the karmic debt of shrimpmurder onto myself.

We then put the shrimp in a bucket with some ice and drove them over to my friend Gabe’s place who lived nearby.  They were thrashing around and I was still a bit overwhelmed from the fish market, so by the time we got down to slaughtering time I hadn’t really been thinking about how to do it.  As a result, I end up doing this shrimp ‘backwards’.  I tried to kill them the same way as lobsters, which didn’t work so well for lobsters (I know I didn’t post anything about lobster, I’m terrible but I did kill a lobster).  I ended up bisecting them and then was forced with the same issue as with lobsters, where the tail portions with the distributed nervous system continue to move once detached from the brain.  It’s not too gruesome, but if you’re easily squeamish you might not want to watch.  Personally I think the sound is worse than the video (Rachel’s noises here are pretty cute, IMO).

I’ll put up a second post (in theory) at some point regarding the humane way to slaughter shellfish, as this is something that’s not nearly as easy as it sounds like, and to those of you who are offended by the method I used to kill these shrimp, sorry!  Most of them had been chilling in an ice bath so they didn’t move much at all.  If you’re planning on killing your own crustaceans though, don’t be too freaked out when they continue to move after they’re in multiple pieces, it’s pretty weird the first time you see it.  I’ll say that killing these shrimp was much easier than killing a lobster and I didn’t feel anything resembling remorse.  They’re too alien and too weird.  I think having more people there helped too, because talking about it made me think a bit less about it.  This wasn’t like a fish though where I could feel it’s heartbeat.  It still felt very much like a weird alien bug that was flapping around.  In the video I’m wearing an oven mitt because I didn’t want to get ‘stung’.

Weirdly enough when I was trying to find live shrimp originally, we found a sushi restaurant that would let you eat live shrimp (still ‘dancing’ when they gave it to you) sushi, but in this case when I asked them (and that was a bit of an awkward conversation) if I bought their dancing shrimp meal, if they’d let me be the one to kill it, they were weirded out by this and said no because the shrimp have sharp stingers and if one stung me and I was allergic they could be liable.  Now that I’ve seen a shrimp my question is:  What the fuck were those guys talking about?

Once I had killed two shrimp I decided the best way to eat them was shrimp sushi.  So I deveined them, removed the shells and left the tails on so they’d be pretty.  Here’s what fresh shrimp sushi looks like:

Incidentally the knife Gabe had was as sharp as the devil’s balls and it made this whole process much easier.  The shrimp themselves were actually surprisingly non-tender and extra flavorful.  I suppose that’s not really shocking but I found cooking the shrimp made them much less rubbery than eating them raw.  I have one last video of Gabe and I enjoying some very very fresh sushi.  I was a little worried about getting sick from eating shrimp after not eating anything crustaceany in a while (see above re: co-star’s horrific fear of anything with a shell, weird eyes or claws).

We tried frying a couple in butter in the more traditional “expose them to high heat” method of killing them.  This seemed to kill them much faster (some quick internet reading on the ride over to Gabe’s let us know if the car just got too hot during the car ride over the shrimp would probably die), and the moral of the story was “Shrimp dont do well with heat”.  Ultimately the pair we cooked this way were good, but then we ended up bisecting the rest and cooking up just the tails and this really hit the sweet spot for flavor.  This was certainly the biggest massacre of them all yet on the site and all in I think I probably ended up killing about 15  shrimp.  At the end it went really fast and all in all I didn’t have any moral hangups knifing them.  In hindsight though if I could have done this in a way that killed them faster I would have preferred to.

Rachel experienced the same weird issue that I had with killing a chicken.  When the animal went from being alive and ‘horrible’, then once it was dead and scaled and bisected it quickly became something else.  Our brains categorize food quickly as no longer being ‘this is something alive or once living’ and instead into ‘this is a familiar looking delicious thing that I want to eat’.  It’s a very weird mental transformation and you can really feel the change happen immediately.

Here’s a pair of final images of what they looked like once all cooked up and then the remnants of our feast.

Shrimp in the pan


On the plate

In the stomach

1 comment to Gambertarianism

  • tom

    You raise some interesting ideas, particularly your awareness of your own minds transition between perceiving a sentient critter and ‘food’.

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