Okay, first of all: Yes, I have, and no, it was awful. (Whale is not a taste I plan to acquire anytime soon – or even in this lifetime – even if tortured with red-hot pincers.) But regardless of whether you think people should eat whale, don’t you kind of wonder HOW they eat whale? I mean, a whale is BIG. So if you happen to catch one, you’ll be eating a LOT of whale. For a very long time. So long, that the kids will be saying, “Oh no, whale again?” when you’ve still got a freezer full. Or twenty freezers full. And there’s no Whale Helper to make it go down any easier.
So…how do you cook a whale?
Well, first of all, you eat the bits that are supposedly best left uncooked:
And then you get creative, making sure to eat every part of the whale, in the fine tradition of Don’t Waste Anything restaurants. For example:
When they really start to rebel, you can employ these tricky disguises:
And in case you’re wondering why kids might be the teensiest bit reluctant to see whale on the dinner table in any form, it’s useful to know that the reason 96.2% of Japanese people say they’ve eaten whale meat is that it’s a staple in public school lunches. Yes, once or twice a week, the government thriftily presses this year’s catch of whale meat* into service to feed the nation’s youngsters. Waste not, want not.
* Apparently there’s quite a lot left over after “research” purposes have been satisfied).
All photos from the August 2014 Dancyu magazine.
Read a novel set in Tokyo
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!