Invasivore efforts to install a nutria colony in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park

The New York Times Magazine had an interesting piece yesterday on the budding invasivore food movement. For those who missed it, here’s a clip:

There’s a new shift in the politics of food, not quite a movement yet, more of an eco-culinary frisson. But it may have staying power; the signs and portents are there. Vegans, freegans, locavores — meet the invasivores.

Some divers in the Florida Keys recently held a lionfish derby, the idea being to kill and eat lionfish, an invasive species. Local chefs cooperated by promoting the lionfish as a tasty entree. The idea drew editorial support from Andrew Revkin in a post on The Times’s Dot Earth blog in which he also mentioned an attempt by some fisheries biologists to rename the invading Asian carp “Kentucky tuna” to make it more appealing to diners. And the Utne Reader recently ran an article about Chicago chefs turning their attention to the same invasive fish.

The rumblings go further back, of course, as rumblings always do. The idea of eating kudzu and the recipes for it have been around for decades. More recently, at the beginning of 2009, a San Francisco blogger on matters ecological, animal and political, Rachel Kesel, posted a nicely turned argument for the “invasive species diet”…

Well, it got me thinking about how we should probably all try to incorporate a few more invasive species into our diets. And, with that in mind, I spent a great deal of today foraging along the banks of the Huron River. Sadly, the pickings were rather slim. While I was able to collect a few hand-fulls of garlic mustard, I wasn’t able to find even a single zebra mussel. And, while I was able to spot what I think was a non-migratory Canada goose, the rock that I hurled at it fell pitifully short. So, as I sit here eating raw garlic mustard leaves tonight, my mind is racing, thinking of ways to increase my daily allotment of invasivore protein, in the interest of protecting Michigan’s delicate ecosystem. And, I think I’ve got a solution. I’ve contacted a friend in Louisiana and arranged to have three mating pair of nutriaor mouse-beaver – sent to Michigan. If all goes well, I’ll have the six of them in my possession by this weekend. And, God willing, we’ll have a thriving colony on the banks of the Huron come summer… Happy hunting!


I hear they taste like White Castles.

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  1. Pudrick
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Hell, I’ve got a freezer full of invasive species living on my block. Only reason I haven’t killed them is because I was taught not to kill anything you wouldn’t eat.

    Guess we’re pulling from the same page on that, on zebra mussels anyhow. But I do bet they all taste like White Castle. But I am getting hungry and garlic mustard might be just the thing to season the stew.

  2. Posted January 4, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Asian Carp got the name “silverfin” from Louisiana marketing geniuses. Good eating, so they say, if you know how to clean the thing.—good-eating-if-prepared-correctly/

  3. Knox
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Great idea. If you could order a few more, I’d love to give a set to my son as pets. I’ve thought about giving him rats before, but they’re so damned small. I think he’d have a lot more fun with rodents closer to his own size.

  4. Tommy
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Do Republicans count? And how do you get rid of the bitterness?

  5. Mike Shecket
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    A nudist colony? All right!!! I don’t know about the invasive sores though.

  6. Edward
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Is this the giant rat species that they make the artificial sweetner NUTRIA® from?

  7. Posted January 4, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    They don’t do well in cold-winter areas; some were accidentally released in Michigan at one point but they died out. According to Wikipedia, “During cold winters, coypu often suffer frostbite on their tails leading to infection or death.”

  8. Eel
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I would open my home to them in the winter. I’m sure others would as well. The important thing is that we get an invasive species so that we can do our part to eradicate it.

  9. Elizabeth
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Looks like an army of volunteer dentists will need to be arranged, as well. Maybe we can be the founding chapter of DERMA – Dental Rights for Mammals?

  10. T Bob
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    They’re herbivores, so my guess is that they’d taste better that raccoons and other garbage eaters. And they have wonderful fur. I envision a day when every man woman and child in Ypsilanti is clothed from top to bottom in nutria pelts. I really think this could be the answer to all of our problems.

  11. Ted
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Brian R and Steve P could call their professional baseball team on Water Street the Ypsi River Rats, and have a giant Nutria as a mascot.

  12. Ale Roka
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    And, if the nutria population gets out of control, we could import some alligators to prey on them. I hear they taste like KFC, and I want some sweet boots to go with my stole.

  13. Ypsiosaurus Wrecks
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    No need to worry Mark, with the thomason family farm cranking out “free range” rabbits there should be no shortage of critters to feed you and the family.

  14. Kim
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I love this community. So full of ideas. I think we’ve not only got the solution for Water Street, but the solution for all of SE Michigan. Once we’re known for our giant, child-eating nutria, nothing can stop us. The nutria tourism market is ours to take.

  15. Trolliosis
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    “Kentucky Tuna” sounds no more appetizing than Asian Carp….gross.

  16. dragon
    Posted January 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Hey, pumpkin pie may taste like sewer rat, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy fucking dessert.

  17. bash
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    we may not want to let these demons go in riverside park… if they stay they can make huge holes and erode the banks.

  18. Edward
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    That’s the beauty of it, Bash. We could live in those holes when we lose our homes and apartments.

  19. Robert
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    If some aspiring chef wants to start dishing up Zebra Mussles in a nice Garlic Mustard sauce, I’d be willing to smell it.

  20. Kim
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    The kudzu and alligators will keep the bank from eroding, Bash.

  21. Jon
    Posted January 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Ahhh… Nutria. That was the subject of my favorite segment of Insomniac with Dave Attell, Nutria Hunt:

  22. thomas
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Good work. I saw my first one today. He was laying in the sun, chewing on what looked like a dear carcass. He looked super meaty, about the size of a collie but with smaller legs.

  23. Hungryman
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I would eat the fuck out of a nutria right now.

  24. Lara Budd
    Posted June 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I look forward to a world where it’s just nutria, carp, cockroaches and humans.

  25. jon doe
    Posted August 17, 2011 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Take the baseball team down to the river for batting practice

  26. Leslie
    Posted December 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    They can kill a tree in one night! They eat the bark all the way around it, very destructive critters…

  27. Posted January 20, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Why do you people have such an urge for killing? It is so sad. Animal protein doesnt serve your body and obviously your brain too. Your greed has no limits. Learn to share this planet with other species, egoist.

  28. Meta
    Posted April 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of invasive species diets, did you hear that the Queen of England eats lamprays baked into pies?

  29. Posted August 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I just did an image search for “nutria” because I was not sure what they looked liked, and was pretty surprised that the image I selected is a part of your blog, Mark. Of all the blogs in all the world, I ended up here. That’s fantastic. Yay! Nutria.

  30. James
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    You know the point of the invasivore movement is to eat invasive species because they damage the ecosystem, not to actually introduce new invasive species right? Introducing new invasive species is stupid and illegal. There are plenty of stray cats. Eat those.

  31. Samantha
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    This is discussing and just down right sick!

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] giant rodents. This, I’m assuming, has something to do with an article that I’d posted about cultivating a colony of these creatures along the Huron River, so that Ypsilantians could feed themselves. (I wasn’t being serious.) In the past month we’ve […]

  2. By Musing of Love on November 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

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  3. […] can’t recall the specifics, but, in recognition of the important work I’ve done on this blog over the past decade, a well respected member of the United Nations came forward several years ago […]

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