If not for the help of Ann Arbor, Mich., Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee might have been bereft of a traditional lamprey pie.
Lampreys may look like some kind of terrible tentacle monsters, but they used to be a culinary delicacy, and Gloucester has a tradition of giving one to the monarch since the Middle Ages and intended to do so for the Diamond Jubilee. Unfortunately, lampreys were severely overfished in the U.K. and are now an endangered species.
The Great Lakes, however, have a surplus of the squiggly things, and representatives from the Fisheries Commission were only too happy to send over a couple pounds. They just wish they could have sent even more.
"We would prefer to send them truckloads of lamprey," said Great Lakes Fisheries Commission spokesperson Mark Gaden to the Detroit Free Press.
Lampreys are an invasive species in the Great Lakes, where they’ve been attaching themselves to native fish like lake trout and sucking out all their insides. Poisons and traps work to control them to a certain extent, but lately lampreys been showing up in Lake Erie in swarms and so far poison hasn’t been helping. Maybe they just need to become a fashionable snack again.
Sarrah Maccey of the Gloucester Folk Museum has been researching recipes for lamprey pie and intends to cook the dish with the help of a chef. One recipe calls for the lampreys to be cooked in their own blood with vinegar and cinnamon, then baked into a crust.
Somehow, we suspect she is more looking forward to the 60-year-old Diamond Jubilee whiskey.