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From Shipworms to Calamari: A Culinary Speculation I'm Willing to Skip

Saturday, 25 November 2023 21:58 Opinion

In a bold culinary venture, a group of scientists from Plymouth University is venturing into uncharted territory by establishing the world's inaugural shipworm farm. These marine creatures, affectionately dubbed "naked clams" by the researchers, boast a nutritional profile rich in vitamin B12 and require nothing more than wood and water for cultivation. The prospect is undeniably positive as we seek sustainable alternatives to traditional protein sources. With meat contributing to nearly 60% of greenhouse gas emissions in food production and industrial fish farming carrying significant environmental burdens, the pursuit of innovative protein options is more crucial than ever.

Reflecting on a bygone fascination of the mid-2010s, my partner once fervently championed the idea that insect consumption would become a norm in our lifetimes. Intrigued by a London restaurant serving crickets, he envisioned a future of tail-to-tentacle dining. However, a transformative experience awaited us during a visit to Thailand. At a vibrant night market, he enthusiastically sampled local delicacies – fried grasshoppers, scorpions, and stag beetles on sticks. Yet, his culinary optimism waned as he bit into a tray of oily, glistening crickets. The touted "future of meat" proved challenging as he grimaced, admitting, "It's very… insect-like. There's no meat on it. All you can taste is legs and wings." The much-anticipated insect feast ended prematurely, leaving him humbled.

Considering the shipworms, or naked clams, as a potential protein source, one can't help but ponder their destiny. Could they, with the right culinary finesse, evolve into the next calamari rings? The unfortunate reality, however, lies in the unappetizing images that accompany this thought. Deep-seated cultural taboos and visceral reactions to unconventional foods persist, evident in our propensity to pay exorbitant sums to witness politicians partake in eccentric meals. Despite our ability to intellectualize the nutritional benefits, the true essence of food lies in its appeal. Crafting a palatable experience with worms demands culinary ingenuity, a feat not to be underestimated. Meanwhile, pass the vegetables – a reminder that, for now, some culinary frontiers may be better left unexplored.

In the realm of wealth and recognition, hereditary businesses extend beyond traditional monarchies. In the worlds of film and music, a new wave of heirs and heiresses, products of nepotism, are now seeking to conquer the realm of viral fame online. The trend kicked off with Francesca, Martin Scorsese's 24-year-old daughter, luring her iconic father into entertaining TikTok videos, dissecting slang phrases with him. Soon, Sofia Coppola's teenager, Romy Mars, shared her misadventures, going viral recounting the tale of being grounded for attempting to charter a helicopter. The latest entrant to this burgeoning genre is Jack Henry Robbins, Susan Sarandon's son, who crafted a meta Instagram reel titled "Day in the life of a nepo baby," humorously portraying the privileged routine of a legacy child with lines like, "Every day I like to wake up and sell a show to either HBO or Netflix, based on my mood." While two out of three videos boast surprisingly good content, the looming question remains: Is there any public arena these nepo babies won't infiltrate? Forget AI threatening job security; it seems the real contenders are the offspring of privilege.

In a linguistic turn, a recent study by the research agency Perspectus Global has boldly declared the 25 most annoying words in the English language. These linguistic offenders neatly categorize into four distinct groups: infantilizing repetition (nom nom nom, din-dins, hanky-panky), Americanisms (lolz, awesomeness, nookie), recreation-based (Chrimbo, holibobs, happy Friyay), and patronizing man-speak (wifey, methinks, no offense, but). While all the featured words undeniably warrant disdain, there are notable omissions from the list: the ever-infuriating "just to play devil's advocate," the dreaded "this is less of a question, more of a comment," and the ubiquitous nightmare that is "eat out to help out." As we navigate this linguistic minefield, it becomes clear that annoyance knows no bounds. Authored by Kathryn Bromwich, a commissioning editor and writer on the Observer New Review.

In the captivating saga of nepotism babies seeking digital stardom and the linguistic battleground of annoying words, one cannot help but ponder the ever-expanding influence of privileged offspring and the evolving landscape of language. As heirs and heiresses continue to carve their space in the online realm, humorously showcasing their extravagant routines, the question remains: Will there be any sanctuary from their pervasive presence in public life? Meanwhile, in the world of words, the research agency Perspectus Global's identification of the 25 most irksome terms sheds light on linguistic trends that provoke collective disdain. Yet, the unmentioned phrases like "just to play devil's advocate" and the dreaded "eat out to help out" remind us that linguistic annoyances are as diverse as the individuals who wield them. Navigating this landscape requires both a sense of humor and a linguistic resilience. In this intersection of privilege and language, the only certainty is that the narratives of nepotism babies and the battle against linguistic pet peeves are far from reaching their conclusion.

The mother of a 6-year-old Muslim boy, who was fatally stabbed in what is believed to be a hate crime related to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas