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Saturday, December 16, 2006 

A Whale of a Cookbook

for knowledge and food!

My newest temp job has taken me to one of the hidden treasures in my town, The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. I frequented it quite often as a kid and have always loved it, whether it was watching the stars and planets at the Gladwin Planetarium, or watching the Spiny Lobsters lollygag at the Sea Center. I am very honored to have a landed there as a Temp and am so proud of the work and the exhibits they have (and will do) there.

One of the trademarks of this remarkable museum with small square footage, but humungeous heart, is the Blue Whale Skeleton outside. When kids see the whale, they mistake it first for a dinosaur, but soon find that it is even BETTER! This huge creature is not an extinct species, but lives today and can be spotted off the coast in the SBChannel.

The Museum has created a cookbook to help raise funds to restore and "refresh" the Blue Whale bones and make a cast of the skeleton to be shared with other museums. It's an expensive process. So among other fundraising efforts, they came up with a wonderous cookbook involving some recipes that, quite frankly, I defy you to come up with anywhere else.

It is beautifully illustrated with watercolor/pen and ink images of the Museum and a gorgeous painting of the Blue Whale bones is featured on the cover.

The cookbook is also sprinkled with information on the Museum, the various departments and what they actually do, and the amazing people that make up the staff. It also shares a little bit about the History of the Museum and it's mission to "Inspire a Passion for the Natural World"

What better gift to inspire a Passion for unusual recipes while aiding a great cause by purchasing a cookbook for someone you know who either loves food, loves nature, loves knowledge, loves history, loves stories, loves giving back to community, loves kids, loves animals, loves science. And, really, doesn't that just about cover EVERYONE on your "Holiday List?"

Some of the recipes:

Primordial Ooze. (A Spicy Szechuan Peanut Sauce type event)
Zucchini Bisque.
West African Groundnut Stew
Segedin Goulash
Turkey, Pecan and Bleu Cheese Salad with Honey-Tabasco Dressing
Vanilla Crescents
Mustard Sage Chicken with Spatzle
Mushroom Stroganoff with Tofu
Poor Man's Sole Walewska
John's Rincon Formation Black Mud Pie
Pomegranate Sorbet
Sauerkraut Casserole (for the prevention of scurvy)
**Fried Mealworm Egg Rolls or Wontons
**Cricket Pecan Tortes

**(I told you about some of the unique recipes that you might not find anywhere else!)

and one of the recipes with my favorite "story" introducing it:
Quail Breasts.

"The California Quail is the State Bird, and they are very appealing running around our trails in herds like demented mini-chickens, bumping into each other, and eventually hoisting their plump bodies into the air in an attempt at flight, smack into the nearest bush. We leave those for the Bobcats to turn into a meal. Culinary quail come deboned and plucked from a farm in Greensboro, Georgia."

Now....that's good reading...and good eats!

I don't see the cookbook listed on their online shop, but I hope you take a little time and order one up for "take out"

A Whale of a Cookbook - $21.95

Museum Store
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 682-4711 x121

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