Saturday, May 21
My teenagers left mid-morning yesterday to go tromping around the island to collect hote hote, a shellfish that gets its name from its ability to stick tightly to rocks. Hote hote means sticky!
Our good friends Skita and Eta took Sarah and Benjamin to a remote area and showed them how to clean and cook the shellfish in bamboo tubes. They also cooked a little rice and ate it with coconut shell spoons and bowls that our friends quickly fashioned. Disposable and eco-friendly dishes? I think they may start a trend.
They came home at dusk with a bag full of critters for us to clean and cook. We tried to send some home with our friends, but they said the whole reason for the trip was for Sarah and Benjamin to bring home shellfish. In February this year, National Geographic ran an article called “Seeing the Light.” It featured hote hote, also known as chitons, because of their unique eye structure:
The weirdest lenses in nature...belong to chitons - a group of marine mollusks that look like ovals adorned with armored plates. These plates are dotted with hundreds of small stage-three eyes, each with its own lens. The lenses are made of a mineral called aragonite, which the chitons assemble from calcium and carbonate molecules in seawater. Simply put, this creature has evolved a way to sharpen its vision by looking through rocks. And when their rock lenses erode, the chitons just fabricate some new ones.
Obviously, our Creator God made these amazing creatures and their eyes.
It is a long and tedious process to clean these little guys. And they are SO chewy. Think about trying to chew one of those pencil topper erasers. It took us a couple of hours on Saturday night to prepare the first batch. Sunday we went a little bit more quickly with the second batch. And some seluk had been thrown in the bag as a bonus!
We shared some of the hote hote with Matthew as a thank you for all of his faithful hard work while he's been staying in Marulaon. But we ate the rest for supper. Cooked in coconut milk and curry and mixed with unripe papaya, it was a tropical treat.