What’s for dinner?


In the past, I’ve tried to make my Polyphyletic Jambalaya for dinner on Darwin Day — if you make something with seafood, it’s especially easy to toss in representatives of a great many phyla all at once. Alas, this year I’m busy busy busy all afternoon and evening, with no time for anything…I may be wolfing down a crust of bread and a glass of water.

You surely have better plans.


  1. Newfie says

    Alas, this year I’m busy busy busy all afternoon and evening, with no time for anything…I may be wolfing down a crust of bread and a glass of water.

    what? no wine with your stale bread?

  2. Sili says

    The double-helical slide (for the kids?) is a nice touch.

    Now, would someone kindly tell me where I go to get some delicious monkeymeat?

    Sorry. Apemeat.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    The Redhead is planning on cook up a big pot of her potato soup. Lots of various meat products present.

  4. Keenacat says

    I would love to do a delicious interpretation of “Your inner fish”, but sadly I lack the time today and have to study for pharmacology. Maybe I’ll be able to put together a menue tomorrow.
    Any suggestions?
    I was planning to find some recipes online, but maybe somebody has anything tried and proven to recommend.
    The boyfriend is not too fond of fish, but he usually eats (and mostly likes) what I put together, so there should be no problem.

  5. TheElkMechanic says

    Well, between the grain and yeast in the bread and the protozoans in the water, at least it will still be polyphyletic.

  6. says

    Damn, all this and he cooks too. My admiration grows; you’re almost approaching Joe-level.

    Joe’s making one of my favorite scary recipes tonight, the one that starts, “First saute’ the bacon in the butter.” You end up with a tasty Caribbean eggplant dish that’s one of the reasons we named our first imaginary child Aubergine.

    And, really, it’s very little bacon in very little butter. Good tho’.

  7. Kirk says

    I’ve got some leftover jambalaya I spent a day making a couple weeks ago! Might still be good…. Maybe not.

  8. Angel Kaida says

    OT, but did anyone else who took that stupid poll (the one with no reasonable answers that required an email address) a few days ago get signed up for the OneNewsNow daily news brief without their knowledge? The poll is my number 1 suspect, though any of my friends might have signed me up as a joke.
    And yes, I know I should have used a fake email address. I do stupid things sometimes.

  9. says

    “Distant relative” would be better than “genetic ancestor”. The latter are all dead, unless you want to argue that bacteria, archaea, and protists have a kind of immortality.

    This cartoon makes me think of the lame creationist “jokes” about eating dinosaurs (chicken) at McDonald’s. They’re masters of, well, nothing at all.

    Glen D

  10. tyaddow says

    Not sure what I’ll have for dinner, but I’ll be drinking a bottle of Sokol-Blosser Evolution. Happy Darwin Day!

  11. Prillotashekta says

    Heh heh.

    When teaching his “evolution of the vertebrates” class, my adviser provides recipes incorporating the major clades discussed on the handouts throughout the lecture, which means I’ve got some recipes for most of Chordata around here somewhere.

  12. Newfie says

    This cartoon makes me think of the lame creationist “jokes” about eating dinosaurs (chicken) at McDonald’s.

    It’s something you never hear a paleontologist say. “Likely tasted of ostrich or crocodile.”

  13. jonathan says

    What’s the point of being a militant atheist if you don’t even have underlings to do things like polish your boots and make you dinner. Where are all these foot soldiers I keep hearing about… and where do I apply… there doesn’t seem to be a recruiter at the mall.

  14. Sven DIMilo says

    A “great many phyla”??? Really? What do you eat?
    Chordata (fish, maybe a little chorizo)
    Mollusca (mussels, clams, squid, snails)
    Arthropoda (shrimp, crab, lobster)
    um…what else?

  15. says

    Personally, I’m going to be blogging about The Voyage of the Beagle over the next few weeks, and, from what I’ve heard, many… interesting… culinary tips await within. Darwin was something of a gastronomical adventurer, or so I’ve heard.

  16. cpsmith says

    Tonight I shall dine upon perogie, in honour of my single celled ancestors. From such humble beginings comes great tastiness.

  17. Tim H says

    I may be wolfing down a crust of bread and a glass of water.

    Ok, that’s genus Triricum, right? What phylum is wheat from? And how many more phyla can you cover with an assortmenyt of veggies? I’m woefully ignorant of plant taxonomy.

  18. Desert Son says

    Not much of a cook, so whatever I have on tap for this evening will be markedly uninspired


    I will be pouring myself an absolutely spectacular glass of 25 year Macallan in honor of the day.

    Slainte! Happy Darwin Day! Happy Lincoln’s Birthday! Happy Monkey!

    No kings,


  19. bastian says

    When you get down to it, any jambalaya that isn’t vegan should be polyphyletic.

    Assuming, of course, that you are willing to use “phylum” and “division” somewhat interchangeably.

  20. Keanus says

    Off the immediate topic, Lauri Lebo has a lovely article about her sojourn talking with the Brits about the American division between the rational and irrational with some especially poignant comments on evolution and creationism. You can read it here.

  21. Funnyguts says

    Me? I’ll be begging for food money. But if I had the money and time available? An Ecuadorian vegetable plate. (Or I would if there were Ecuadorian vegetable dishes on the Internets.)

  22. Sven DiMilo says


    The only echinoderms I’ve ever eaten were sea-urchin eggs in (outrageously expensive) sushi. I understand they eat sea cucumbers in Japan. Neither is likely to be a part of an American’s seafood stew, though.

  23. says

    You surely have better plans.

    Plans? No, not really. But I had a shiteload of shite documents to crap all over (as a key technical reviewer/editor), so decided to do the crapping (figuratively speaking!) whilst eating dinner: Off to a nearby restaurant! This is southern France, so had a seafood/terrior (local produce) salad, then a four-cheeses pizza (admittedly a dangerous proposition in S. France), all washed down with a local red wine. Then some of that wonderful Italian ice cream, and a caffè espresso. And completely, I’m afraid, forget about it being Abe Lincoln’s birthday…

    I’m about to expl—BAMB!…

  24. says

    Sea cucumber is delicious! Not much meat on them, but what there is reminds me of mollusc, with the flaky texture of firm whitefish.

    And really, it’s easy to get biodiversity in the pot just by going through your local Asian grocery (which, in my case is 150 miles away).

  25. Sven DiMilo says

    Oh, I think I once ate jellyfish at a place in NY Chinatown. That’s another phylum in the pot. But still only 5. If you want to include botanical divisions, one herb shoots the whole Chlorophyta, and your trip to the Asian grocery might get you a brown and a red alga. Fungi, maybe 2 or 3 divisions max. Still not a “great many” to me, but then I’m a taxonomic pedant.

  26. Aquaria says

    I’m not doing anything. I’m still stuffed from the bento I had yesterday that I couldn’t finish. The unagi sushi my husband had was really good, too.

    Right down the street from that restaurant are not one but two Asian supermarkets, among the many in town. I can’t imagine living someplace without ethnic markets.

  27. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    OT, Rev. BDC, I finally got around to trying the Arrogant Bastard Ale. The beer was very smooth, with a lingering bitter aftertaste (the hoppiness I presume). The Redhead tried one and seems to think it was too hoppy for her taste. We each had with some food, but this weekend I hope to try it on its own.

  28. eyeoffaith says

    Add some Lingula stems (should be able to get them in asian markets) to the mix and you can add Brachiopoda to you list of phyla

  29. Nell says

    My mum (back in the UK) cooked her dinner guests this birthday dinner:
    Primordial Soup
    Fungi: Garlic mushrooms in breadcrumbs
    Early Plants: Actually asparagus, but it looks a bit Carboniferous
    Invertebrata: Smoked mussels
    Fish: Whitebait
    Birds: Eggs Florentine
    Mammals: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (with roasties and baby carrots)
    Pud: a birthday cake with 20 candles, a multiplication sign in grapes and oat cakes, and a whole Binham blue with 10 candles
    The controversy: “Rhubarb, rhubarb!” and cream

    I sure wish I was near enough to pop home for dinner sometimes.

  30. Johannes says

    Here in Denmark some of my fellow biochemistry students and I gathered for a cake party with coffee and cognac. One was a layered cake with the words ‘Chucky-D 200 years’ written on top, the other was an apple pie with the ‘March of Man’ drawn on it with chocolate icing.
    Quotes were read from ‘The Origin’ now and then, and the evening was ended with Darwin’s concluding remarks on the “endless forms most beautiful”

  31. Jafafa Hots says

    “I make mine with trilo-bites. “

    Ohhh. I just imagined trilo-shaped gummy candies. They would go over really well on the trilo-listserv.

    Yes, I am subscribed to a trilobite listserv. Geek points.

  32. Diego says

    That’s uncanny– I’ve had a similar experience to your polyphyletic jambalaya. As a beginning grad student I went to my first scientific meeting with my adviser and a lab mate. The meeting was in Louisiana and we stopped at a great Cajun place and started to count up the number of phyla represented on the menu. The food was great and had high diversity and disparity scores!

    Happy Darwin Day, PZ.

  33. Godfrey says

    @51- try Double Bastard Ale sometime, if you like Arrogant Bastard. It’s something like 11% alcohol so it’s like drinking a bottle of wine, and will give a big hangover if you aren’t careful. Tasty, though. I celebrated Darwin’s b-day by getting (way) back to my fungus roots- I had a Sam Adams…or two. Yeast, where would we be without it?

  34. cyan says

    Whenever I show organisms, whether in context of phyla or systems etc, I get so damned hungry!

    So: am hungry most of my work time.

    And share this personal visceral reaction with students, (AFTER asking them their own gut perceptions).

    Many, if not most or all, are also viscerally stunned with an initial perception of deliciocity.

    – cyan


    Darwin Day today: began each class with the podcast from Nature (nature.com) regarding Darwin’s evolving views of pigeon breeding
    – halfway through the podcast, I began showing photos of fancy pigeons from this site:

    OMG! what a great conversation between students, initiated by students, about what they saw from actual photos of artificially bred pigeons and the info from the Nature podcast info.

    I could have left the classroom and the same eureka moments would have been reached. Enforces belief in result of battle of ideas.

    tee hee hee: bit of example that evidence & logic trump dogma (if only for one class period time cognizance)

  35. Keeley says

    I have a toddler, so I simplified our theme dinner a lot. We had:

    “Four Legged” Fish (Salmon Steaks with carrot legs and caper eyes)
    “Galapagos Greens” (A simple salad)
    “Monkey’s Uncle” Banana Bread

    I didn’t want to get to intellectual on him. He hasn’t, yet, begun to ask origins questions.

  36. Tielserrath says

    At work we had a (very) large strawberry cheesecake emblazoned with ‘Happy Birthday Charles!’ and a heap of redfruits (the advantage of it being summer in February). Unfortunately just as I cut it four ambulances arrived and unloaded their patients on our doorstep.

    So we wished them Happy Monkey and they looked rather alarmed…

  37. Confused says

    I read that as “Prophylactic Jambalaya”. I’m not sure I even want to imagine what that would be like.

    Darwin day I was up until midnight manufacturing tiny abominations against god and nature electroporating chicken embryos.

  38. says

    Heck, have a bacon, lettuce, & tomato sandwich. That’s polyphyletic. Crackers & hummus? That’s polyphyletic. Toast & peanut butter? That’s polyphyletic. You’ve just been focusing too much on the animals.

  39. Pat Silver says

    Throw in some freshly collected seaweed and you almost certainly have a large number of small organisms from several different phyla living on it.

  40. Lana says

    Both my husband and I ended up working late so we just picked up Chinese carryout. But we shared a bottle of Monkey Bay wine.

    We’ve both been working a lot since we became empty nesters.

  41. says

    Scallops, mussels, clams and squid – you’ve got one phylum right there. And then there was some chorizo, and as a type of sausage, I figure that’s got to be worth two or three phyla in itself. Can’t argue with tapas!

  42. Rebecca C. says

    I’m a vegan and I didn’t have any mushrooms on the menu last night, so my Darwin Day Party menu consisted of only one kingdom (namely our good friends the plants), unless you count the bacteria that undoubtedly hijacked their ways into our tummies.

    Oh! I take it back. I had a cider. Mmmm … yeast. Fungi got their invitation after all!

  43. marilove says

    I’ve been sick :( I went to Denny’s last night because I was too tired and icky feeling to cook. I had a superbird. Om nom nom. Oh and a chocolate milk shake. Haha.

  44. tubi says

    Alas, this year I’m busy busy busy all afternoon and evening,

    You’re really a closet Bokononist, aren’t you?

  45. catgirl says

    “Distant relative” would be better than “genetic ancestor”

    Aww, you beat me to it. I was going to point out that it’s more like eating cousins than ancestors, unless you can find some really old mummified things.

  46. Medusa says

    I must have “devolved.” I’m a vegetarian, so the ancestors I eat are very far removed from me.