elvers-e1494355834130-1199x800Here’s a word from a recent crossword puzzle, a word I had forgotten, if I ever knew: elver, a baby eel.  Very young elvers are transparent, a fact I learned when I saw this photo that CC posted on her Crossword Corner blog. 

As soon as I saw the picture, I thought of those cooked clear noodles known as glass or cellophane noodles.  The handful of young eels looks exactly like the same to me.  The noodles are made from a starch, often from mung beans or even sweet potatoes, as is the Korean variety called dangmyeon.  I’ve never seen the word dangmyeon in a crossword and hope I never do.

Cooked cellophane (glass) noodles

An Asian restaurant that my husband and I frequented when we lived in LA featured clear bean thread noodles in several brothy soups and hot pot dishes.  I couldn’t stand them then, and still can’t.  Impossible to chew.  Made me choke.

Give me pan-fried rice noodles, please.  Unless the bean threads are dropped in hot oil, then they puff up, and add a nice crunch to salads.crispy-noodles-lettuce-wraps-stir-fry-3217104-step-08-5c3c1f1cc9e77c0001afec5eIt crossed my mind that eating elvers6685e-disgust(ewww) would probably be worse than eating those slippery noodles.  But guess what?  I came across this article and found out that elvers are considered a delicacy.  Not only that, the paper, dated January 2019, seems happy that they’re back.  The article itself is dated 2013, so it’s all a bit iffy, but maybe you can get some if you live in Great Britain.  Or in Maine. Oh my, look at the price.

There’s quite a history about elver-eating, a learning moment for me gained by doing crosswords.  And now I won’t forget the word elver.


I don’t mind eels
Except as meals.
And the way they feels.

–Ogden Nash

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