No, not a recipe from the Noma cookbook, but more squiggly things brought back from the beach;
Not picking up seashells from the beach is like not eating peanuts when they're put in front of you with a drink, you tell yourself you won't, but you always do. Though I think seashells are nicer than peanuts.
Though I didn't exactly pick the slipper limpet up because it was nice, but because it was stand-out weird. In fact Rouchswalwe supplied a good alternative title for this post in the comments to the last one, a Mary Barnard Sappho translation:
If you are squeamish
don't prod the beach rubble.
The shell had evidently been colonised by perhaps more than one kind of worm and/or parasitic sponge, either during or after its occupant had lived in it, and was perforated and sculpted by excrescences almost beyond recognition. The fragment of mussel shell was originally secreted inside it.
Slipper limpets are rather nasty and not at all personable things anyway. They are an invasive alien species that came to Europe on ships hulls in the last century; they are unattractively coloured and shaped and form rather grotesque masses by piling up on top of each other, and they steal food from oysters and other shellfish. They are also know as fornicating slipper shells, presumably not to their friends. There's another good link here which tells the sorry tale of the oyster and the slipper limpet. (It's quite interesting to try to say 'slipper limpet' over and over very quickly).
I am aware that the above on the character of these gastropod molluscs is lamentably subjective and unscientific, but that's me. However, I do have curiosity about the natural world, to satisfy which my first port of call is always the set of hand guides to which this volume belongs.
They are delightful little books on all kinds of nature-related subjects, this one and the one on butterflies and moths being amongst my most used. Tom bought them for next to nothing in a remainder bookshop about twenty years ago, before I knew him and a very long time before the internet; they are long out of print and were perhaps designed with school libraries in mind, but the painted illustrations, which show whole scenes and habitats, which you can look at for ages, often revealing minute and whimsical details. In the one on wild animals (taxonomically sloppy, including as it does mammals, amphibians and reptiles but not birds, fish, insects etc which are in separate volumes) for example, there is a scene of a river bank where otters and mink are playing and in the distant background, behind a dead tree, a tiny naturalist with binoculars, perhaps two millimetres tall, is watching them.
It's just one aspect of what I think I really like about them, which is the presence of affect, a personal touch, and a sense of wonder. The text is clearly accurate, carefully condensed and written by someone who knows their stuff, but also loves their stuff.
For example in Saltmarsh: Middle Level, Turf
... the sea-pink is the same beautiful plant as lives on the cliffs. All the middle level of the saltmarsh is coloured by it in May and June, followed by sea lavender, blue-purple in high summer. These hazes of colour, picked out by the other flowers, embody the essence of the word 'saltings'.
Scurvy grass is a close relation to watercress, and not a grass at all. Rich in vitamin C it was used to combat scurvy long before becoming an essential medicine on those sailing voyages from the 16th century onwards. The taste is revolting. Crews must have cheered when lime juice replaced it.
This is the page on Rocky Shore: builders and borers in the Sea Coast volume.
Nobody knows how 'serpulid' worms extract molecules of calcium carbonate from seawater and then pass them from glands behind the worms head to be moulded by the worm's collar with mucous into rock-hard tubes, each species with its own shape. Building is mainly in summer. Externally the tubes are variously cemented to the rock. Internally there is no organic union between the body and the tube.
It seems a little sad to me that the work of such evidently gifted and skilled writers, naturalists and artists should be languishing in the pages of relatively humble and forgotten books; I hope they enjoyed themselves anyway, and felt sufficiently appreciated at the time. The information on individual species is necessarily limited by space, but I always prefer to go to a book first if I can, then follow its lead to more information on the internet, so I shall probably try to find out more about the bizarre aliens that made my sculpted shell.
But, as the writer advises in the notes at the back of the book on Things to do', along with such solid advice as have a hardback notebook (nobody can write in a floppy one),
Nothing replaces seeing for oneself... recognise at once the insidious illusion that understanding can spring from just reading books and watching television... Never mind science for a moment, let the beauty sink in...'
Along with the slipper limpet, I also brought back a whole but empty oyster shell. It is not a native but a Portuguese oyster, (by the look of it from the book), a species introduced to strengthen the indigenous stocks which were, I think, affected with disease and the encroachments of invasive creatures like the slipper limpets.