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If we really were in the Shift Age [*], all of us floating somewhere within the delicate meninges of our now-hyperconscious, one-brain world, Googling 'spiders' and 'recipes' [*] would be more useful. But there is still the parochial. It happens that I am able to pass on a recipe for fried spiders that I learned from a Cambodian in Paris, a recipe that was explained to me through an international language of symbols and movements involving: empty glasses of Get 27, someone's wedding ring, a spoon, a saucer, a traffic ticket, a brief altercation, and chewed-up fag-ends. A snap! His French was worse than my Latin. (Araneae! Les araignées frites! Fried spiders! Spiders! Recipes! Spiders!)

   thirty Thai zebra tarantulas
   one oz rice vinegar
   one oz soy sauce
   six oz water
   one jigger Sang Som
   plenty of sugar
   plenty of salt
   six cloves minced garlic
   sesame oil

Good luck with your dinner party. Steam the spiders alive (until dead) in a hot pan, covered. Three minutes is sufficient. They suffocate (in peace) and stay firm and fresh-like. Toss hot, prepared (dead!) spiders lightly in a warm bath of sugar, salt, water, rum, sauce, and vinegar. Heat oil and minced garlic, you spider-craving mincer. Deep-fry spiders with garlic for less than five minutes, until crisp. Until all two hundred and forty legs are stiff. No longer. The innards should be set, mostly. Serve directly alongside (or sur) tossed greens or cucumber garnish, darling. Optionally: prepare a small dish of lime-pepper sauce (sugar, salt, black pepper, a few squeezed limes) for the odd dip or two. Do anything more and you won’t taste spider, will you? Serves six.

 
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