Friday, December 18, 2015

2015: favorite surprise food

2015: The Best & Worst! This is the time of the year when writers coast. They dream up their totally subjective best and worse lists for the year that's rapidly coming to a close. Why? So they can focus on the important things...the holidays. So with that in mind, here's my annual look back:

My favorite surprise food of 2015 appeared in October at my Owl-ology 101 class at Ijams. Drumrooooollll: Chocolate owl cupcakes made by my friend, NPR supporter and Ijams volunteer naturalist Dr. Laura Twilley, Cc.M.

Spectacled owl
Dr. Laura modeled her wide-eyed treats after the mythical dark-faced owl of the Caribbean, her field of study in the 1990s. She spent two years—mensonge énorme, as it were—in the remote jungles of the island nations of Trinidad and Tobago funded, and possibly fueled, by Bacardi 151 searching for the reclusive miniature owl. It is believed the dark-faced, known by locals (descendants of the Caribs, Arawaks and Ewoks) as coco-latte, is a subspecies or merely a lost race of the spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) of Central America. The reported diminutive Pulsatrix is believed to be an insectivore or perhaps a levolor.

To date, six subspecies are currently recognized, although one (Pulsatrix perspicillata trinitatis) may already be extinct. See: Spectacled.  Dr. Laura's would have been lucky number seven.

Since owls are active at night, owlologist Laura spent many long days, again mensonge énorme, in the lush forests of El Cerro del Aripo, Trinidad's highest mountain. Her free time was whiled listening to Parang, the popular folk music of the islands and reading voraciously. "So many books it took an extra mule to carry them," she has often joked. In the English-based Trinidadian creole language, she was known as "Booka, Booka, Booka." See: How to speak Trinidadian. 

In honor of her fieldwork, we designated her owl cupcakes as Pulsatrix perspicillata twilleii. 

Thank you, Dr. L for your kind contribution to my owl class.  

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