The Thanksgiving Feast

Python for bacon

by Bill Schlesinger

With the arrival of the pilgrims in 1620, the invasion of exotic species in North America began in earnest—annual grasses in the west, meadow weeds in the east, starlings and house sparrows coast to coast.  The onslaught continues today with forests pests and pathogens, zebra mussels, and nutria.  Many of these species have no natural predators or pathogens of their own, so they expand without limit in their new habitat.

This year you can have a delicious Thanksgiving and help the environment too by focusing your dinner on invasive and exotic species.  The menu, which will vary regionally, might look like this:

Hors d’oeuvres

Plump Zebra Mussels on the half shell


Asian Jumping Carp stuffed with cheese-crusted Green Crab

Main Course

Roasted Rock Pigeon, wrapped with Everglades Python bacon


Spring-harvested Japanese Knotweed shoots


Kudzu-berry pie

Bon Appetite!

Bill Schlesinger

Emeritus Director, Cary Institute, Millbrook