While my bachelorette party was in Denver looking at fossils, my brother had this idea while looking at Plectronoceras: “It would make good calamari–just hang the cone over a wire and deep-fry it right in the shell.”

While this particular method is impractical for a couple reasons, it was quite an inspiring idea despite the fact that I’m vegetarian. Here are a few potential recipes from the Time Traveller’s Cookbook!

Endoceras Calamari
Endoceras was an enormous cone-shelled cephalopod from the Ordovician related to modern nautiluses. It was the largest invertebrate to ever live. The ones you could eat would be juveniles (which there would've been a lot of since cephalopods are r-strategists).
Edmontosaurus Cuts
Edmontosaurus was a very large hadrosaur ('duck-billed dinosaur') often called the 'cow of the Cretaceous' due to its advanced chewing and hindgut-fermenting abilities. It would have been good eating for Tyrannosaurus.
Eurypterus Cakes
Eurypterus was a swimmy arthropod from the Silurian of Eastern North America and parts of Europe. While enormous members of its family like Jaekelopterus are arguably more famous, 98% of eurypterid fossils are Eurypterus, making it one of the best understood creatures of that time.
Typothorax Luau
Typothorax was a smallish aëtosaur, or herbivorous croc relative, from Triassic Arizona. It lived alongside famous Triassic creatures like Coelophysis, Placerias, and Postosuchus, and had forelimbs moderately adapted for digging and an upturned snout, indicating that it may have grubbed for roots and tubers.
Holiday Oviraptor
Oviraptor was a dog-sized omnivore from Cretaceous China. Though dromaeosaurs (Velociraptor and kin) are more closely related to birds than oviraptorosaurs, the latter share a lot of convergent characteristics with birds such as a fan of tail feathers and a toothless beak.

I really enjoyed making these, but I think I’d need about 20 to justify turning them into a book, and I’ve exhausted most of my good ideas already. Other options I considered were

  • Stethacanthus fin soup - A small shark from the Devonian with a strange, brushlike dorsal fin that I thought would make a cool garnish. But when I Googled ‘shark fin soup recipe’ every recipe poster was getting violently attacked by righteous vegetarians. Since I met with a little bit of righteous vegetarianism even with the above examples, I thought best to steer clear of this one.
  • Prionosuchus legs - a croc-sized Permian amphibian whose preparation would probably be a cross between cleaning a frog and an alligator. There’s not nearly as much detailed anatomical information available online for croc butchery, or Prionosuchus musculature, as there is for cows and Edmontosaurus.
  • Boiled Arthropleura feed - this one I might still do. Arthropleura was a giant millipede from the Carboniferous that was the largest known terrestrial arthropod. How would one cook it? By rolling it up into a pan like a scroll? Or by dragging it through a pot a little at a time?
  • Placerias mutton, Diictodon spit roast - These are Permo-Triassic dicynodonts (roly-poly relatives of mammals). Placerias was hippo-sized, while Diictodon was more like a guinea pig. While they would probably be tasty, I didn’t feel like there was enough content for an infographic.
  • Leedsichthys sashimi - the largest non-tetrapod fish to ever live, this Jurassic whale-sized filter-feeder would’ve made a great centerpiece at an extravagant party. However, it would just be like a scaled-up swordfish, which doesn’t seem interesting enough for an infographic.

Let me know if you have any other good ideas! I also don’t know much about ancient plants, so if any paleovegetarian dishes stand out as having potential, I’d love to hear about them.