Disney’s new character posters for its upcoming live-action adaptation of its 1989 classic The Little Mermaid don’t look — oh, what’s the word? — good. The animal characters in particular are the most upsetting. Where once they had adorable, expressive, merchandisable features, they now look like poorly rendered graphics for some Animal Planet daytime-filler programming. Sebastian has no mouth, yet he must scream. Flotsam and Jetsam belong in the deep-sea part of the aquarium where all of God’s most wretched creatures go. And we imagine this version of Flounder probably did great in children’s focus groups … if those children were haunted dolls.
One character who didn’t get a poster is Chef Louis, who sings a murderous anthem about all of the ways he’s going to kill and cook “Les Poissons.” Because these new versions of the characters deserve death and possess no souls, we take inspiration from Louis and decide how we would eat them if given the chance.
Do not fear the age. Experts say that while the meat of older crabs may emit a slight ammonia smell, they taste delicious all the same. And with a crustacean as iconic as Sebastian, only two directions strike me as sufficiently honorable. First, the finest crab recipe on this planet: Singaporean chile crab. Shallot, ginger, chiles, fermented yellow-soybean paste, dried shrimp paste, ketchup, sweet chile sauce, scallions, cilantro, etc. etc., all smothering the little dude in a heavy wok over extreme heat. But the problem with this is how loud the cooking process will be, what with all the spatula clanging against steel. You want to let Sebastian sing as he’s prepared. So, as a second option, might I suggest a simple crab boil, slowly lowering the guy into the bubbling liquid as he croons his last tune. Under the spicy sea, baby. —Nick Quah
In the interest of preserving as much of Flounder’s character and dignity as possible, my recommendation here is to prepare and serve him whole. It’s important to capture the essential qualities of each ingredient, and the essential quality here is “CGI fish with a face designed to communicate a bare minimum of human expression,” so be careful to keep the whole head on during the cooking process. Beyond that, you have a few possible routes: Score the skin and broil him if you’re more focused on a crispy flounder skin, but stuff and roast him if you’re more excited about tender flounder flesh. I’m personally into the roasting model, and my preference would be to stuff Flounder’s insides with lemon, garlic, and as many fresh herbs as you can cram in there — dill is classic, but any combination you like will work — then roast him on a baking sheet. If you wanted to get very fancy, though, you could throw some Sebastian in there for a double-seafood treat! —Kathryn VanArendonk
When working with wildfowl, many chefs recommend hanging the unplucked bird at 50 to 55 degrees for a few days to develop the flavors. However, by all accounts, seabird meat already features an almost overwhelming taste of the ocean. Per Kate Erbland Scuttle is now a gannet or a cormorant; either way, let’s treat this seabird the way Faroe Islanders do. First, we behead Scuttle, then we rip out her insides. Pluck the feathers and remove the wings and feet. According to a 19th-century cookbook, gulls should be soaked in saltwater for eight hours to remove their fishy scent. Since Scuttle is probably rather lean compared with the fulmars of the Faroes, we’ll next boil her rather than roasting her, throwing her in the stockpot with some aromatics. We’ll need a rich accompaniment, so make a jus out of the wings and feet and serve with a side of mashed potatoes. Eat Scuttle alongside a bottle of schnapps if you want to be a true Føroyingar. —Nate Jones
Flotsam and Jetsam
Apparently, moray eels carry a risk of ciguatera poisoning, which among other things causes vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness — just the nefarious development you’d expect from villainous hench-fish. That said, ciguatera is a tropical phenom, and while the setting of The Little Mermaid is a source of much debate, fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen is from Denmark, so let’s just assume Flotsam and Jetsam are good to go. I personally find eel to be most tasty when grilled Japanese style, but given that F and J are baddies, they deserve a fate worthy of wickedness, which is to end up in English cuisine. Time to jelly those toothy fuckers, boiling them with some vinegar so that their natural gelatinous qualities create, when cooled, a goo that the cooked pieces are suspended in. Of course, then someone has to eat this concoction, but that’s just the price of being evil (and looking so delicious). —Alison Willmore
In the world of The Little Mermaid, expressionless CGI fish are just as sentient as any semi-human-looking creature in the fathoms below. Two-time Academy Award nominee and Booking.com spokeswoman Melissa McCarthy is not exempt from that. And spoiler alert for a movie that’s almost old enough to be president: Ursula gets fried at the end anyway, so eating her is really a “waste not, want not” situation. My colleagues suggested she be prepared calamari style, but in the character poster, her tentacles really are more reminiscent of an octopus. This presents a rare opportunity: guilt-free octopus. Many people swear off octopus either because of the animal’s high intelligence or because they’re a weird South African guy who’s married to one. But Ursula is a huge asshole, so eating her is actually a good deed. Prepare her multiple ways: takoyaki balls, grilled pulpo served with patatas bravas, tinned Portuguese style for all of Eric’s sailor buddies. I’m not going to suggest you eat the top half — I’m not a monster — but you might as well use it for chum. Now sing for your supper! —Rebecca Alter
Prince Eric probably shouldn’t be your first option for a meal, but needs must. —Anonymous