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Cheese and Bugles Coral Reef

Stephen F. Greb, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky

Do you want to make a miniature, edible coral reef representative of the types of corals that lived in ancient seas of the Paleozoic era? Of course you do, who wouldn't! Aside from being tasty, this recipe is the perfect centerpiece the next time you throw a fossil coral reef party. The corals of the Silurian and Devonian reefs were shaped like mounds (tabulate corals) and horns (rugose corals). In this recipe, you'll use both to make your own reef. To reinforce the fact that reef communities are a major source of food, you get to eat the reef you make!

You'll need:

Preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes


1. Stuff the end of the open end of each chip with the shredded cheese. This works best if you place the shreds in lengthwise, until full. The shreds are the arms of the corals. If you want to "cement" the arms into the chips better, you can melt some of the cheese and pore it into the chip, and then stick shreds out of the melted cheese. When the cheese cools it will help keep the shredded "arms" in the chip.

2. Stick the pointed end of the bugles into the cheese ball or mold so that the cheese-filled top faces upward.

3. Stick as many of the chips into the cheese ball or mold as it will hold, and bingo, you've got a reef.

4. You can be creative and add more biodiversity to your reef with cut veggies and other styles of chips (little shells for example).