I’m completely serious. No joke.
I love to cook. Even though my dinners usually involve nothing more than assorted olives, some cheese, and a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, I take great pleasure in digging up new recipies to be served over rice, risotto, or pasta. Yesterday, I was giddy with anticipation to try a startlingly new dish that brought oranges into the mix. Hold it down, she’s getting wild. Oranges, fish, AND olives. Served over your choice of starch. C-rAzy.
I work about three feet from a Shaw’s, but when cooking with protein or produce, I adhere strongly to the tenets of organic farming and price gouging that can only be found within the hallowed halls of Whole Foods Market. So I hauled myself across town via back roads, braving the wilds of Brookline for a half pound of cod and an onion (the fact that I walked out with $45.00 in Odwalla bars is a story for another time). But it was all worth it, because Whole Foods! Good Stuff!!
I got home and dragged my bags upstairs, weighed down with brown rice cakes and those pretty carrots with the green things on top, and threw the cod in the fridge until we were ready to cook it. The preparation of the dish was beautiful – it calls for a lot of thinly sliced onions, which smell divine once you add the tomatoes and wine, plus juicy chunks of orange and pitted Kalamata olives. I was eating my pre-dinner salad while Katsumi washed the fish and placed it gingerly atop the stewing medley of vegetables. After a few minutes I leaned in to grind some fresh pepper into the dish and saw something… weird.
It kind of looked like the fish had a bone that was trying to escape – a little white thing darting in and out of the fillet. I thought maybe because the meat was getting hot, I don’t know, so I reached in and pulled. And the thing that slid out was definitely not a bone, because it CURLED UP AROUND MY FUCKING FINGER.
But I didn’t freak out. I just sort of flicked it into the sink.
“that’s gross” i said, calmly, while the little voice in my head whispered, “WHATTHEFUCKWASTHAT IM GONNA PUKE WHATTHEFUCKWASTHAT IMGONNAPUKE” over and over again.
“what?” asked Katsumi
“there was like, this white and moving thing in the fish.”
“sure” (he’s always doubting me like that)
“no, seriously!” Ever the brave, I looked into the sink and pointed to the squirmy parasitic worm thing. It had curled its tail up and was noodling its gross pointy eyeless head around in the air.
“hm” He seemed nonplussed, but I knew that somewhere deep inside the worm thing was freaking him out too.
As neither of us really knew what to make of it, we sat down to finish our salads and talk about work. After awhile the conversation turned back to our new little friend.
“Dude, I’m a little freaked out about that fish.” I had to couch my doubt carefully, because Katsumi will eat almost anything and tends to get pissy when I’m squeamish about food. Like the time I was served raw salmon in this Thai restaurant and he suggested that I eat the salmon anyway because I eat sushi, TOTALLY disregarding the fact that SUSHI isn’t the same thing as CHOO CHEE CURRY.
“i’ll bet it’s fine. Just cook it a lot.” but i could see the fear in his eyes.
“But that’s like, a PARASITE.”
“hm” he was breaking. I could tell.
“I could make pasta, or one of those curry-in-a-bag things we bought at the Chinese store”
“hm” but he had already decided. Ths wormy cod was trash-bound.
Do I need to tell you how much time I spent after dinner googling “wormy cod”, “fish parasites” and “tapeworm”? Do I need to? Because I spent a long fucking time on google last night, and although technically we probably *could* have eaten the fish after all, that tapeworm stared right into my soul, and I wasn’t messing about with that nonsense.