My mom loved to cook and eat whole fish. One of her favorite dishes to cook was fish soup. Seeing that fish head floating in the pot made my dad cringe. He used to say uncomfortably, with a disgusted look on his face:” I don’t like my food staring back at me…This fish looks at me, I can’t eat it…” My mom wouldn’t understand that, and get offended. In her culture, this was the way a fish should be cooked and served.
Myself - I’m like my dad. I get queasy at the sight of head and tail on the table. I love fish, as a filet or sushi, but that’s about it.
Cooking the whole fish also means buying the whole fish. I passed by an Asian fish market the other day, and I stopped to look at all the colors, shapes, and different kinds of fish, and the huge crowd of people buying them. I thought to myself : “I should try it...at least once”, so with uneasiness, I picked a shiny red one, and brought it home.
The first thing I did when I arrived home, was quickly stuff this cold brown package in the fridge, and walked away. I tried to stay away from it as long as possible… After a day, I finally got the courage to take it out and open it. And there he was. “It” became “him”.
I looked at that poor lifeless beautiful red fish, and felt sorry for him. He should have been swimming happily in the ocean instead of laying on my cutting board… . I felt like I needed to apologize to the fish, and as crazy as it may sound - I did...
Buying a whole fish means having to gut and scale it, and I had absolutely no idea how to even start. This was a traumatic experience which I will not describe here, and will never repeat.
Did I do it? Yes. Did I cook it? Yes, I ended up baking the whole thing in the oven.
Did I eat it? No.
I did take a photo of this fish, still couldn’t have it stare back at me.
So… Look at it now. Is it cooking in the pan, splashing oil ? Or is it alive splashing water?...