Thursday, June 11, 2009

They Have Heads and Everything!

The following story happened about a month ago. The reason that I have not written about it until now is because I had to let a lot of emotional wounds heal before I could speak about such a traumatic event. I think I'm ready to share now.

Here's how it went down.

One of the other Navy wives told me in Japan that the closest Singapore grocery store to our house sells fresh fish that they fillet for you. Meaning that no dirty work is involved. You remember how I've told you they sell fish here right? They just slap the things on ice, right out of the ocean. Heads and scales fully intact. It's a frightening scene. So anyways, I was excited because I've heard that the fish here is so so good since we're pretty friggin' close to the ocean and whatnot. (A Kansas girl rarely, if ever, experiences authentic fresh seafood.)

So I decided to check it out. I went to the store and stood in front of the hundreds of eyes laying on top of a crushed ice display.

Ignoring their accusing stares, I read the signs to see what I recognized. Cream snapper fish? No. The word cream and fish should not mix. So not that one. Bocourti fillet? I couldn't even begin to tell you what that one is. So that's a no go too. Then I saw Red Tilapia. Aha! I know what that is! I've even eaten that one. Yes! Game time.

Then I point to the fish, without looking at their faces, and say to the Indian woman behind the counter, "Could you fillet two of these please?". She looked at me and nodded, picking up the two fish I chose. Then she took them to the cleaning area and starting doing things I couldn't see. She came back 30 seconds later and asked, "Do you want them cleaned?" in a heavy accent. Confused, I said "Yes, please." How on Earth do you fillet a fish without cleaning it, I wondered.

That should have raised several red flags right there. But because I'm me, I just ignored it.

The lady came back two minutes later and handed me a double-bagged bag with a bar code sticker on it. I took the bag, finished my shopping and went on my merry way.

Which wasn't merry for long.

I got home to cook my fresh, delicious fish and found a horrifying scene. There were two COMPLETELY whole fish sitting in that bag.

I said several expletives and ran from the kitchen. I thought my stomach had inverted itself into my throat. I mean seriously, what the hell?! Did I not speak English to the lady? Oh wait, I know I did because IT'S THE ONLY LANGUAGE I KNOW...and one that she spoke back to me. So yeah, I was beyond pissed. I did not order eye balls.

On the other hand, I'd worked up my taste buds for this fish and I wasn't going down without a fight. I was having fish for dinner, damn it.

After I downed a rum and coke, I gave myself a pep talk. I was ready-ish. I had read how to fillet a fish on the internet and it looked easy enough. I was gonna do this.

(Oh and by the way, Aaron wasn't home. Otherwise he sooooo would've been forced to do this for me.)

So I took the fish out of the bag and made sure to not look at their faces and not touch their tails because -- ew. Then I took the fillet knife and made my first cut. It was not near as easy as they made it look online. I sawed and sawed on that damn thing. I had to really hold down the fish as I made my way only half-way through. Just as I was making some progress and doing what I thought was a pretty good job, something horrible happened. I guess I pushed too hard on the fish's gut area and black fish poop came oozing out all over the cutting board.

I lost it.

I immediately started bawling and going into hysterics. Just my luck, Aaron decided to call right about then. Our conversation can be summed up as such:

Aaron: What are you doing?

Megan: Bah. (Unintelligible dialog) Ahhhhhh. *sniffle* Bahhhhhhh.

Aaron: What is wrong?! Are you ok?!

Megan: I am filleting fish from the store and -- and it's so gross. The stupid lady at the counter said she'd fillet my fish and -- and they're not. Aaron, they have heads and everything! Wahhhhhhhh.

Aaron: Megan Nicole. You are so ridiculous. Put the fish down and I'll just do it when I get home.

Megan: NO! I already started it and I promised myself that I'd get through it. I'm already half done now.

Aaron: I don't know why you get so upset Megan.

Megan: You're not helping.


So it wasn't the sweetest conversation between a married couple, but damn it, he wasn't helping the situation. Helping would have been cursing the woman at the grocery store with me.

At that point, I made another stiff drink. Chugged it. Then finished butchering innocent living things so that I wouldn't have to look at it anymore.

Then you know what happened? I cook those friggin' things and all I got was enough fish for one person. All that work and tears for one friggin' portion. I'm done with fish in Singapore. I'm back to frozen fish from Kansas.

To top it all off. I took pictures of this massacre through every step of the way. Then, in my traumatized state, I deleted them before I saved them on the computer.



Anonymous said...

It's just a fish.

Megan said...

and hell is just a sauna.

Hil said...

heeheehee. maybe "anonymous" is a coastie? :P after reading your post, i looked up how to filet a fish b/c i've never done it, and you have my sympathies. and i would've cried too if after all that work i had just one portion. don't give up! make that lady filet it for you!! fresh fish is soooo good! :P