Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roly Poly Fish Heads

In my freezer are two fish. With heads. Eyes and everything. No scales, no guts. But heads.

It's freaking me out, yo.

I have a recipe that requires sole, bass, or pike. The grocery store didn't have any of these options, so I went to a new international market (would that be the NIM instead of the NIV? Ha!) near my house. Their sign said they had a fish market. A place where one might acquire fish. And you can't call yourself a fish market if you don't have some kind of selection, right?

Oh, they had a selection. Shark, bass, tilapia (tanks of live ones, too, in case you wanted to choose your dinner while it was still swimming), flounder, smelt. Smelt! That's what they feed the walrus at the zoo. I'm not eating it.

And all of them had heads. I didn't know what to do.

I thought to myself, "Self, you used to fish. You've seen fish with their heads on. You caught an eight pound walleye on Lake Erie! You can do this!"

And then I thought to myself, "Self, you never took the heads off. Daddy always did that for you. He put the worm on the hook for you, too. And you may have hooked that walleye, but he reeled it in because you were pouting over the fact that Dad yelled 'Fish on!' instead of you. Silly girl."

Touché, self.

I've never had to take the head off of a fish. I'm sure I could; I'm sure I can. I've just never had to. Someone else has always done it for me. But, naturally, when I recall going fishing with my dad, I don't think of that. I think of what a tomboy I was. How I loved to fish! How I loved to sit and watch the bobber...

No. No, I didn't. I wanted to talk the whole time. My dad is, well, reticent. At least when it comes to fishing. So a lot of it was me wanting to talk, wanting to walk around, not wanting to sit and watch my bobber, wanting to reel in my line as soon as it floated a foot away. My dad was very patient with me. He eventually learned to let me use a lure. I thought it was because I'd improved at fishing. It was probably just to give me something... Maaaaaaan! I should have known! Funny how I remember things. Or misremember things.

Is that a word? It is now! Misremember™.

I remember people and places differently. I remember my accomplishments differently than they happened, I'm sure. It's only with careful scrutiny that I can look back and say, "Oh. That's not how it was. I didn't do that. Bummer."

So many things in my life have happened because of God. When I was going through events, it was all me. I did everything. I accomplished everything. It's only in hindsight that I realize that God did all those things. He did things for me, he did things through me. He knew who'd I'd be and what I'd have to do to get there. He had a hand in everything.

Maybe God even has a hand in how I remember them. Instead of remembering that I was a nuisance to my dad, I remember that I got to spend all day fishing with my dad. We'd wake up and it would just smell like a fishing day (if you grew up on a lake, you might know what I'm talking about). We'd get all our stuff, pack a lunch, and go find a place to fish. One time I dumped a whole bucket of minnows in the front seat of our car. And I don't recall him getting mad about it. He may have; he may have ranted and raved and yelled at me until he was hoarse, but I don't remember it. I remember laughing as we scooped the minnowed water out of the car and into a storm drain.

Our lives are full of events. Some are good, some are bad. Some involve fishy cars. We can't always tell as we're going through life, but God is present in everything. Some people choose to overlook him; some people need to focus on him just to get by.

Which are you? Do you see God in your past, or do you overlook him purposefully? And where does he fit in your future?

And, for Pete's sake, does anyone know how to cut up a fish?


  1. Nice! I've cooked fish with heads, but I've just cooked the whole fish rather than de-heading, hehe. Just think, you can use the heads for fish stock! Though fileting a fish is on my to-do list for this year.

    Usually if you ask them at the market, they'll take the head off in the store (unless they didn't have counter service for some reason?) Our place even has a numbered chart of the different ways you can have it prepared; in case there's a language barrier, you can just say #4.

    Yes, I spend a lot of time at our Asian market, hehe. The fish selection is awesome.

  2. I felt bad because the guys working there didn't know enough English to help me much---and didn't know which fish was the bass, since the signs didn't line up. It's possible the fish in my freezer is perch, which would still be OK with me. He gutted it and scaled it, and then he asked if I wanted it cut and into how many pieces. I said, "You could fillet it---maybe four pieces?" Instead, he cut each fish into four pieces. Just chopped it. And somehow still didn't remove the head. I'm dreading this recipe.

  3. Sometimes I find it easier to find him in the past than in the present. It shouldn't be like that, but that's how I feel sometimes.

  4. You are SO HILARIOUS!

    On a lighter note, ;) I can usually look back and see where God was working in my life. When I'm "in it" though, I have a harder time seeing the forest for the trees.

    It is interesting to think about how we remember something vs. how it really happened! I find this to be true in my marriage a lot! LOL! :)


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