A Dinner Story | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

San Vito- Bari, Italy

I was born on the sea, the Adriatic sea to be exact, on the limpid blue-green sea waters, salty, crispy waves, grottos, inlets, natural rock formations where crustaceous live and various blue fish are happy swimming in and out.
The food staple for people born on any sea is fish. On those parts, it is very common to be invited for dinner and be served many courses of fish.

Years later I moved to USA, a meat eating country, the search for fresh fish for my daily meal stopped abruptly. I go to grocery shops and I can smell the foul fish odor as soon as I enter the shop. I get closer to the fish counter and the smell gets stronger, the fish is covered with a ton of spices to camouflage the foul smell. I wonder who buys that fish!

I used to order fish plates in restaurants and after a few times returning the dish to the kitchen, I stopped ordering fish in restaurants. Fresh fish smells exactly like the sea, if it stinks has been dead for days or weeks! Just remember that.

Now, I know the reason why when I am invited to someone’s home, the main dish is meat, often chicken, boring, colorless, tasteless and tiring chicken….what’s so exciting about chicken! If I must brag about meat, only one time, in Texas, I was invited to a bison steak dinner and it was the best steak I had in my whole life!

One day, one of of my Californian friends wanted to organize a cooking class in her huge home for her girlfriends fit for a triathlon. She asked me to cook something special, good and healthy from my native Italian region. I told her that where I came from the staple food is fresh fish and she agreed to it. I went really out of my way to please her and her friends, drove for hours to the coast, where I knew one fisherman who could assure me the freshness of fish, and cook one blue fish for each, baked with some vegetable in a cartouche.
The reaction from the women was awful, when they open the cartouche on their plate, saw the fish head and screamed as I had put some kind of horrific thing in front of their eyes. Those women didn’t know anything about fish, how to source it, how to cook it and neither how to eat it.

They exclaimed the fish was dead, I asked them if they usually eat meat alive. They said it was cruel to the fish, I asked them if it is not cruel to kill animals, including chickens, and if it isn’t even more cruel to wear leather jackets or sit on a leather sofa. They were shocked to hear these comments. I am not in tune with people talking nonsenses, I have no patience for them and I tell it as it is. Humans have eaten meat and fish since the primordial time. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it but don’t push your beliefs on me.

I also knew my friend was not equipped with the right tools to eat fish with, thus I brought my silvers to her for that occasion and made her look good. Silly me! I should have made a chicken dish to leave everyone satisfied and convinced that they had not eaten a dead animal. Live and learn.

Fish knives


These are the fish knives needed to separate the flesh from the bones if any, also used to eat a fish fillet. Never a regular knife is used for fish. Only in high end restaurants, these knives appear on the table along with other interesting flatware.

If you invite people to your home for dinner, always ask the guests what they do not eat and if they are opposed to something you have in mind. My friend agree to a fish dinner because she had been to my native land, she knew how good and fresh fish is over there. Luckily, my dessert was a hit. Of course give people sugar and they will be super happy. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page


Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books on:
Amazon and Barnes&Noble





4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teagan Riordain Geneviene
    Sep 19, 2021 @ 00:01:13

    What an awful experience that was, Valentina. Ignorance is hard enough to deal with, but it’s bearable. Those reactions… that was just pure stupidity.
    Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Shaharee
    Sep 16, 2021 @ 12:11:38

    The eyes are also a good indication of the freshness of a fish (smell of course still being the most important one). My wife claims she can even taste when a fish has been frozen. And yes, there goes a lot of eyerolling around among US eating habits: their inability to eat with fork and knife, their bothering waiters to get ketchup, their difficulty to understand that a customer is not King but a paying guest, and that loudmouthed rudeness cannot be compensated by non-requested tipping but instead often results in being shown the door,… and yes, there are countries where not all waiters do speak English or where US dollars are not generally accepted as a legal tender.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Valentina
      Sep 16, 2021 @ 23:45:07

      Thank you for the visit and comment, Shaharee. I can taste a fish previously frozen as well, just because I was born among people who trained me at a young age to recognize good and bad food, fresh from old. As for the rest of it, I cannot agree more.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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