It was Miss Scarlet, in the kitchen, with a knife.
I exaggerate. It was a lot less fraught than I’m making it out to be. But a live creature was in fact sacrificed and I wielded the weapon: Homarus americanus, aka, lobster. Did I feel bad? I’m sorry to admit that I did not feel an ounce of pity for the thing. I dug in the knife and that was that. Even now I’m thinking back to the moment and I got nothin’. Zip. Zero. Nada.
Anyway, the lobster cooking process was quite the production. I won’t even get into it because it’s ridiculous. It was also ridiculously delicious, but seriously, this is not something you want to try at home. Especially if stabbing something is too dastardly a deed for you to stomach.
Does shucking clams and oysters also count as murder? Because I did some of that, too. I’m a serial killer…
By the way, whomever was the first person to decide you could eat bivalve mollusks must have been famished because it was labor-intense work to pry those little suckers open. I managed a few blue points and two clams and decided that, like homarus up there, they’re better eaten in the comfort of a restaurant. Let someone else do the grunt work I say.
High Heels & Frijoles
My first few days at culinary school have been going swimmingly, but I do wish I had a little more of that back-to-school feel I used to get as a kid. I’ve been trying my utmost to get into the spirit by stocking my bag with the basic school supplies a second-grader would find appealing: highlighters, pens, notecards, etc. I seriously considered some magic markers, but decided against it. After all, I am in school to be a proper chef, not a master doodler.
However, there are certain parallels between grade-schoolers and cooks, the most notable one being that getting filthy is part of the job description. Early last week my fellow students and I were being instructed in the art of making fumet. Fumet is fish stock, and of course, requires the use of fish. If you’re imagining a hunchback named Igor stirring fish heads and tails as they boil and bubble over a tall stockpot you’ve got the right image in mind, but how do said heads and tails wind up in the pot? They must first be fished out of their water bath of course!
Step 1: Roll sleeve up. High. Almost to your armpit.
Step 2: Plunge arm into fishy, bloody, gunky water.
Step 3: Pull out fish body part.
Step 4: Do not rinse, but do repeat, until you have a nice pile of fish chunks.
It’s rather like bobbing for apples, really, the prize being a fish head. I didn’t get a head, sadly, and was glumly setting about the task of chopping my fish chunks into smaller bits when I heard a faint “eeeww!” — the sound I was hoping for: someone didn’t want their fishy head…because a fish head has fishy eyes…and those fishy eyes must be gouged out. I valiantly volunteered, and with firm will and hand, scooped out the googly eyeballs with my melon baller. Yes, dear reader, a melon baller is actually a fish-eye-scooper-outer. It’s just called a melon baller (fancy alias: parisienne scoop) because how would “Sadistic Tool to Gouge Out Dead Fish Eyes” read in a Williams Sonoma catalog?
High Heels & Frijoles