Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Fish Tale

What follows is a true story.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent, as well as those currently suffering from a criminal level of culinary ineptitude.

Once upon a time, about three hours ago, there was a very nice lady that none of you have ever met.  She liked to think of herself as having above average intelligence, notwithstanding any occasional mental lapses that might indicate otherwise. On the day in question, this very nice lady decided to make fish for her family to eat at dinner.  She was about to crush some crackers for the breading when she thought she might see if she had stored any extra Parmesan bread crumbs in the freezer.  Sure enough, when she opened the freezer, there sat a little baggie filled with brown  crumbs and tiny little white cubes.  There was no label on the bag, but that did not trouble our very nice lady, who was thinking only of how pleased she was to find anything that could save time and labor in the preparation of the evening meal and who didn't much care that she had recently washed out an empty bag marked "parm. br. cr."

The lady dipped the fish in some egg, and placed it neatly into a rectangular dish  containing the crumbs.  She was a little annoyed that the crumbs did not stick to the fish in the usual way.  They looked a damper than usual and clumped in an unattractive way, but it was getting late and the lady wanted to finish making dinner so she could get back to her knitting, which none of you have ever seen posted ad nauseum in a blog. So she persevered, smashing the crumbs on with her fork repeatedly until they stuck, reluctantly, to the fish.  When the oil in the pan was heated, she picked the fish up carefully, so as not to give the crumbs any cause to fall off, and laid the fish in the pan.

When it was time to turn the fish, she was a little surprised to find that the breading had scorched. "That's strange," she thought, "there must be a new hot spot on my stove."  She was even more surprised that the fish smelled unusually sweet, but she had eaten a lot of cookies that day and reasoned that she was hallucinating.

By the time the fish had finished cooking, the lady was beginning to worry that something was amiss.  There was no avoiding the sweet smell.  There was a lot more oil than usual left in the pan. And, instead of a lovely golden crust on the fish, there was a slightly sticky glaze.  She stuck the fish on the plates anyway and called her family to the table.

"I'm not sure about the fish," she told them.  "It seems a little  . . . different tonight."

And they agreed. "Ew," they responded, "it's sweet."

"I don't know why," the lady said. "I used the stuff from the freezer and I can't imagine what I would have put in there except . . . . Oh.  Oh no.  I remember now.  When I made pie for Thanksgiving, I made too much topping.  And I saved it in the freezer."

"But, dear" said her husband, "that means you used . . ."

"Brown sugar and flour and cinnamon and butter!"

"Ew!!!!" they all said, "it's apple pie fish!"

And that, dear readers, is why one should always label the bags in the freezer. Which, of course, I always do.  Don't you?

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