Catching and Cooking Fish-EEs
After four days in paradise, I am finally acclimating to island life, I think. It’s a tough road, having to shed the protective crust of tension that comes with planning, creating and executing a trip of this level. Then, add the worry and stress of not knowing whether anything will come together. All this, while feeding a North American body the strangest foods prepped under questionable sanitary standards. Add months of self-doubt and voila! You have a recipe for creating a nut job in India — me.
As a foreigner, I find it hard to relax. There is a little volleying of egos when you meet some of the folk here. Whether it’s the Muslim male superiority factor that got to me, or the overall volleying of Eastern culture vs West, I simply don’t know. What I do know is that I have to keep reminding myself that I am doing this to broaden my world. I must keep my ego in check. Good luck because I am a fucking big mouth.
My indecision regarding activities on the start of day 4 left me all alone on the island. Hubby and our little group were out diving. I was lost for the first part of the day. So I wandered. I chased a rooster on the beach and then sat in the sun until it got too hot. Five minutes later, I ran for shade, but got pissed off that it was too cold. I was being stupid and uncomfortable in my own skin. And worse, I was alone. I wasn’t hungry, but wanted to eat. I was exhausted but wanted to work. And the natives didn’t know what to do with me either. Every now and then, a native dude would pass me and ask if I was okay. I must’ve looked desperate. I knew I did. I was.
By about 2pm, I had exhausted myself by running around in circles doing nothing, so I went to bed. At 5pm, I finally got myself pulled together and met up with hubby. I suggested that he go fishing and signed him up.
Laughingly I said that if they caught anything, I would cook it. Hubby and the island accepted. Ya, now that’s really keeping my ego in check. Nice going.
Three hours later in the pitch black, hubby and the gang came back with 4-20lb+ huge jackfish and 3-15+lb tuna. The men started to tease me about preparing all of the fish right then. I laughed it off and told them I’d be back in the morning.
Morning came fast. Now it was time ‘to put my money where my mouth is’ and step up. I grabbed my chef coat and cap and headed to the kitchen. The place was incredible. Their standard was disgusting. There were at least 700 flies in that kitchen. There were swarms on the counter, in the sink, on the cutting boards on the food and on me. Ew.
There were some kitchen prep issues that I didn’t anticipate. For example, I asked if they had lemons.
The kitchen guy ran to fetch the lemons and offered to juice them. I needed the lemons rasped before they were juiced. The guy rushed to get it done and I went on to prep the tuna. A couple minutes later, the kitchen dude hands me a bowl of clear lemon juice. I asked him where the rasped lemon skin was — yup, he threw it out. Oh brother.
I worked fast to prepare the dishes. I wanted to make something that they didn’t make. I made a ceviche with fresh salsa. Then, with a little showboating—I prepared a coffee glazed seared tuna with citrus potatoes. Both entrees and sides were well received.
The best part of the trip, they wanted the recipes. What an honour.