31 December, 2013

Feast Of Too Many Fishes

I recently wrote about the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration. It is a feast that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. It originates, however, from Southern Italy where it is known as La Vigilia (The Vigil). There are lots of theories about why the number seven is important; it's hard to be certain. My own most recent Christmas Eve was a Feast of Only One Fish. Alas.

That got me thinking about a dinner many years ago. I was in Italy in 1989 on business and representing the college as Vice-President and Dean. So I was a VIP (ha), and as such, I was to be treated to a special dinner. The region I was in was not far from Pescara, a resort area on the Adriatic but also a seaport. It was also a fishing center, and with easy access to fresh fish, that special dinner was often focused on seafood.

And so it was on my special evening. I don't recall them all. Some subset of scallops, crab, anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, clams, and maybe some others. If it grew in the sea, I'm pretty sure it was served - one by one in stately sequence.

Here's the problem I don't care for seafood. I'm not allergic to it; I just don't care for it. And yes, I have tried - at least clams, lobster, crab, scallop, a whatever is in a fish stick, and probably some others. If the truth be told, I think that fish stick is where the problem began when I was a child.

Anyway, this was not a situation where I could announce I didn't like fish. So course after course I would eat as little as I could and then try to make my plate look like I loved it. Needless to say, I've never been happier than I was when they finally served the salad at the end of the meal.

Oh my, a Feast of Too Many Fishes.