At the cottage
Having my aunt, uncle, cousin and basically sister (none by blood, but I’ve known them my whole life) decide on a weekend of ‘out of my comfort zone’ activities was a scary thought. They know what pushes my buttons better than anyone. They’ve seen my ups and downs through my childhood, to the bad teenage years, to entering my adult life.
In the spirit of the month, I left it completely up to them to decide how I would spend my weekend. Ideas were thrown around about eating dancing frogs legs or some sort of sea creature that looks like a part of male genitalia. I was asked whether I’d like to climb a ladder, spray a hornet’s nest and run. There were jokes of me holding my cousin’s hand while he threw up from food poisoning (which incidentally is not really out of my comfort zone – I’m pretty good at taking care of people in their time of need).
In the end, it was decided that for Food Friday I would have pre-cooked eel (I am NOT a fan of eel), on Saturday I would spend the night by myself at the scary cabin full of mice, giant spiders, some wood furniture, no electricity and a gap of two inches under the door where anything can enter, and on Sunday I would swim in the lake by myself (so the fishes can nibble my toes!) They really took it easy on me!
Food Friday – Eel
According to The ROM Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of Ontario, the population of eel are declining dramatically likely because of overharvesting and dams that block migration. American eels are carnivorous, feeding on other fish, invertebrates and frogs. The reach maturity at 10-20 years in fresh water, then migrate south to the Sargasso Sea, spawn and die. I’m not sure doing this research before consuming the eel hurt or helped.
The only other time I’ve had eel was at a Japanese restaurant as sushi and it’s my least favourite kind of nigiri sushi. It was slimy when my uncle took it out of the package. Imported from China, covered with a teriyaki sauce and pre-cooked, it glistened under the kitchen lights. Don’t eat the skin, my uncle warned, as he sliced off a chunk and gave it to me to try first. The slippery fish slid in my fingers, as I threw it in my mouth and chewed. Sweet, tender, actually really tasty. I had another slice. It was really growing on me. The teriyaki made it much better than my other experience with eel. I stopped thinking about the long, carnivorous, snake-like fish that patrols the waters in search of my toes (ok, maybe not, as they aren’t in the Lake of Bays where we are and probably don’t care about my toes, but still creeps me out).
Unlike my tongue experience, sometimes trying a new food means you discover something you like!
More cottage stories to follow…