Friday, July 06, 2007

Raw


“Here, gimme dat’, will ya?” Dad took the lobster out of my hand and started cutting through the midsection of its body. “Disiz’ howya’ do it,” he said, with an accomplished look, “You gotta cut right inda’ middle.” He was trying his best to show me how he cuts open a lobster, but I just wasn’t getting it. I didn’t want to get it, even though I wanted to help him. He used to come home everyday from the South Street Seaport in Manhattan with a crate of lobsters that were still alive. I remember poking at one, as it tried clawing me while being tied up with an orange rubber band. They’ve always reminded me of huge crickets- ugly with big antennas everywhere. Worse yet, my sister would always call them sea roaches. I never enjoyed eating them. I was afraid that one day, my father would be attacked by one of these giant sea roaches just by the way he killed them. It’s been said that lobsters love their family, just as humans do, and feel emotional pain.

Being that dad worked at the fish market, we would have different types of fish every week. I’ve always preferred yellowtail or salmon. Shellfish was too salty for me, however I loved clams and mussels and still do. As I grew older into my early twenties, I started developing allergic reactions whenever I ate shrimp, lobster or crab. I never had a reaction while eating clams, oysters or mussels though. “It’s all in her head, she’s not having a reaction from the shrimp,” my mom said, looking at my sister for approval, “it’s anxiety, that’s all!” I turned to my mother, opened my mouth, and showed her the many blisters that were developing. Some were popping, and others had blood oozing out of them. It was gross.

“That’s not a reaction?” I cried out, seeking help. My girlfriend called the hospital. They wouldn’t give her any advice, other than to give me Benedryl or to send me to the emergency room right away. Till this day, my mom still tries to feed me shellfish; it just doesn’t sink in with her. I’ll remind her, and she’ll just shake her head. I can read her mind- “It’s all in her head.”

The other day, my father calls me and says, “Turn on dis’ channel and watch whachoo’ eat at dat’ Japanese sushi bar!” He knows very well how much I love sushi, but also knows I don’t touch shrimp, lobster or crab. I turned it on, and it was about extreme stories from people who have developed tapeworms just from eating sushi alone. One man got a tapeworm that literally went right through him when he finally made it to the bathroom. He screamed to his wife, “Help me! Oh my GAWD- what is this?” Half the tapeworm was hanging out of him. “Get a scissor!” He called out to his wife. She came in, and with one snip, it cut in half, and it retracted right back into his rectum. This thing was huge. Apparently, it was taking up most of his intestines, eating whatever the man ate. He got medical attention right away. They gave him antibiotics, which killed the worm. They said that you have to get the head in order to kill it. You can chop a tapeworm into a million little pieces, yet it will still be alive in separate pieces!

This story still hasn’t deterred me from eating at my favorite sushi bar though. I always remind my father that the man on TV was in a foreign country eating raw fish from a brook. That’s not exactly what I call a reputable sushi bar. Everyone tries to get me to stop eating sushi. They tell me horrorific stories, or worse yet, they tell me exaggerated tall tales, in order to get me to quit cold turkey.

There’s something beautiful about the way the Japanese culture eats. Everything is fresh and pure. Even their vegetables are usually raw, with ingredients such as seaweed, ginger, and other things that are so good for your health and immune system. Maybe that’s why they live so long? To me, sushi is the purest form you can eat it in. It’s not cooked, burning off most of its protein, and you can taste the real flavor of your food. I’m not going to turn vegan or anything, but it’s just fascinating how clean and pure the Japanese like to eat their food.

Another wonderful Japanese theory is, when you’re sick, you’re supposed to eat protein (steak or fish or anything that’s high in protein) and chase it down with beer or alcohol. They prefer beer for some reason. Not sure why- maybe it has something to do with the barley...who knows? As soon as you notice a cold coming on, or if you feel under the weather, they suggest eating “Atkin’s style” with a healthy dose of alcohol. I’m telling you, this culture’s the best.

Although my father will never quite understand why I'll never touch lobster again, he can’t stand to see me eat sushi. The toughest man I know, my dad, squirms when he sees me enjoying a nice raw piece of fish- yet it doesn’t bother him to rip open a lobster straight down the middle of its torso, still kicking it’s legs and antennas screaming for help.

Which is worse?
Enjoy your weekend everyone and thanks so much for your encouraging words these past few days. I appreciate your feedback!

25 comments:

just me said...

I had that "I need to close my eyes" cringe reaction when I read about the lobster and the tape work. Ug. I eat sushi so I would say the lobster is worse. p.s. I dig the verbatim quotes in your story :)

QUASAR9 said...

Nah, sushi is out
dunno what the japs eat, they'll wrap anything in there, raw tapeworm slices too

Give me prawns, shrimps and lobster any day
But I guess kissing is out, wouldn't want you having hot flushes now, would we, sweet honey lips - lips that hold promise of such delight

~Deb said...

Just me: I know, lobster's so awful looking...

Quasar: It's funny, because whenever my partner eats strawberries, I can't kiss her, because I'll get a reaction just from that alone. I'm allergic to strawberries big time as well!

kathi said...

First thing I did this morning was read your post and now, I think I'll skip breakfast and probably lunch and supper. Thanks hon. :)

As much as it pains me to say this, I'm with your dad. I love lobster, wouldn't touch sushi for any reason. Charlie loves sushi, and I buy it for him at the sushi bar in the grocery store, but wouldn't touch it myself.

~Deb said...

See, I don't trust the grocery store's sushi, only because it tends to lie there more frequently rather than the sushi bar's that you eat at. Be careful if it is 'raw fish'. The rolls are fine to buy there, because they usually don't have actual raw fish in it. I've known many people who have gotten sick off of grocery store bought sushi.

Natalia said...

Despite it all, this post makes me hungry.

-N

Matt-Man said...

I had sushi once, but I sent it back because it was cold. Cheers!!

Enemy of the Republic said...

Love sushi, baby. Speaking of raw, I just got your book yesterday. I will read it soon.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Those shrimp allergies seem to come on out of nowhere. A college friend from a town on the Gulf coast had her parents send her a large box of shrimp at the end of each school year. She would invite her friends to her apartment and we’d all join in peeling and cooking and feasting on the shrimp. In the midst of one such peeling event she broke out in a red rash all over her body. We were all amazed: she had been around shrimp, peeled shrimp, and eaten shrimp for twenty years and suddenly she was allergic to it. Why?

Lisa said...

I'm with you, Deb; our grocery store sells sushi and I'm afraid of it. Especially when they put the "Today Only! $2 Off!" stickers on it. (shudder)

Loud Mouth said...

Ooowee! Sushi. So barbaric woman!

~Deb said...

Nat: Me too…but not the lobster part!

Matt-Man: Come on now, it goes great with a nice white wine…or sake.

Enemy: I could eat that every single night! Thanks again for purchasing my book! I hope you enjoy it!

Nick: It’s weird, because I always ate shrimp, crab and lobster before, and then I started developing an allergy to it. A lot of people develop allergies in their later years for some reason. Again, I never used to be allergic to strawberries until I hit my late twenties. Not sure why either.

Lisa: That’s because nobody bought it the day prior. Consumer be aware!!! (ha)

Loud Mouth: Such a heathen I am, huh?

texasshiva said...

Lobster is worse. Sushi rocks. Try Sushi Lounge in Hoboken...kinda loud, but really good sushi. I went there, oh, 2 weeks ago. Best sushi I've ever had. Seriously.

Suzer said...

I looooove sushi! And I don't know if even the scary story you related would make me stop eating it. Tuna and unagi are my faves! I only get it at reputable restaurants, though, no supermarket stuff for me.

Re: shellfish allergies -- my grandfather ate shellfish his whole life, until one day in his 80's, he passed out after eating shrimp. Apparently, shellfish allergies can creep up on you unexpectedly. Yikes!

Dirk_Star said...

Please help me to help Al Gore save the planet.

Nancy said...

I love it all. Is that wrong?

I do feel a little bit sick after reading about the tapeworm. I imagine it's a great way to lose a few pounds, though.

Paul said...

Your lobster commentary is bringing back a vague childhood memory...

Am I just making this up or when you boil lobsters alive do they emit little peeping sounds? I just know that even as a really little kid, boiling things alive didn't sit well with me...

Palm Springs Savant said...

funny you mentioned sushi. I just did a post on easting sushi and eating live creatures like Sea Urchin. (posted some pics). While I like sushi. sometimes it can be so gross!!!

Gary Baker said...

dirk_star,

As soon as Al Gore (or anyone else, for that matter) can adequately demonstrate a threat to the planet that we can realistically affect, I'm on board. So far, he hasn't even come close.

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

EEEEEWWW! Raw fish - I can't do it! Otherwise, I love fish of all kinds - except LOBSTER (although its great in bisque!) Just came back from Cape Cod where I indulged in haddock, scallops and more scallops!

Jaded said...

Ewwww...I don't like seafood, cooked or otherwise...ick! Yeah, it's weird to grow up at the Jersey shore and hate seafood, but, I do. I won't even let Mr. Jaded cook it in the house because the smell alone makes me nauseous.

Lisa said...

Wasn't there a diet fad in the sixties or seventies involving tapeworms? I'm serious, I remember hearing something about that. Or maybe people were just considering using tapeworms.

Either way. BLECH.

~Deb said...

I've heard about the lobsters literally screaming when being placed in boiling water. That's the wrong way to kill them though... You're supposed to kill them properly, before putting them into the pot.

There's a diet fad with tapeworms? I suppose some people will just about do anything to lose a few. Scary, huh?

Lorna said...

deb,
First of all, hugssssssss to you cuz I think you need one, we all do. :-) I am not much of a raw fish eater, in fact I have never tried it. Something about the word RAW I think. LOLOL Have a great week, make new and happy memories!

M said...

I grew up near the Chesapeake Bay and my family was a huge fan of crabs. They would get together, put out a bunch of newspaper, and go to town. I never liked the smell or taste. One year, they even had crabs on my birthday while I hate a hot dog in the other room. But my real tipping point was when they brought home some live ones to cook. One got out and my grandpa had to chase it around the table. That sealed the deal for me: I can't eat anything that looks like it did when it was alive. Ew. So sushi on!