Friday, February 17, 2006

Fugu Haiku, edu-babble, recipes and more!

"Last night he and I ate Fugu.
Today I carry his coffin. Oh dear."

A Fugu safely sealed in plastic.

Though not containing the correct number of syllables in English (it may well in Japanese) the above Fugu Haiku is not without didactic value.

I chanced upon the Rockford College Learning Resources Center, where they seem to imply that one can make the fish from Lego or something. I read the paragraph containing the word "Puffer" with increasing amazement, as it seemed to be an exercise in textual play, some form of OuLiPoien creativity. However, despite the fact that:

The philosophy of the LRC is based on a dedication to maximize abilities and potentials through the educational program. The philosophy is founded on believing that individual improvement in academic achievement is attainable, individuals possess untapped potential which can be challenged, learning occurs through valid teaching methods, successful instruction focuses on individual learning styles/needs, individuals become academically adept through careful guidance, successful achievement leads to further success, learning takes place when the student is treated with dignity, respect and worth, effective instruction requires dedicated, sensitive and highly qualified instructors and successful learning experiences lead to lifelong learning. All of our staff members are certified teachers. Our staff includes teachers with Masters of Education degrees in Reading, Learning Disabilities, Mathematics or certification in specialized areas. Our teachers are selected based upon academic qualifications, experience, ability to relate to students and positive approach to educating the individual person...

(Who the hell wrote this? I want to meet them) appears that:

...the students will machines function while applying their skills to have the opportunity to meet a real " inventing" new devices and work-saving paleontologist with real dinosaur bones! implements. Gardes 1-3 at 8 a.m., and Grades Grades 1-3 at 8 a.m.
Kitchen Chemistry Our Amazing World Join us for an amazing experience as a ziplock bag Come along with us as we discover the fantastic filled with chemicals gets hot and inflates with gas, world of science in our own backyard. Explore a and its bubbling contents change color before your pond, view the inhabitants of the ecosystem eyes! Be actively involved in hands-on experiments under a microscope and discover nature's in an exciting, fun and safe situation. We'll make early warning system. Plant a butterfly garden chemical concoctions from our kitchen ingredients and make edible butterflies. Take a hike and and have new and unique encounters with materials start a rock collection. Discover the world of we can use safely, and sometimes, even eat! Amphibians while you enjoy a visit from some Grades 1-3 at 8 a.m. and Grades 4-6 at 10:30 a.m. friendly frogs. Come prepared for short hikes.Under the Sea Neptune's kingdom will come to life as students create Puffer fish, origami whales, 3-D aquariums and edible oceans.

...and so on, and on, increasingly incoherently.

Though often the food of rich prats in American restaurants who want something really different (for a nice account of phoning McDonald's, Pizza Hut and so on to ask for a table and organic food for Madonna, read here) the Fugu (Blowfish, Puffer Fish, Poisson Lune...) can in fact be prepared and enjoyed at home, though it kills approximately 35 % of those who try. Not with this recipe though. And you will need new, fresh ingredients as well as the fish. Difficult in Berlin, the flies hovering over the rotting fruit, the vegetables stinking and lying in pools of ooze, the limp beans, lettuce and carrots, all Klasse 1. Perhaps they have been when they were fresh.
What is it about Berliners, so demanding in respect of alcohol, sex, cabaret, films and literature, that lets them put up with this crap? You can buy the best of a bad bunch: some carrots shaded prettily between green at their thick ends and anaemic orange at the points; a plastic bag of traffic-light peppers only one of which is wrinkled; some soi-disant organic onions, sprouting from only one end; some suspiciously reduced Gouda, product of more than one country; a bunch of flaccid dill and packets of frozen kohlrabi and peas, from field to packet in less than a fortnight... but mix none of this with your fine Fugu.
First, obtain a good knife, breathing equipment, stimigen in injectable form, and a pot.
The fugu hiki (literally puffer-puller) knife is long, thin and specifically designed to fillet the puffer fish. It can be found.
Then, obtain your fish. One good source is the Japanese Tzukigi fish market, which has a Fugu Association who, oddly, meet once a year to release caught fugu. And one good sauce is vinegar and sake, although the fish has to be marinaded for over 73 years for it to be safe.
For availability, see here...
We shall be eating it as a hotpot: first, heat a pot. Then remove the sperm-sac, gonads, ovaries, eyes, gills, head, tail, fins, liver, and to be safe, all the rest of the insides, depending on the fish's gender. Into the hot pot, throw grated kiwi fruit, whole chocolate peppers (yes Veronique), a stalk or two of celery, chopped, salted plums, Vietnamese hot chives sliced lengthways, cherry tomatoes, ditto, and a small handful of white crab meat or Mexican hopping rabbit for each person.
Discard the remains of the puffer fish, sealing the plastic bag tightly. Wash your hands in a solution of very diluted bleach (1 : 20) and then cream with a walnut sized lump of Nivea cream, into which you have mixed the equivalent of half an aspirin tablet and some artist's turpentine.
Invite the required number of friends around for dinner (yes: at this last minute, they won't have time to reflect and say "no") telling them that you have prepared (for it is true) a puffer-fish hotpot. Half of them will get quite high on this idea.
Refuse alcohol, telling them that it potentiates the traces of Tetrodotoxin that remain in the dish. Make sure that you have also discarded, before making the dish, the Fugu Hiki knife, no matter how much it cost. Mere washing or boiling will not do. Throw it away now.

And, if you have been, thanks for looking.

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