Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Please Pass The Eyeball"

I just have to write this down and attach a photo before my adled brain forgets!  We had a milestone event in our household on May 22, 2010.  A member of our family ate a fish eye!!  With knowledge and forethought!

A little background.....

We have been blessed by the kindness of several new friends since moving to China.  One family that we have spent some great times with are native Hong Kong residents.  They happen to have a daughter close to Ellysa's age and we have done a few "family outings" with them.  Our get-togethers invariably include food, often traditional Chinese cuisine, as our friends try to introduce us to the customs and culture of our newly-adopted homeland.  On a February trip to a Hong Kong sea-side village restaurant, we enjoyed an array of just-caught delicasies from the local waters.  Our lazy susan swirled at the center of the table with giant prawns, lobster, squid, and a fish, all of which we had selected from outdoor tanks near the restaurant entrance. 

Talk about a raw sushi bar!! You get to pick your seafood before entering the restaurant.

The Chosen One.  "Lunch is ready!"

Ellysa sat near her new Chinese friend, Doris (who speaks perfect English), and watched curiously as she happily plucked the eye from the huge, whole fish which was a featured dish on our table.  After getting a nod from her parents that she could indeed "claim" the prize organ, all of us Grohs looked on in amazement as  Doris popped said eye in her mouth with a smile.  Some questions followed: what does it taste like?, what does it feel like? do you like it?  Delicate stomachs then steered the conversation elsewhere and we chalked up ANOTHER China experience.

Fast-forward to May 22.....

A day at the beach.  Bill and Ellysa took (very bumpy) rides on the boat in the picture. 
I found a rock and sat down!

Bill, Ellysa, and I joined the Radio System's Shenzhen staff on an "Outing" to Huizou, a "beachy" area about 2.5 hours from our house.  We all departed in a tour bus at 8:00 am and the day included lunch and dinner meals, pre-planned by the Chinese staff members.   Lunch was at a decidedly Chinese "establishment", near the water's edge.  The food was okay and rice, as ever, was plentiful for moments when we didn't want to use our chopsticks to grapple with the unknown dishes swirling by on the lazy susan.  As is customary, the big fish was a featured dish.  When the "wheel of fortune" spun the fish to a resting place in front of Ellysa, she looked at Bill and I and said, "Should I eat the eye?" 

Note the tasty morsel dangling on the chopstick on the right.

The voice in my head was screaming "Oh my gosh!  Please be joking.  You are NOT gonna eat a fish eye, are you?"     However, the Mother voice I possess (and use not as often as I should) calmly said, "Sure, give it a try if you want to."  (GULP)  So, she did it.  She got that shiney eyeball on the tip of her chopstick and popped it in her mouth.  After some chewing, she judged it "not too bad", but had to spit out a brittle, white ball that would not break down.  (Who knew that was in there?  GULP AGAIN)

I still quease a bit when I consider this event, but it is a reflection on the many ways we are all "growing" here.  None of the Chinese people who shared our table of 10 diners thought it was any big deal.   In fact, they were probably thinking, "Remember when we were kids and always got dibs on the eyeballs?"