The Loafer And The Fishes: A Short Parable

I’m not brave.

I am afraid of sardines.

Sardines have been on my mind, yes, on my mind. I think I should smarten up; increase my nutritional intake in an eco-smart, cost-efficient way. But all my life I’ve been terrified of eating the headless, tailless ones.

I confessed this to my friend and she told me she makes a sardine frittata and would invite me for dinner. Now, for this story only, the name Trixie has to be a pseudonym, because “Trixie” is mortified that it be known she would make pelagic pie for a Sunday dinner guest.

With great excitement Trixie issued a formal invitation, “I look forward to serving you the little fish with no heads.” With sincere trepidation I said I’d be there (and wondered again why I have to make such a big deal about everything). I seriously hoped the little buggers would be disguised in something very distracting.

We often improvise at Trixie and Jan’s, this night would be no exception. Trixie had doubled the ingredients for tonight’s dinner and kept checking the consistency of the pie. There was too much liquid in the bottom, damn, they could be swimming down there still. Back in the oven it went.

So toast was made and spread with Marmite. I grew up with Marmite and my South African friends did, too. When Trixie asked if I’d like a drink of coke and milk (coke? and milk? together?) things were getting eerily reminiscent of scenes from famous books; Jesus feeding the multitudes on the hillside (the Bible), and Doc ordering a beer milkshake (Cannery Row). We raised our glasses and drank (what tasted to me like the poor man’s Kahlua) a toast to…the sardine! The smallest butts of any joke.

Phew, sliced large mushrooms, huge chunks of zucchini shielded the little ones from view. But there, ooh, and there, ah, was that inescapable, unmistakable texture; very much like the furtive paper notes we’d chew and swallow in school to escape detection.

The Bible recorded two separate miraculous feedings of the multitudes (although no definitive word on the Marmite). Jan said we shouldn’t bother with the second one (wuss), but I would eat them again. It’s uncanny though, I’ve yet to remember to buy them.

Trixie left a message after I got home. “God bless you (little fish and all).”

The moral? One can practice bravery.


Good Life

For Brian and Janice, Trixie and Jan…zany and courageous, the best combination!

One Response to “The Loafer And The Fishes: A Short Parable”

  1. Dale says:

    I haven’t eaten the little duffers for over 40 years, pre my veggie days I had sworn off them because once I hit my adult years I refused to consume them as was my right to do so. Something about their little bones acting like scaly toothpicks in my mouth surrounded by fragile tinfoil……. not a taste I miss in any shape or form. I doubt they will be putting together a tofu version so I’m sure I will not be braving the taste sensation as you practice above. Thankfully, no one offers me Sunday frittata versions with the open sea ones swimming until solidified in the oven. My suggestion for the eco friendly protein is quinoa, a whole seed protein version I’m sure you could creatively shape into sardines if you really wanted to! As always, love your writing. d

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