Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Feast of the Seven Fishes -- just barely

Black Tiger shrimp, above, and a frittata with salted cod fish, below, were two of the courses in a hastily improvised Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Day.

With the meat eaters in the family preparing a Christmas dinner of Cuban roast pork and lamb, I tried to reproduce a Feast of the Seven Fishes with what I had on hand.

A few days earlier, my wife made a canned fish salad with yellowfin tuna, pink salmon and sardines, so I decided to start my seafood meal with that, knocking off three of the seven fish.

My first course: Canned fish salad with Dijon mustard, lime juice and ground cumin.

We had plenty of salted cod fish for a fluffy frittata with whole organic eggs, low-fat milk and shredded Italian cheese, topped with fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto, and finished under the broiler.

In the freezer, I also had a box of New Zealand Green Lip mussels, which I popped into the oven for about 15 minutes (under the broiler).

Mussels with brown rice, black beans and organic diced tomatoes, and vegetables.

A slice of the cod-fish frittata was my second course, followed by a big plate of mussels, vegetables and organic brown rice with black beans and organic diced tomatoes prepared in an electric cooker.

Rice, beans and diced tomatoes went into an electric cooker at the same time.

I should have stopped there, but to get to seven fishes, I had to have a few jumbo shrimp and a piece of salted mackerel fillet with plum concentrate I found at H Mart, a Korean supermarket, and put in the freezer.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes, which originates in Italy, is usually eaten on Christmas Eve.

I threw together my seafood mini-feast after our plans for a multi-course Christmas dinner for 8 at Lotus Cafe in Hackensack fell through when our guests cancelled.

When I mentioned that plan to another friend, he said it reminded him of "A Christmas Story," a movie about a family that had their Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant.

I had never seen the film, so I recorded and watched it, discovering a couple of disturbing scenes (see photos below). 

"A Christmas Story" is a 1983 film based on a Jean Shepherd screenplay. In this scene at a Chinese restaurant, the waiters' inability to pronounce the letter "r" is mocked.

Here, the restaurant owner has just hacked off the neck and head of the duck the family would be having for Christmas dinner after their turkey was eaten by stray dogs.


  1. Victor, the Christmas Story scene in the Chinese restaurant promotes ugly stereotypes and racist caricatures. Why would you bring it up?

  2. To expose just that in a film that remains popular. No one who mentioned the film said anything about how that scene lampoons Asians. And to think this kind of backwardness existed in Hollywood as recently as 1983. You should be taking the director to task, not me.

  3. Victor, you chose to reference the Christmas Story scene after writing about your friends' cancellation to eat at a Chinese restaurant. Why bring up the Christmas story scene at that point to raise awareness about its ugly stereotypes and racist caricatures?

  4. Why not bring it up?

    It's especially appropriate now that a version of "A Christmas Story" is on Broadway.

    I've added to the post how a friend told me about the movie and a Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant. But I don't think there is any wrong time to remind people of racism wherever it is found, especially in Hollywood.

    I can't grasp what your objections are. Are you an apologist for racists? Do you perpetuate racial stereotypes yourself?

    1. Please, no plugs for your blog, Web site and so forth.


Please try to stay on topic.