Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just Watch Out for the Splinters

And while we're on the topic of the use of the English language in Italian, let us not forget the joy of Italian menus translated into English. This fried fishing boat was on offer last night at the restaurant below my house for just €14. And you thought fishing boats were expensive! Not here! Maybe if you don't eat the whole boat, you can take it home in a doggy bag, build the rest back later, and put up your own "Gone Fishin'" sign by the weekend.

And I'm sure that as with most exotic cuisine, it tastes just like chicken.

By the way, frittura di paranza, or "net fry," is one of those dishes that scared me out of my wits the first time (and needless to say, only time) it was ever served to me. Basically it's all the little fishes that get stuck in the net and aren't sufficiently large enough to constitute their own plate. So, they just batter 'em, throw 'em all in a big ol' vat of hot oil, fry 'em up, and dump 'em on a plate for you.

The works.

Usually I say anything fried is worthy of a try, but my response that time? If it can look me in the eye from my plate, I'm not eating it. Mi dispiace. I know, I know: I don't know what I'm missing. I've heard it all before, so don't bother trying to convince me.

Although I must say, I have heard that when you get a really good fishing boat and fry it up, there's nothing else like it in the world! Now, would that negate the need for a toothpick?


Susan said...

Yeah, I'd take their word for it too.

Elizabeth said...

Before last Easter my husband received a WHOLE lamb, body, legs, head, tail and all from an "out of town" client. I had to run down to the office in the car and pick it up urgently (now where would he put that, drape it over the photocopy machine and then ride home with it hanging over his shoulder on the back of the scooter). Luckily I managed to make it to the macellaio JUST before it closed to have it properly cut up in pieces, part for Easter lunch and the rest for the freezer. What can i say -- a totally non-American experience!

Isabelle said...

Love the fishing-boat part ;-))))

This dish also exists in French cuisine. It's called "friture" and I just hate it ;-)
There is another version of the "friture" which I largely prefer : all sorts of small fishes made out of ... chocolate ! (special Easter sweets)

Tamara said...

Fried fishing boat. Ah, the joys of Italianish.

~Plain Jane~ said...

Ew! EW! Ew!!

I LOVE fish.... But just the fleshy parts. I don't eat eyes, bones or skin.

I have always been a person who lives by the idea that anything that is fried is WONDERFUL. Well, you just proved that wrong.

somepinkflowers said...

In Florence last summer I selected this pizza that came with several attractive little flower-like things on the top. Turned out the flowers were teeny octopi. (I THINK that is what they were.) My goodness was my Florida mouth surprised! I am not use to such pizza toppings. I had to quickly consume vast amounts of gelato di limone.

Annika said...

fishing boat... :D :D

J.Doe said...

I used to love to read the English translations on the Chinese menus in Chinese restaurants.
The fishing boat is funny too.

Jeff Gromen said...

Maybe in Italy instead of saying "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse", which they do already. They say, "Ho fame che mangia una barca, (fritta naturalmente!)"


Anonymous said...

in keeping with the "ask yourself why" theme-
can you or anybody explain the shortage of change/coins in this country? why o why o why do stores (even BIG ones) never have enough change? this morning at the Standa, the cashier was solliciting customers for change, and by that i don't only mean the usual "don't you have exact change?", she was actually asking people "who has change for 50 cents, who has change for one euro?" AND it was early morning!
hello, i've worked in stores in USA and when you open the register in the morning you make sure you have enough change, it's a no-brainer.
i ended up giving her all the change in my wallet and she was eternally grateful but come on, a cashier shouldn't have to go around begging for coins! (=

Emily said...

I've tried the French version of those little fishies with head and all. The heads were very squishy...never again, thank you very much.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Thanks for all the great comments, I'm really enjoying them...

Jeff: Do they really say that? That's hilarious. Well then, that explains it! ;-)

Anon: One of the eternal mysteries of Rome. I hear ya. Number nine here, baby!!

Ambra Celeste said...

My husband came to see why I was laughing so hard! I asked him if he wanted some fried fishing boat! You should have seen his face.

Madelyne said...

Tasty!!! Love fish & may even like the boats :)

Anon - about the change situation. I don't live in Italy but have visited many times & one time my uncle (italian native) & I went to the bank & spent hours in a small queue cause the tellers ignore the customers. This might be the problem, no one wants to go to the bank to get change cause they come out a year older.

JennDZ said...

Wow, that is some crazy stuff....I would love it id someone I went to dinner with ordered that, just so I could see what it looked like - sounds beyond interesting to me!

Castor said...

The funniest translations I have ever seen are:

"Voracious clams" for vongole veracci (eat them before they eat you) and

edible mushrooms. (hope so)

Also, for a fish dish priced by the ounce, (ounce-etto), they listed it by (h)ecto(gram)

Castor said...

The funniest translations I have ever seen are:

"Voracious clams" for vongole veracci (eat them before they eat you) and

edible mushrooms. (hope so)

Also, for a fish dish priced by the ounce, (ounce-etto), they listed it by (h)ecto(gram)

Tracie B. said...

it's not as good as the cherries tomatoes or the macaronis with gravy

TinkerBlue said...

ummm, I think I'll pass on the fried fishing boat! Just not my cup 'o tea.

Cynthia Rae said...

Well, I hate seafood but maybe the nest time I am in Rome I will have to try the fryed boat!


avery said...

oooooh fried fishing boats. Delish! you really don't know what you're missing.
As for the little fish, I haven't tried them in Italy but in Greece I think they are called Katerinna and they are so good. I'm not lying. With a little lemon juice squeezed on top you just pop the whole thing in your mouth like a french fry. And it's loaded with vitamins and calcium because you eat the bones and all. Sono buone, non sto scherzando.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Laughed SO hard when I read this. I felt your pain (and disgust) immediately... I was in a 5 star restaurant here in Denver one night with a group of colleagues and the whole menu was in Italian. Thankfully, the classiest lady at the table was Italian and told everyone what was on the menu... seafood soup sounded good. I like seafood. I could do that. Tomato based. Cool!
I swear, I was ---this close--- to actual real hysterics, with tears streaming down my face from a neurotic blend of panic, disgust, and horror frosted with shock... when they served my Cioppino and there were three little mini octopi staring up at me from the bowl. I cannot eat something that is looking at me either. EWWWWWWWWW.
Then, to add insult to injury... I had a fit because the shells were still on all the shellfish... 'I'm paying almost $20 for this fish soup and they can't even take the SHELLS OFF?!?!!'
That's when my dear friend leaned over and whispered... it's a sign of a good restaurant if they leave the shells on. And no, don't take the empty shells home to the kids to play with.
I was new. So brand new.
Thanks for bringing back such a great memory - because NOW of course, it's funny to me. sisterhood of deeply awry fish. ha ha ha.