|The Conversation by Beth Surdut|
Monday, November 24, 2014
The educated conversation at the butcher's
For many more years than not, I haven’t eaten four-legged animals, but somehow fish, I could eat. So when yesterday, in a small market, displayed in crushed ice, a pink grouper’s head attached to maybe half a body caught my eye with its clouded one, I asked the affable young butcher for a pound, or a bit less.
As I talked with a retired English teacher wanting red snapper, who told me there was no teaching anymore unless it was in a private school, BANG! The butcher slammed a mallet down on the knife perched on the bone of the grouper.
He laid the slice of delicate pink flesh on the scale.
“Only half a pound,” he said, disappointed.
I couldn’t stand witness to another hacking.
“I’ll take it; it’s fine,” I told him and turned back to the English teacher and said,
“I went to a private school. Quaker.”
She touched my arm and said, “Then you are educated.”
The slab of fish leaked a bloody spot in the refrigerator overnight. Though I had lost my taste for the idea of it, I laced it with garlic and spices, broiled it, and gave it to the dog who, the breeder had said, was the dumbest she’d ever raised.