Wednesday, 2 January 2008

from my carp to your carp

Have been away all of this week. I am over-fed and tired from all the eating, sitting, family relationing, and eating. But it has indeed been a good festive season. I even ate carp. It has to be the most disgusting fish in the whole wide world, but for some reason the Poles love it AND it is THE MAIN Christmas dish on the Christmas Eve supper table. Bleh. My dad scored these two beauties from my uncle who happens to have a carpy type of pond. These were young and not for mass-sale in supermarkets, but kept for the sheer joy of simply having carp in one’s back yard. Why? The fish bloody stinks, has massive bones, is ugly and tastes like shit. I know that they do not cause environmental damage here in Poland like they do in the rivers of Oz, since here they are a native fish, but somehow I cannot get over the fact that they are indeed a swimming rat with fins. And here’s something more bizarre – you’re meant to keep a few dry carp scales and put them in your wallet for good luck. No thank you. Anyway, all good Poles buy their Christmas carp live, stick it in their bathtubs for a day, and then well – slaughter them in the laundry. Michal had the honours (mainly because my dad is a whimp). Supermarkets have massive plastic pools set up in the fish section with a lady who has a net and who fishes out a carp of your choosing for you! Imagine that! I’ll have one swimming fish and a mooing piece of beef please.

As much as I hate the slimy carp buggers, I felt sorry for their miserable fate – and crumbled some milk biscuits into the bathtub for their pleasure. Little did I know that carp do not eat in winter. Like bears they sort of hibernate and wait for the ice to crack before they dig their dirty slimy fishy lips out of the muddy river floor and start feeding again.

note the floating bits of biscuit - their last meal on death row –

convicted for being the most horrible fish on the planet

a slice of rude head please!

I should have turned on the spa vents for their amusement.

And since we're all getting over Christmas...Polish door-knocking carol singers anyone? If you are expecting a little choir with angelic voices and the one daggy baritone in a woollen hat holding a candle, you would indeed be mistaken. Carol door-knockers in Poland don’t actually sing (or do very rarely). They come in teams usually made up of the local village kids, get dressed up in costume and perform mini plays, involving the grim reaper, a king being sleighed and some general material out of old peasant or bible stories. They come into your home, entertain the guests (usually on Christmas Day – since the Poles celebrate Christmas Eve), wish you good tidings for the New Year, then collect money and goodies from each home they visit. These carol boys came to my uncle’s place. Their costumes were pretty good, but the acting was a little wooden.

And so, in the spirit of the carol non-singing boys, may your New Year be a Happy one!