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NFC: Article

Here is one for this list.  Please don't put it on a web page or forward to
another list, or reprint it without my permission.

Thank you,

The Piscivore:
Carp by Any Other Name Cost More but Still Taste as Bad

By Norman D. Edelen, Jr., GPAS

Aquarists who rent apartments must often find themselves jealous of their
fellow hobbyists that own houses.  Home-owning aquarists have so much room!
Often they have a single room in their dwelling devoted entirely to
aquaristic undertakings.  Fishrooms.  Amazing spare bedrooms or dank
basement quarters full of the whining hum of blowers were no thought is
given to human comfort, were carpet is undesirable and wet and moldy if
present, were ugly tanks can be hidden away from the causal visitor and
proudly displayed to those guests equally as caught up in the hobby.  The
trophy tank may have a place in the family room, but that bare 'working'
tank full of fry will be stuffed into the fishroom.

Apartment hobbyists surely have cause for envy.  Dank leaking tanks full of
fry balancing upon the kitchen counter, or perched precipitously on the
television.  The slightly unpleasant aroma of flake food ground into the
fungus laden living room carpet.  The racket of air pumps and filters
constantly detracting from the simple pleasure of watching television.  The
python always underfoot.  Aquariums kept dry and in storage for lack of
space.  All of these hardships nourishes the envy of the poor apartment
aquarists, but nothing bothers the renter more than the ability of the
purchaser to establish expansive backyard ponds, lively and colorful with
lilies and fish, attracting all manner of wildlife, and providing continual
solace for the home owning soul.

The backyard pond is a veritable oasis of sights and sounds completely
exotic to the average renter.  No enterprise undertaken by the poor victim
of the landlords can possibly provide as great a sense of accomplishment,
nor as near a recreation of Arcadia.  Sedating sounds of moving waters, the
stately powerful movements of large gaudy carp, flowers and more flowers,
humming insect wings.  A complete departure from glass boxes with timid
stressed fish.  Even the carp, generally a despised aquatic nuisance of
little worth, small beauty, and no value has been transformed by pond
keeping into a living fantasy of color and endearing personality.  And
value?  Some of these fancy carp can be purchased for the price of houses!
Even the name is exotic and magical: Koi.

Obviously the poor renter has little recourse available when it comes to
sating this longing for the blessings of a pond.  Patio tub ponds are only
suitable to remind one of the true splendor of the backyard garden pond;
they only cause the bile of envy to rise to the throat that much faster, and
with a much more acidic burn.  This envy is especially poignant when the
renting aquarist has a landlord that maintains a pond.  Since the Koi is the
soul of the garden pond, nothing sort of enjoying at least one of these
wondrous colored carp will suffice.  Impossible for the apartment dweller..

But wait!  There is more than one way to "enjoy" a fish!  With Grinch-like
stealthy glee the renter can pilfer one of the pond-keeping landlord's
glorious painted carp, and retire into the small cluttered aquarium-ridden
apartment kitchen to digest the essence of Koi.  Obviously some research
should be entered into before nocturnally leaping the landlord's fence.  One
always needs a full appreciation of quality.  Here is a rule of thumb
though: surely if the most expensive of wines tastes best, then it stands to
reason that the most expensive of Koi should be more pleasing to the palate.
Perhaps a chatty visit with the landlord beforehand will allow determination
of which animal to take.  Every pond owner loves to talk about his or her
charges, and with little prompting usually will divulge the estimated value
of each animal.  Allow leeway for bragging though.

So, acquiring the Koi seems simple enough, but not many recipes call for
them.  Luckily, Koi are really just beautified carp, and while carp might
not oft be eaten, recipes do exist.  A local recipe that might benefit the
potential thief originated with a local dentist of Japanese ancestry named
Masa Hiro Oyamada, who was also widely known as "Little Doc."  He was a
patriotic American, with two sons in the United States Army during World War
II, and who acted as a translator for the FBI on a voluntary basis, yet even
so passed away in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming, relocation camp in 1943.
This Portland resident was famous in his day among the angling community in
town for landing a ten-pound steelhead from the Big Nestucca River.  This in
itself wasn't so remarkable, but what amazed his contemporaries and earned
him renown was the fact that his hook had failed to even touch the fish, but
rather had passed through the eye of a hook already lodged in the jaw of the
animal.  Below is Little Doc's recipe for carp:

 Carp Little Doc

 Scale and dress carp, cutting into large pieces.  If female, save roe.  The
 head must not be discarded.  Place in large kettle, and cover with water
 to which liberal amount of soy sauce has been added.  Add packet of
 mixed pickling spices.  Pepper and salt to taste.  Boil gently until fish
 is thoroughly done.  Serve hot or allow to cool in its own jelly - when
 it is worthy to associate with the very best potato salad.

Hopefully that fact that this recipe is of local origin will mean that it is
suitable for any carp pilfered locally.  Please make sure you ask your pond
owner if he medicates the fish before embarking on this project, as some
medications may become trapped in the flesh of the animal, and may prove
harmful if ingested.  Even cooking may not alleviate this potential threat.
Hopefully each bite of this dish will temper the renter's envy to some
degree, and therefore taste sweet.  If the meal doesn't fully remove all
traces of jealousy, repeat as needed, and perhaps invite the landlord over
for a dinner of "Mystery Fish" prepared "Little Doc" style.


Lampman, Ben Hur.  The Coming of the Pond Fishes. Portland, OR: Binfords &

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