About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Ouch!
I went fishing last Sunday and after a slow start finished up with a bag of flathead and King George whiting, two of the tastiest fish in our waters. Flatheads are a non-descript looking fish that lives and feeds on the bottom and as it name implies, its head is in fact flat, with eyes looking upwards. When you first catch one they look very harmless, but looks can be deceiving for on each gill cover are two razor sharp projections.

The flathead shakes and thrashes about when caught in order to drive one of the spikes into some part of you, usually your hand. Indeed it is a right of passage to be stung by a flathead at some stage in your fishing career. Some hold that there is some venom associated with the sting, but I'm not so sure. One thing that is sure is that when one gets you, the cut always bleeds profusely.

I haven't been got by a flathead in a long while and Sunday was no exception.

Last night when I got home, my wife D had blanched some chips in oil, that's the signal for fish 'n' chips. I asked her whether she wanted flathead or whiting and after some hesitation she asked for flathead. We like to cook it on the bone, it seems more succulent, but we do have to look out for the pesky rib bones, especially so with smaller fish. Most fish shops will remove the bones and sell you what is called a flathead tail, but a lot of meat is lost in the process and accordingly one pays quite a lot for them.

We clean our fish on the boat and leave the head on, one because it's the law, so that fisheries officers can check the legal size of your fish, and two because I like to make fish stock and flathead heads in particular make very good stock. All I had to do was detach the head from the body with my razor sharp filleting knife. Whenever I start a new kitchen chore with a knife, I always give it a few wipes across a steel, so I grabbed the steel from the knife block and started to give the blade a few licks. I have never in my almost fifty years ever cut myself honing a blade on the steel, but one must never say never. Somehow I managed to jab the point of the knife into the end of my index finger and a steady trickle of blood started flowing. Ever notice how a cut with a razor or sharp knife is relatively painless if not too deep, and the blood flows easily from the wound and doesn't seem to stop?

Like a flathead wound.

Well, my ruby red blood was streaming out and despite my best attempts continued to run. I needed to finish cutting the heads from the fish and as they needed rinsing a few spots of blood wouldn't matter, so I pressed on. Grabbing a fish by the head, I pushed the knife down into it and discovered that blood is an effective lubricant. My index finger slipped straight onto the spike on the gill cover and now there was a second wound weeping blood as fast as the first.

I couldn't believe it, the fish was well dead and it still got me.
 
  posted at 9:02 am
  3 comments



3 Comments:
At 1:04 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

The fates and the stars must have been aligned against you!

 
At 10:27 pm, Anonymous Ellie said...

Not to laugh at your pain, but that post is one of the most well written and funniest things I've read so far this year! Hope the wounds have healed by now :)

 
At 4:41 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, knives and barbs were in me!

Hi ellie, thanks for that, fortunately it didn't hurt too much.

 

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