Taste of the Caribbean: Mom Always Said, Eat Your Fish Eyes…
No matter who you are, or where you come from, we all grow up eating certain things that others might find a bit eccentric, strange, or downright gross. Sure, I poked fun at my Dad’s Trini taste for iguana in a post about LLB’s a couple weeks ago, but really, who among us is any different when it comes to the weird food department?
I’m certainly not. The proof is in the eyes… not of the beholder, but in the actual eyes of fried fish, which I love to eat.
I’m not really sure why I love fish eyes. It’s not like they have any real distinctive or savory flavor. They’re sort of hard and doughy with a bit of a chalky finish. I also have to admit that gouging them out used to bother me a little when I was kid, but I’d get over it real quick once those eyeballs were rolling around in my mouth. Mmmm…
I didn’t even know that eating eyeballs was considered a bit weird until a trip to Martinique last year. I was eating lunch with a group of journalists in the Covered Market in downtown Fort-de-France. There’s a simple restaurant at the back of the place called Chez Carole that serves some of the best Creole food on the island. Carole also has one of the prettiest smiles in the entire Caribbean, so there’s really two reasons to stop by and see her next time you’re in Martinique.
Anyway, one of the writers in our group, who normally doesn’t eat fish, wasn’t keen on the fried snapper placed in front of him, mainly because, as he said: “It’s looking at me!”
Nice guy that I am, I offered to solve his problem by removing and eating the eyes.
“You don’t really eat the eyes,” he said.
“Sure I do. They’re packed with vitamins. Eyes are the best part of the fish.”
None of this has been proven, to my knowledge, but it’s basically what my Mom always told me whenever she fried fish for us at home in St. Croix. I’m sure she wouldn’t make that up just to get her jollies off of watching me eat something gross, right? Plus, she and my Dad (of course) always ate ’em too.
So yeah, I ate the fish eyes on my friend’s plate. I then ate the fish eyes and everything else on my plate.
As for my friend… he just had another biere.