The goldfish is bigger than the Eiffel Tower. True story. It was a prize granted to the kids five years ago in some stuffy sports center at the final hour of an exasperbated Purim carnival loaded with face paint, greasy food, and, obviously, an over-supply of goldfish. The kids were thrilled at the offering. The parents…no so much. Still, the sight of their toddler’s grubby, greasy fingers clasping the plastic bag with a miniscule, petrified shock of orange seemed harmless enough, and, just like birthing them, the horror of what was happenening, washed away with the smiles on their faces. ‘How bad could it be,’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘the thing will be dead in four days anyway.’
So did I mention it’s been five years? Five. Years.
I think I’ve already showcased Goldie (who is now ghostly white) on this site. Back in the day when she was cute. And small. But the thing is no longer either, having outgrown four tanks already. Each time I buy a bigger one (because I can’t bear the depressing sight of her body aching for more space) she just grows bigger. Like a contained annoyance.
Friends gasp in amazement each time they visit us and our Science Project.
“Is that the SAME fish?” they query incredulously. It’s like salt on my wound.
“Yes,” I grumble.
The kids are fascinated. Each vacation we take (and there are many) becomes a feat for her survival. The minute they walk in the door they run to her tank to take a peak and always gloriously announce, “GOLDIE IS ALIIIIIVE!”
And she is, gosh darnit. No matter if it’s two days, or ten, or more. She is always alive and growing, now bigger than her Eiffel Tower statue and too mammoth to swim under her Ponte Veccio replica. It’s sad really. Friends (yes, the same that gape at her and then escape to the safety of their monster-fish-free home) stare me down with humane eyes and meekly suggest I get her a bigger tank, ‘for God’s sake, look at the size of that thing.’ But I know better, damnit. If I buy a bigger one, and this tank is HUGE, it will grow. Goldie seems to outlive and outgrow us all.
This summer poses an interesting problem. We are moving, you see. And not down the street. Or to another state. But to Mexico City. Fish bigger than Eiffel Towers don’t get to go, sadly. So hearty discussions have been steadily underway for several months now: what do we do with Goldie?
One child suggests we have a neighbor come in to the house regularly and feed her and make sure she is okay. (Note, the sex of this thing has never been determined, but the kids unanimously appointed her as female.)
The other insists if we put her in a (big) ziploc bag, she will make the journey.
My husband and I are gourmands at heart. She is big enough. Fleshy enough. And right there. Parguito Frito is a dish we both grew up enjoying on the beaches in Venezuela. For those not fortunate enough to know, Venezuela boasts some of the world’s finest beaches: crystal blue waters, powdery white sand, and amazing food as you sit on the sand enjoying it all, including a complete meal of freshly caught Parguito Frito (fried Red Snapper), Tostones con Queso Rayado (fried green plantains with grated fresh white cheese) and Ensalada de Repollo (shredded cabbage salad with cilantro and a lime mayonnaise dressing.) Memorable stuff.
But no worries. We are parents first and foremost, and anyway, we’ve seen the filth Goldie swims around in (wouldn’t want to ingest any part of that.) Like the famous White House turkey each Thanksgiving, this fish, as big and plump as it gets, will be spared. For viewing eyes only.
2 whole snappers, about 1 1/2 pound each
1 lime, sliced in half
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fine cornmeal, for dredging
2 cups corn oil
Heat oil in a deep skillet on medium high heat. Oil should reach a temperature of 350 degrees.
Clean fish using lime halves- squeeze juice and scrub inside out then pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Fry fish until golden brown, approximately 2 - 3 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, preferably on the beach!