The movie Stand By Me greatly impressed my 1986 self, particularly the characters’ usage of the word “pussy”. I thought the word was really funny, and assumed that it simply meant “scaredy-cat” or “chicken”. After calling friends, strangers and even my older brother “pussy” one too many times, my dad took me aside and delicately explained that pussy was also slang for vagina.
My dad has taught me lots of things since–stuff about science, philosophy, art and music. But most importantly, he’s taught me how to swear. With every visit to Port Stanley, where my pop resides with his wife Gillian and step-daughter Rebecca, another original swear is birthed into my world.
Lucky for us, the Beast and I were invited to indulge in some caught-that-day Lake Erie pickerel on Saturday with the three of them, along with Gillian’s brother and niece, and Gillian’s best friend, Deb. There were eight of us in total, and we had a grand time.
Foodie (Trying to impress my 16-year-old step-sister by talking about cool shit): Remind me, you did or did not enjoy the Twilight books?
Rebecca: I did NOT enjoy them. And I hated the movie.
Foodie: But you read the books, right?
Foodie: You liked them at the time though, didn’t you?
Gillain (yelling from the kitchen): Yes she did!
Rebeca: At first I liked them I suppose. (Pause). But I think that anybody who likes Edward Cullen has “daddy issues.”
Foodie: How’s that?
Rebecca: Well, he’s so protective and over-bearing. Only a certain type of girl would want that.
Foodie: Oh I don’t know about that. I think he’s simply behaving like an old-fashioned gentleman.
I mean, how could a 16-year-old possibly begin to understand the lost art of chivalry? Besides, Edward is 108 years old and was born in an age when men opened doors for women. And he has to be over-protective because there are vampire out there trying to KILL Bella. I’m sure once Rebecca matures, she’ll have a better understanding of all this.
As Gillian prepared our pickerel, the rest of us sat outdoors in the garden drinking beer and wine and nibbling on snacks. We yelled and laughed our way through a gamut of conversations: from the Middle East to the rise/fall of secularism to Jimmy Carter (hero or villain?) and finally, to movies: my dad declared that the documentary Man on a Wire is “dopey,” Gran Torino is a “horribly contrived cliche,” and Synecdoche, New York is “quite likely the most important film ever made.”
When we were called inside to eat, the table-replete with bottles of red and white wine-greeted us. Some of the younger dinner guests (Rebecca) nearly emptied a jar of Kraft’s tartar sauce on top of their fish. I passed. Thank goodness too because the pickerel was encrusted with rice flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and a little garlic powder, and fried in a mixture of both olive oil and butter. These nuanced flavours would have been lost with the addition of tartar sauce. But I guess when you’re SO MATURE and you think only IDIOTS love Edward Cullen, you probably couldn’t give a shit about the balance of flavours. The just-pulled-from-the-ground Ontario potatoes were divine; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. And there was a gorgeous spinach salad dressed with a homemade vinaigrette, toasted sunflower seeds, bell peppers and dried blueberries. Finally, Ontario strawberries marinated with a kiss of balsamic were served with a choice of Cool Whip or real whipped cream. I won’t divulge who chose what. But I will reveal that I tried the berries with both. The verdict? I can see each of their merits. Personally though, I prefer just a little scoop of good vanilla ice cream. I guess I’m just so IMMATURE for saying that. Whatever.
After our meal, the slightly-intoxicated adults went for a walk with the Beast to buy cigarettes. Somebody spotted a very tiny and colourful snake on the road. We were fascinated, and we all crouched down to get a better look, except for my pops.
Dad: Oh come on! It’s a snake for chrissake! What do snakes do? They can’t even walk! You know what? A snake is basically a fuck-brain.
Beast: Did your dad just say fuck-brain?
Foodie: Yes, he said, a snake is a fuck-brain.
Beast: That’s the best thing I’ve heard in a long time.
And it was the best pickerel I’ve had in a long time too.