Self is turning over a new leaf, dear blog readers! She has decided that she is really, really tired of serving dinner haphazardly at 8:45 p.m. (when hubby gets home). Lately, because of too much work (it’s the start of the school year, after all– as if anyone needed reminding!), self forgets that hubby will (eventually) have to come home. Then, when he steps in the door (or sometimes 30 minutes before, if she’s lucky), she rushes to the kitchen and throws together all sorts of odds and ends. What we end up eating most nights is a melange of fried rice and hot dogs.
Is this any way to live? From now on, self resolves that the only way to have a smooth dinner is to start planning in the morning. Which is why, at 7 a.m., self traipses to a website called “Recipes of the Philippines” (www.recipehound.com/Recipes/philippines.html) and looks up a recipe for “Baked Fish” (Pescado al Horno)
This is a dish that self remembers from the time she was growing up in Manila. Sometimes the fish used was a “Pompano,” which is a flat fish with wonderful firm, meaty flesh. This particular recipe, the one self is looking at this morning, calls for a “Lapu-Lapu.” And self suddenly realizes that never, not once in all her years of living in Manila, has she ever been clear about what a “Lapu-Lapu” looks like.
She’s sure she’s eaten one (of course), but now she has terrible itch to know what it looks like (since she also wonders how it got that name? Self means: the name of the most famous chieftain in Philippine history?)
And just as she is congratulating herself for having: a) Found that Lapu-Lapu is a type of fish known as a “grouper” (which is a name self has encountered many many times since moving to the States); b) Learned that “grouper” is also “Sea Bass” (which was also son’s “handle” when he still lived at home — that is, she once passed behind son while he was at his computer and saw on his screen the salutation: “All hail, Sea Bass!”), she remembers that yesterday, one of the freshmen in her class at ND told her about a new search engine called “Blackle” that was supposed to be “more energy-efficient” (though self is not sure exactly how that works– does the computer use up less energy when she types in “Blackle” than when she types “Google”?). Self tries it now and the screen really is all black. Hmm, nifty!
Back to the grouper/Sea Bass/ Lapu-Lapu issue. So, on Wikipedia, she learns that a grouper is “a fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.” It has “a stout body and a large mouth.” According to Wikipedia, the fish are “not built for long distance fast swimming.” And they’re pretty ugly fish, too, judging from the picture. The picture on Wikipedia shows one with its mouth wide open and — Good Lord! — it has an enormous mouth (which according to Wikipedia acts like a suction) and also many many rows of sharp teeth. In fact, the fish appears to be nearly all mouth. And its color is an ugly, indeterminate brown.
The fish can apparently grow very large. According to Wikipedia, “there have been reports of them growing big enough to swallow a human bather” and “swallowing an ordinary open-circuit scuba-diver would need a throat that can expand to about 2 feet (0.61 m) square.” (Don’t bother to ask self what an “open circuit” scuba diver is, dear blog readers). Towards the end of the article, there is this: “A newspaper reported a 396.8 pound grouper being caught off the waters near Pulau Sembilan in the Straits of Malacca on Tuesday 15 January 2008.”
Oh my goodness– a monster fish! And, as usual, self has strayed far from the original purpose of this post, which was to examine her various alternatives for dinner tonight.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.