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Chopped Fish versus filleted Fish

Editor’s note: I’m not a complainer. Really, I’m not. But having lived my first 68 years in the USA, I find that things being different take me some getting used to. Understand, please, I’m not asserting that “different” is wrong. It’s probably right for here; only I’m unused to it.

So, I’m sucking it up and learning to accept those different things. Still, I think it may amuse Dominicans reading this and help inform and prepare Americans, and Europeans and other “1st-worlders” wishing to settle here as well. I’ll write about those differences – big and small – from time to time, and will preface it with this paragraph so that you know I’m not complaining.

Difference #1:: Chopping fish versus filleting them. I know that the Dominican way, which is to chop fish, wastes no meat. But I was raised in a culture where fish bones in a meal of fish were considered distasteful at best and a deadly choking hazard at worst.

I was raised on the Atlantic shore and earned money during school summer vacations working on “head boats” where tourists (fares paid by the head) were taken out to try fishing; and I earned extra tips filleting fish they caught and wanted to take away to eat. I fillet my fish and when I eat fish I break the meat using the edge of my fork because if there’s a bone I’d find it that way. I positively hate finding a bone in a mouthful of fish.

A Dominican friend of mine says he enjoys sucking the meat from a fish-bone in his mouth. That’s how he was raised. I understand the difference, and that Dominicans are appalled by the manner in which I waste meat by filleting fish; and they’re right. I’m wrong, but I will continue to fillet my fish. If I can get it done at the market, everyone is happier. I have no fish offal to dispose of and the fellow at the market earns a couple of extra dollars (as I did as a boy) filleting the fish for us.

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