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Mullet Memories

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In the late 1970s, my family weren’t even remotely religious, let alone Catholic and yet, every Friday, we would make the trek to the local fish and chip shop for our end of the working week treat. 

“We are giving your mother a break,” my father would pronounce before saying to her. “Go in on your own, love. He’ll put in an extra piece of fish if you go in on your own.”

My mother was the type of woman who would wear heels and perfectly coiffured hair to do the groceries and had generous curves that the Greek bloke who owned the fish and chip shop seemed to appreciate as he would flirt outrageously with her and, inevitably, throw in an extra piece of fish and wink at her. 

My father was okay with this as he was very secure in his relationship and he loved a bargain. My mother was okay with this because it was a lovely weekly ego boost. My brother and I weren’t terribly okay with this because we were never allowed to go into the shop; instead having to wait outside in car but we got takeaway so it was okay. 

Then, one fateful day, the generous Greek suggested, “Mullet.”

Now, mullet is a fish which is loved by the Mediterranean community and he assured my mother that, “it is beautiful and fresh,” and kissed his fingers to emphasise the perfection of the catch.

My mother trusted this assessment and, as usual, he threw in an extra piece. 

I really wish he hadn’t. 

Mullet is an oily, extremely strong tasting fish which reminded me unfavourably of the ‘Cod Liver Oil’ my parents would routinely inflict upon my brother and I after every evening meal in Winter to build our immunity.

Of course, my father insisted that we eat every last piece of this ‘beautiful and fresh’ mullet because he had paid for it. 

So, I ate it, all the while building an unfair resentment toward the entire Greek nation which ended as soon as I got the taste of mullet out of my mouth. 

And from that day on I never ate fish again because even the mildest tasting variety casts my mind back to the mullet experience. 

I hate fish. 

By Ca Venz


6 thoughts on “Mullet Memories”

  1. Oh dear. It is funny how memories of taste persist in our minds for long.
    It is sad you can’t enjoy orher varieties of seafood but great that you have strong memories of your early family life.
    Thanks for joining in to the Friendly Friday challenge.

    1. I am sure it’s lovely. I didn’t add that my parents were massive fans of tablespoons of cod liver oil in the winter months to ‘build immunity’ (no tablets in the old days) and I suspect that the strong tasting fish just pushed our tastebuds over the edge.

      1. My parents fed us a tablespoon of Saunders Malt Extract for ‘ Building immunity. Prising open the pressed metal lid with the back of a table spoon handle is seared in my memory. The memory of a baby in cloth nappy hoisting a steel joist head high on the label has made me invincible in the years since.

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