Too much alone
Still eating my way through the 45 pounds of wild salmon I caught. Grilled, poached, roasted, fried, sliced into sashimi, turned into gravlax, don’t have a smoker, diced as tartare, not sure about the milkshake though it was a lovely colour. My blood glows with omega-3 polyunsaturates but I wait in vain for enlightenment. It must be because it’s the wrong kind of salmon, not salmo salar, the leaper, whose blue-green backs once made turbulent the estuaries of the Atlantic. Their silent avatar dwelt in a secluded pool of Ireland’s River Boyne, nourished by the hazelnuts of knowledge as they plopped into the water, the very emblem of philosophical retirement. My fish are the Pacific variety, not as astute, perhaps, but certainly revered by the first peoples of B.C., the currency of commerce and of prayer, welcomed by elaborate human ceremony as the springtime rivers boiled with their ecstatic, suicidal homecoming.
What music do I listen to when I’m pincering pin bones from the scarlet flesh? Why, my boxed set of Ella Fitzgerald standards… Call it a case of salmonElla. (Badabim.) Or else—given that these are chinook—something from South Pacific such as Salmon Chanted Evening. (Badaboom.) And, obviously, any of that southern sole as sung by Salmon Dave. Any other suggestions would be welcomed.
Sunday was a pedestrian party on Baldwin Street, three blocks north of where I live. I’ve been researching its 23 restaurants for a column later this year and finding a surprising number of good things to eat. The layers of the neighbourhood’s settlement are fascinating (documented by local activist and now historian, Pat McKendry) as is the laid-back, lefty, un-Torontonian, uncommercial vibe that hangs over those murmurous patios on a warm summer night. As part of the Sunday fête, tables were erected to publicize vegetarian organizations, Steelworkers Local 1998 (rare to see a trade union at a street party but oddly pleasing) and the University Settlement. Desperate to get into my old jeans before the summer is over, I foreswore breakfast but the inner demon led me to Kon-nichi-wa as soon as it opened for excellent, piping hot, freshly made miso soup. Then, to my astonishment and dismay, said demon ordered a spicy salmon maki roll. “Are you mad? We have salmon coming out of our shell-like ears at home and you order it here? Have we not had enough dead fish?” But the roll was good and I ate it.