Tuesday, November 2, 2010

19th-Century Breakfast Fish Balls

As I observed my husband studying on his laptop for an upcoming business trip, I sensed that what he really wanted at that moment was a conversation about 19th-century fish balls.

DD: "Check this out. How would you like fish balls for breakfast?"
DH: "How would I...what?"
DD: "Delectable codfish balls first thing in the morning."
DH: [reads ad] "OK, I don't get it. It says they're, like, flakes in a box. How do you make the balls?"
DD: "I guess you have to moisten them a little...add an egg...smoosh 'em up..."
DH: "And then do you...what?"
DD: "I guess you could boil them, like a soup. Wait, it says 'no boiling.'"
DH: "And then do I...squish them on my toast? Eww."
DD: "Fish balls and toast! That sounds good! Can you imagine messing around with all that first thing in the morning?"
DH: "Maybe it's like that Scandinavian thing that whats-his-name always talks about..."
DD: "Lutefisk. Cod jelly...but there's weren't a lot of Scandinavian immigrants in this part of Michigan. They were all up north. We did have a lot of New Englanders, and German and English immigrants..."
DH: "Well, I guess the English have their herring in a pan, or whatever that is."
DD: "Kippers? See, they have that here: 'smoked herring'."
DH: [reads] "All refuse is removed...nummy..."
DD: "No refuse! Goes with your fish balls! Maybe they fry 'em, like fritters..fish fritters! It's like those 'catfish nuggets' at Von's. I can make some tomorrow!"
DH: "Umm....."

--ad from October 20, 1896 Ypsilanti Commercial


Fritz said...

And "NO ODOR", in all caps no less, which probably means the neighbors can smell 'em.

Dusty D said...

Yep. I do like smoked fish and all, but I think I'd be less enthusiastic on contemplating reconstituted fish balls first thing in the morning.