I've heard how fishermen might exaggerate a bit when describing the size of the fish that got away, but there's another little fisherman-fib that is not so widely known.
When Nick was a young man in Athens he was paid by the owner of a local restaurant to go out before dawn in a little fishing boat with all the nets and rods--the trappings of a true fisherman. But he was also given frozen fish and instructed to take them out to sea, far from shore. Then he was to defrost them in the water, and bring them back--but to time it so that he was returning to the shore just after sunrise. So he would sail into harbor, with the seabirds circling overhead and the fish lying on the boat floor. And even the locals were fooled by this clever trick, not knowing that the fresh-catch-of-the-day meant freshly defrosted. He was often offered top dollar for them. But Nick had his instructions and he acted accordingly.
"No! Absolutely not," he'd say, loud enough for all to hear. "This is for So-and-so's restaurant!" which was a restaurant that would be packed with patrons because everyone knew the proprietor had his own fishing boat that went out every morning. For Nick, it was a great gig until he was called to duty during the occupation of Cyprus in 1974 and had to leave.
When I heard this story I thought that it must be an isolated case. It was back in the 1970s and it couldn't still be happening.
That was until I saw the T.V. show called Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. You may have heard of it. He travels to different areas of the world and talks about that area's cuisine.
This particular show was about Sicily--which is really Greece but they just don't know it--and Anthony Bourdain had gone with a restaurant owner/fisherman out to sea to catch the fish for that man's restaurant. Sounds nice, right? I was thinking, "Mmm. I'd like to eat at that restaurant." But then we, the viewers, see someone with boxes of frozen seafood. And that person is lowering those items into the water after having defrosted them. Then, a few feet away, the fisherman scoops up the lifeless creatures into his boat and bringing them back to shore.
Anthony Boudain expresses his horror and afterwards sadness at knowing the reality of the fresh fish he'd been eating. Here's the clip if you want to watch--> It's called "The Dead Sea."
I have to say, I agree with Anthony Bourdain. This is something I think I'd rather not have known. And now you know.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed."
― Friedrich Nietzsche
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