Friday, 23 January 2009

Seamus and the Men who like to say Yaaaar...

Salmon was a staple on our menu for years. It was always on in some form or other from smoked to baked to pan fried to being covered in lemon butter sauce to resting [shudder] on a bed of something. But that all changed about four menus ago when it was dropped. It was a shocking day, some people openly wept some danced with delight. I've always been rather ambivalent towards it. It's a bit of a meh fish for me.

our fish man Seamus McNobeard yaaaar...

But it's back for a while and in it's current incarnation it is, and this isn't a word I use very often unless I am complimenting Little Miss Manuel, divine. Seriously. That's why it's a pricey number, well that and the fact that it's wild salmon and not that stuffed-in-a-cage-without-room-to-roam-or-leap type that so permeates menus everywhere.

Our salmon is caught by a fisherman called Seamus McNobeard of the Donegal McNobeards, not to be confused with the Kerry McNobeards who are a rum lot of door to door mitten and scarves salesmen. "Ach come on now Missus will ye nat be buying me mittens, ach me oul mammy made them herself, from her sickbed she did. Ach come on now Missus der loverly mittens."

Seamus McNobeard, or Frank as he is called by his crew due to his fondness for the American rock trio ZZ Top, captains the good ship Fandango. A jaunty but sturdy trawler that is painted in the same colours as ZZ Top's famous Eliminator car. Frank and his crew of nare-do-wells, runaways, and men you have a fondness for saying, "Yaaaar" set sail from the village of Killybegs on a regular basis in search of everything from shrimp and salmon and herring and mackerel.

Trawler men such as Frank and his crew of misfits endure rough seas, hard weather, and sleepless nights to get their catches. They put out in all weathers, hehehehe put out, and can work for 24 hours straight without sleep just to get the job done. Working on a fishing boat is regarded as one of the world's most dangerous jobs with only loggers and the people who have to give Pete Doherty his monthly wash and scrape down coming anywhere near close to the same level of mortal danger. Think about that the next time you scoff at your mothers fish fingers and beans combo.

Even Frank himself lost a son to the sea, well it was his trusty spaniel who accompanied him on his voyages but he loved him like a son. Frank never married. "I'm married to sea you see. Oh I do like to be beside the sea you see and the fair handed maidens do not, you see, like to be beside the sea. Plus I smell like the inside of a catfish's arse on a hot day" said Frank recently in an article for "Big Nets Monthly" magazine. The premier magazine for lone trawler men. Frank was The Catch of the month for December.

I was thinking about Frank and the men who like to "Yaaaar" one night last week. It was a dark and stormy January night and not just outside. My guts were blustery and boisterous and blowing a gale all of their own. Thankfully it wasn't pishing down. I was loitering with intent behind my favourite velvet curtain and enjoying it's soothing ways. I was also pretending to be the ghostly child that may or may not have been in Three Men and a Baby. This made me chortle and took my mind off the shit storm that was brewing behind my apron.

Nice mental images there folks eh....

I had just served table 8 his wild salmon and crushed potatoes with fine beans and simple lemon butter which had been playfully drizzled over it with love and care. Or so I am lead to believe by the cooker jockeys in the kitchen. Whatever! But no matter how it was put on it did look delightful, delightful and delish. The gentleman I served it looked as excited as I was about his meal.

"Superb", blustered the lucky chap as I presented him with his meal. I was smiling like an honour student giving his parents his latest school report card. It was that good. So there I was standing behind my velvet comfort curtain watching him eating his salmon. He drank some wine, a pleasingly bone dry Chablis, fixed his napkin, lifted his fork, and then reaching across the table lifted his wife's dainty jug of pepper sauce and poured it over his salmon.

The absolute fucking waster. What care he of Frank and his crew of Yaaaar men? Or of the journey a salmon has to make from spawning grounds to the fish markets of Killybegs? Or of the chefs in the kitchen who lovingly and with the deftness of touch of a brain surgeon spooned the lemon butter sauce over his fish? What care he? He cares not a jot.

I did a little sick in my mouth and wept a little. What else was there to do? Guests eh? Break your heart they do. Or cover it in pepper sauce. Same difference I suppose.

31 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

ninetyninewords said...

Pepper sauce even kills a steak. It has no business in ANY dish. Did you offer to get him more for his dessert?

dave said...

Can't comment on the salmon cos I'm not too fond of it. Might have been better if you'd served him fish fingers with RED sauce ha ha!

But I also put out in all weathers, and go for 24hours without sleep just to get the job done!

Manuel said...

99 words: dude I was close to offering him outside.....it's getting embarrassing now...I have a great post in mind too....

dave: lisburn men eh....marvels they are...marvels

Michelle said...

Like A1 steak sauce (or ketchup, God forbid) on a good steak...it's an abomination! Every time I see a nice cut get slathered in any kind of sauce, I weep.

Manuel said...

michelle: like bad puppies they need their noses rubbed in it.....

B said...

oh fancy foods and unfancy foods arrggghh


...Is it bad that I'm even below the unfancy stuff.

Medbh said...

The heathen!
Sauce was invented to hide the taste of sub-par vittles, not to drown a nice piece of fish.

I generally avoid all sauces unless it's the blood orange reduction I do from time to time.

Manuel said...

b: you need a complete restaurducation...

medbh: blood orange reduction eh.....sounds superb...

Niall said...

sweet jesus, im surprised he didnt ask for baked beans. Some people are uncultured and some plain stupid.

I hope you bitch slapped him out the door.

Old Knudsen said...

Working on a fishing boat is regarded as one of the world's most dangerous jobs

Done done and done! and worse of all it was larne. We used to catch Salmon too, I like my salmon poached! hahahahahaha.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

That is similar to the ketchup one a couple of months ago I think. You have some strange eaters in your parts.

Anonymous said...

Cracks me up reading ths post. as an Aussie, the cynicism, sarcasm and general taking of the piss sits so well. Always amazed at how stupid &/or snobbish people get when they go out and have to deal with....serving type people! Probably never considered actng like normal. Cheers.
Graeme

TheChrisD said...

Pepper sauce on salom...? While on the one hand it sounds disgusting, the other wants to try it out just to see...

Manuel said...

niall: no, worse......I froze him out....

old k: you're so weird sometimes.....what is larne?

steve: strange? no, strange would be okay, this lot go beyond strange....

anonymous: cheers Graeme....

the chris d: no no no no.....sake.....

NextSeatOver said...

Eeewwwwww! sorry but my stomach has just turned at the thought of lovely salmon doused in pepper sauce!

I hope you barred them on the grounds of food vandalism

sheepworrier said...

He's probably used to the lidl 'salmon fillets' 15 for £2 and wifey obviously cooks the life out've them, thus the need for some sort've flavour. The poor fella is just a creature of habit.

Conan Drumm said...

Have you ever been in Killybegs?




That is all.

The Customer said...

Jaysus, get a fucking life, can't the poor man eat his food whatever way he wants without some snobby waiter who is after all a jumped up servant rushing to criticise? Get over yourself pal, you depend on this man for your wages.

The Cousin said...

Firstly, i'll hold your note-pad and pen while you deal with him above.

Secondly, i'll bet he was a red-neck, red-necks cover everything with pepper sauce and think its fucking nouveaux cuisine.

Babycakes said...

Salmon and pepper sauce? Sounds like a quarter-final losing dish on Masterchef.

Manuel said...

The customer: you are of course right, he can eat whatever the hell he wants. Of course I also have the right to be offended by his choice and slag him off for it, even if I am just a" jumped up servant!"

You have a good day now....

Kelly said...

Oh dear.

sheepworrier said...

*tries to cut tension with knife, reaches for chainsaw*

English Mum said...

Gah. Reminds me of those bloody abominations in little shrink-wrapped parcels in the freezer section.

I like beards, though. Strange but true :)

Oh and congrats on hogging half the nomination categories, ye big greedy pants xx

Stephan said...

Ewwwwwww...that's right up there with the troglodite who asks for ketchup with his New York strip!

Boxer said...

I'd love to try that salmon. We're lucky to get Alaska Salmon here in the Pacific Northwest, although farm raised is what you find at most places nowadays(and you can't pour enough sauce on that as far as I'm concerned.)

Great story.

silverstar98121 said...

I have to agree with Boxer, if it's not wild, it's not worth eating. Sadly, the reason it was probably dropped from the menus is that wild salmon is getting rarer.
As Boxer said, we wait with anticipation for the Copper River or the Yukon salmon to come in, and then worship at the altar of Pieces. Mostly it just needs a little cooking over an alder fire. Nothing fancy. And not being a waiter, and having to be polite, I would probably stab the hand that reached for pepper sauce to put on salmon.

Sniffle&Cry said...

Excellent.

Hey, this food snobbery thing. Hey!

Frank "stars" in Deadliest Catch? Yes ?

Mmmmm, velvet. ( the blue that she wore )

MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

In a previous post you used a term (undeserving cretin) to describe a guest... I have since found many an opportunity to use that same verbage. Thanks! Further, the chablis should have clued you that the guy was a baboon. A sophisticated diner ALWAYS enjoys a nice sauvignon blanc with salmon.
peace...from Indiana, USA... mTw

Drew said...

No, he cares not a jot! Glad I discovered you. You are most welcome to take a look at my own waiter themed (and beyond) musings if you like.

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