The Fish Pie That Wasn’t

Immediately after my half-hour workout during a late November evening, I step into the kitchen to start prepping for the Golden Hour Fish Pie, my next endo meal from the endometriosis diet book I had purchased about a month before. The onions, leeks, celery and cauliflower are already diced and chopped. The carrots are boiling on the stove. The garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, parsley and tarragon are already measured and separated in small bowls. And although the recipe calls for one pound of skinless cod filets, I try to make do with the cod steak with bone I had accidentally purchased. No big deal.

I remove the steak from the packaging and leave the packaging on the counter, placing the steak on a white cutting board. As I begin to cut through it, my eye happens to fall on something left in the package. It looks like a broken piece of cooked angel hair pasta—a very small, very thin curly piece. Probably a small piece from the cod itself that manages to break itself away from the fish. I don’t pay any mind to it. I resume the cutting of the cod steak. In my mind, I tell myself that next time, I will not make the mistake of buying the wrong kind of fish because I’m growing tired of cutting. As I check on the carrots that are boiling on the stove, I happen to glance over at the packaging yet again. The small string of cooked angel hair pasta has moved. How? I move my eyes closer to it. Yoooo!!!! It’s still moving!!!! 😨

That’s not some piece of the fish left over…it’s a damn worm!!!! 😖 My stomach turns; I’m suddenly really grossed out. Should I throw the fish away? No! I just bought it. It’s not like it’s been sitting in my fridge creating nasty worms! Besides, it’s only one little worm and I have already started preparing the meal. The fish will be cooked, so won’t all of the germs from the worm be killed in the hot oven? Yes, I do admit that I immediately make that decision to use the cod anyway. Judge me how you will—I am not throwing this expensive fish in the garbage over one tiny worm! Instead, I throw the packaging away with a quickness, as if that will erase the image of the moving worm from my mind. After rigorously cleaning off the counter in disgust, I continue the food preparation in my stubborn determination to see this endo meal through.

At this point, I carefully inspect the cod steak, making sure there are no other critters hiding in its crevices. After I am satisfied with the results of my inspection, I resume to cutting the steak until it’s all in pieces. I pour the onions, leeks and celery into the hot pan and sauté them for five minutes. Just as I’m about to transfer the cod steak into the pan, I detect something else. Against the white cutting board, it is very apparent that I am not just imagining things.  Another worm?! REALLY?? WHY?? HOW?? Ugh! 🤢 🤮This, I cannot ignore! What do I do? I’ve already started the meal and I need the fish to complete it! I need help with this! I call in my reinforcement: Dan.

He steps into the kitchen, his eyes studying the chopped-up fish. I show him my discovery. He extends his arm out and pushes me away, as if protecting me from any harm this tiny little worm could cause. He takes the cutting board, opens the lid to the trash can and without saying a word, dumps all of the fish into the can! Okay! I guess that solves that problem. As Dan removes the trash bag to throw it away in the building’s trash compactor, I am left with a sense of humorous defeat and a ridiculous notion that something mysterious is out to sabotage my healthy diet attempt. Again, I desperately disinfect my food prep area– as well as the cutting board– in an effort to clean away the memory of what has just happened before I continue. I shake off my disappointment in my realization that I still need to finish this meal with something.

I search the refrigerator for something to replace the fish with. Look, it’s called Golden Hour Fish Pie but all that I have left that’s not frozen is some ground chicken. It’ll have to do! I take the raw ground chicken and pour it onto the sautéed vegetables. I finish following the complex recipe (complete with using a food processor to create a sauce with the broth formed from the sautéed mixture and chicken) until I am able to pour the entire concoction into a baking dish, topping it off with the boiled carrots that are now all mashed up. Not having a clue what the combination will taste like because I have never made such a pie, I hope for the best as I place the baking dish into the oven.

Twenty five minutes later, the sweet aroma coming from the kitchen fills the apartment. I am so curious about how this dish has turned out. I remove it from the oven when it is time and marvel at how bright the mashed carrots are on top of the pie mixture. I dig into it with a large serving spoon and pour a serving for Dan and myself on separate plates. What I bite into is a surprisingly delicious mixture of spices, vegetables and ground chicken. As there are several different ingredients in this medley, I cannot tell which ingredient is the dominant flavor. And being someone who is not yet a master at writing about the taste of savory foods, I’m afraid my description of this meal is rather lacking. But both Dan and I are pleasantly surprised at the successful outcome of the last minute replacement of a major ingredient. Not exactly sure what this pie is supposed to taste like with fish but at this point, I really don’t care. My dinner is not ruined! Golden Hour Fish Chicken Pie: another outstanding endo dish! 😋🤤

Published by Cathy Marie

Cathy has published her poetry with The National Library of Poetry, and has won awards for her short stories. She is currently working on a novel where she uses her own personal experience with depression to develop the inner conflict for her main character, a high-powered magazine executive who has trouble sustaining relationships due to family trauma and chronic depression.

2 thoughts on “The Fish Pie That Wasn’t

  1. Hahaha! Great story! Thank goodness for Mr. Tighe’s quick and automatic action to take care of the matter!
    Curious to know what the dish will taste like when you finally make it with the right ingredients! Please let us know- inquiring minds want to know! 😉


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