View Full Version : Summer Doldrums Contest

Dave Lowry
30th August 2000, 13:23
Ms. Lo, Mr. Hartman, et. alia:
E-budo wallows in a late summer doldrum more listless, moribund, and dull than the current state of Stevie Seagalís theatrical career.
I propose to liven the campus with a spot of sport. Knowing well that you and others of this congregation respond to conversations about food with the fervor of a great white cruising through a school of propeller-Cuisinart-ed bluefins, let me address a contest question on that subject that should keep you occupied for a while.

Administrator Lindsey has graciously consented to donating a piece from his art collection as the prize, one of the rare compositions rendered by Miyamoto Musashi on black velvet. I believe itís a scene of tanuki playing poker; no matter. It isnít the prize but the joy of the challenge, right?

Okay, hereís the question: In Osaka, when eels are cleaned at the fish market, theyíre eviscerated with an initiatory ventral slice. In Tokyo, the cut always precipitates from the dorsal side. Who can tell me why?

Hands on your buzzers...

30th August 2000, 14:00

Don't you think most of the folks who frequent this area would rather have the eel than the black velvet painting? :smilejapa

Earl Hartman
30th August 2000, 16:59

I have no idea, since eels aren't kosher, so I don't eat them (I know, I know, I am sure they're very delicious and I don't know what I'm missing, etc., etc.)

However, I do remember seeing eels killed in the following fashion:

The eeler (or whatever he is called) takes a live eel out of the tank, and, with a deft stab, nails it to the board with a spike through the head. With a flick of the knife, he frees a flap of skin from around the back of the head, and, with a single motion, peels the skin away from the thrashing eel in one complete piece.

Where the ventral/dorsal slice comes in this process I have no idea.


Earl Hartman
30th August 2000, 19:27

Actually, I have a question: how would it be possible to eviscerate an eel with an incision from the dorsal side? Aren't all the guts on the other side of the body? Or do they just slice it in half lengthwise and clean it afterwards?

Was this a trick question? Of course, this could be just another one of those Kansai-vs.-Kanto rivalry things. "Oh, so those natto eaters up in Edo cut from the dorsal side, huh? Well, we'll show them! We'll do it from the other side! That way no one will mistake us for those akadashi drinking sons of bithces!"

Anyway, whatever.


Dave Lowry
8th September 2000, 02:15
Is Mr. Hartman the only one willing to risk even a guess on this one?
You budo bunnies should be ashamed, especially you foodie tsu-jin.
Okay, here's the answer:
In Osaka, they cleaned eels the easiest way, by slicing them from the belly side. But in Tokyo, back when it was Edo, there were always a lot of samurai around. Samurai who would have found it discomfiting to have seen fishmongers cutting into the bellies of eels. Looked too much like you know what. So out of respect/fear of the samurai class, Edo fishmongers cleaned eels by cutting into their dorsal sides first. They still do it that way.
I know; the question would be why just eels and why not all fishes? The answer is that eels were almost always killed and cleaned in front of the customer because they spoil much faster than other seafood. So it would have been more obvious.

Here's a chance to redeem yourself and win that original Musashi on black velvet, with Question #2:

Place in the correct chronological order, the following:

Here's a hint: the shocho is tasty, but it can kill ya.

10th September 2000, 05:02
Hello Mr Lowry and friends,

I believe they are eviscerated on the dorsal side in Tokyo because of the association with seppuku (hara kiri) when cutting on the ventral side.

Matthew Ash

Wichita, Kansas