Eels Were Not My Favorite

This was my column in yesterday’s GoLocalProv. The beginning …

I’m not sure why I think of eels at Christmas.  I guess because they were served with the Christmas Eve dinner. My family loved them; some considering the dish a delicacy.  My lack of enthusiasm probably started when I was a kid at our rented home on the Narragansett, RI shore. My uncle took me to the dock to see the fisherman catching eels one night. At eight years old, I was afraid of the dark, so perhaps the stage was set.

As they pulled the serpentine eels out of the water, I watched the slimy snakes squirm, opening and closing their mouths. They were fish but had imperceptible gills, no scales, and no noticeable (to me in the dark) fins except for some kind of ribbon thing along their back.

The next time I saw them was when that same uncle’s mother was making a fish sauce. Perking on her stove was a red gravy and sticking out were the antennas of squid flailing amid hunks of dark mounds. “I’m cooking squid and the darker things are anguilla, eels.”  Even in the gravy, they looked mysterious.

And then, somewhere along my educational way, I was told of the uncorroborated theory of spontaneous generation; the eel being its example. Aristotle believed that they were sexless and considered them natural originators. Our professor told us that the eels Aristotle caught were just sexually immature.

Please click on the link below to read the entire column. Thank you.

Eels were not my favorite

© 2018

By | 2018-12-17T15:34:02+00:00 December 18th, 2018|GoLocalProv, Stories of the 1940's and 1950's|5 Comments


  1. Peter Voccio JR. December 18, 2018 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    So, it’s the Professor or Aristotle, we believe. hmmmm Well, being I don’t like eels, I will go with Aristotle. Oh, the dark always scared me. Many times going home in the dark after leaving my friends, I would walk fast, whistle, then run like hell.

    • Ed December 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      We share quite a bit, Peter.
      Actually, the theory of spontaneous generation was based partly on the fact that the eels “popped up” in The Sargasso Sea,and for centuries, no one understood how. Thus spontaneous.
      Boxing note: Stanton’s Undefeated a best seller, considered one of the best books of the year.

  2. Peter Voccio JR. December 18, 2018 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    WOW! Nice to hear. A very nice read!

  3. Gino Pagnani December 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    A few days before Christmas Eve, my grandfather would greet me as I came home from school and said there was a surprise for me. In the bathtub were 2 or 3 live eels swimming around.
    I played with them for a day before they found their way to my plate!

    • Ed December 25, 2018 at 12:47 am - Reply

      You and your grandfather are real heroes, Gino. Capitone.
      Merry Christmas

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