Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Whole Red Snapper Veracruz (Page 316)


  • Date: Monday, July 7, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-
This recipe was part of the all-seafood-all-the-time plan for the summer. In general I have had fairly positive feelings about the whole fish recipes in The Book, but this one I wasn't thrilled with. My fundamental complaint was that it was bland. The tomato sauce had lots of delicious, flavorful things in it: olives, capers, onions, garlic, pickled jalapenos, etc... Yet somehow, it just didn't come together to form something delicious and flavorful. What flavor the sauce had was also not-at-all absorbed by the fish. My other complaint is that The Book called for the fillets to be removed before serving. I have ranted before about how silly I think it is to cook the fish whole and then take the fillets off before serving. Whole fish are beautiful, and I trust my diners (in this case just Matty) to be able to figure out how to eat it. There was nothing in this dish that tasted bad, but I certainly won't be making it again. Better things can be done with a red snapper.

This recipe isn't online.

Well, I got a lot of responses concerning my friendly email invitation to Matty for what turned out to be our first date. My claim is still that I wasn't asking him out on a date -- I was just trying to be friendly since he was new in town. Matty claims I was after him. After reading the comments it seems that almost everyone agrees with him!

This actually explains a lot. In this particular case, I thought Matty seemed nice, smart, and cute, so I was not at all adverse to the romantic turn that things took. But, I have sent similar emails to men that I am not at all romantically interested in. And more than once, it seems, I have sent the wrong message. Case in point: earlier this summer I sent an email to someone who was sort of new in town inviting him to a party. A party I was holding at my special gentleman's place. I thought this was unambiguously a purely friendly invite. I just figured it might be good for him to get to know some of the people coming to the party. He couldn't make it though, and it wasn't until more than a month later that I realized that he had thought I was asking him out on a date. Whoops. I cleared that up for him as soon as I realized, but it makes me wonder how many people out there secretly think I am holding a torch for them when I thought I was just being friendly. I have actually been "dumped" four times by math guys that I wasn't pursuing. This usually happens by email, and all the emails have the same form:

Dear Teena,

I don’t want to date you.

I know you want to date me, but I don’t want to date you. I know this hurts you and I’m sorry. I am interested in you, but I don’t think we should date.

I think it’s probably not a good idea for us to date.

Best, Mathematician.

It's a weird phenomenon, these emails. On one occasion I got really angry. I wrote an email response that I later regretted. Since, I learned instead to be soft and apologetic, explaining clearly the friendly non-romantic feelings I have for the person.

After the overwhelming response to my email to Matty, I now understand that maybe my "friendly" is too "flirty" and is not to be used on the opposite sex unless I have romantic intentions. Ah, live and learn...


Jessica said...

LOL--that was a funny post! My best friend does the same thing--she's really friendly, so people are constantly thinking that she is hitting on them and she isn't. I think the "gentle letdown letters" are hysterically funny.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Teena,
I love reading your blogs, and generally speaking find your observations very perceptive. Regarding this matter, however, I feel I must disabuse you of certain notions. When trying to decipher men's thoughts, we women must reason in a more primitive fashion. Like you, I learned this the hard way. If you send friendly emails, they think you want to bang them. If you say "how are you" they think you want to bang them. If you smile, they think you want to bang them. If you exist, they think you want to bang them. This is all basically because they want to bang you.

Now most normal guys respond favorably to female flirtation. Mathematicians, however, are extremely darling, funny, sweet but weird creatures who after concluding you want to bang them (however innocuous your behavior) build whole scenarios in their heads that result in the very weird email responses you have gotten. And unlike "normal" guys, they tend to run permutations and combinations in their heads of possible female responses to their own behavior, producing very funny situations.

Having said all that, let me assure you, that your special gentleman, being male, will always live by the assumption that you liked him first, no matter what the case may have been. Its all good, however, this is just how men "express their emotion" and "show affection." Bless the poor creatures!

Ta da!

The Sensitive Gourmand said...

Oh anonymous. You are callous and inaccurate. You paint a picture with broad strokes that allow the detail of human life to fall between and remain unexamined. Not all men think like that. If Teena emailed me and invited me to a party I wouldn't take it as an expression of interest. If she emailed me and asked me to dinner I wouldn't assume that she wanted to "bang" me.

Liz C said...

Also, email is notorious for that kind of misreading since it is devoid of all the subtle cues and tone that people rely on. I'm betting if you invited the guys in person, they would get it right the first time.

@anonymous: Ha! Priceless!

Magdalen said...

The real mystery, I think, is why these bozos chose to interpret her emails one way ("Ah, she wants a date") and then figure they had to turn her down ("Poor dear, I'll have to let her down gently lest I crush her fragile ego") when all they had to do was decline the invitation that was the surface meaning of her email and take all the guesswork out of it.

Further evidence that you can be really smart in one arena and maybe not so smart in another. (Ironic I should write this just after pointing out in another context that I do not appear to be an Ivy League educated lawyer when I'm in my dog's obedience class -- I appear to be a putz who can't tell left from right. *sigh*)

Mike Hill said...

I also found it shocking that you got these e-mails, Teena. As a guy (albeit one with slightly different tastes than said recipients), I would be elated if an attractive, smart person e-mailed me wanting to "hang-out" (=, yes, "bang me"). I'd forward the e-mail to all of my friends to show them how cool I am, and then maybe get a T-shirt made of it.

I'll bet it's because The Rules told them not to appear too easy. When we people learn that easy people have more fun??

vero said...

This explains a lot. I thought you were after me as well!

I'd like to take this opportunity to send a shout out to Mike Hill.

Teena said...

You guys are too funny!

Anon: Hysterical!

Liz: Yeah, I agree -- email is definitely part of the problem.

Vero: Well obviously I was after you! ;)