words

Mar 5th, 2010

I am writing tonight even as late as it is to capture a discussion at dinner tonight before I forget.  It was the first night of our March Dinner Show menu. We had a full house with three birthday guests and one anniversary couple in to celebrate. Being a new menu I guess I am a little edgy about the execution. We have been testing the recipes for a couple weeks but until the first night it really doesn’t seem to matter. It’s opening night and it has to go off without a hick up. This evening was going very well until I described the  fish I was about to cook up as Rockfish, or aka, snapper. I was so focused I barely notice when one of the birthday guests shyly raised her hand and said, “I don’t mean to be disputatious, but I believe Rock fish is striped bass and not snapper.”  She said she is quite sure they are different and she should know being from Maryland where Chesapeake Bay Rockfish is the state fish. I explained that the West coast species is more like snapper and of course that was the conversation I had had with my fish perveyor who described the Pacific Rockfish species to a tee and said we also call it snapper out here. When I got home, did a google search and found we are both right because we were dealing with a varied species all around. The Maryland species is definitely different, and depending on origin, Rockfish come with different flavor profiles. As much Rockfish as I cooked in Maryland when I was there, you think I would be more confident. The guest making the point was really anything but disputatious. She was persistent and yet ate my fish offering with gusto. She said it was her favorite course of the night. Further she said it wasn’t a big deal, and told us it was kind of like the time she told her husband that dinner was spaghetti with red sauce. When he came to the table the spaghetti was spaghetti squash and he really had a taste for the pasta kind. In other words, her point of reference was Maryland rockfish and that is what she expected when the name rockfish was use. It all shook out just fine with laughter all around and we had a great time with the word “disputatious” the rest of the evening.   “dis put ta’ tion,” noun- the act of disputing or debating; verbal controversy; discussion or debate.