July 13, 2007

Fear and Loathing in the Realm of Seafood-Lovers

by Aya Ogawa

WARNING: This post is not for the squeamish, overly sensitive, or the faint of heart. Skip this post if discussion of bodily functions offends you deeply. I’m serious!!!

I’ve mulled over in my mind, for almost a month, whether to blog about this or not. I wasn’t sure this was for Umamimart readers. Then TM forwarded me this link yesterday. Check out that fish.

It looks delicious right? And it’s being served at a fancy restaurant. But I was convinced: food-lovers need to be educated about the fish escolar!!!!

I have a deep appreciation for food. I am not super-picky nor super-gourmet, but I do get depressed if I am not eating good delicious food consistently. I am not an amazing cook, but I enjoy trying out new things, planning meals, and making food for friends and loved ones. It must have been a Wednesday night, in June. It was already hot in the city. I planned to make me and TM a fabulous fish dinner. I went to the market at Grand Central, and looked at their fish selection. I was hoping for sea bass, honestly, but it was so darned expensive. Then this caught my eye. Looks good, right?

The laminated article taped onto the display case is from New York Magazine, calling Escolar the “It” fish. I asked the guy how I should prepare escolar. “It is a very fatty fish, so you have to make sure you cook it all the way through,” he said, “I would broil it or bake it.” Sounded good to me, I bought two gorgeous fillets. When I got home, I got on the interwebs, to see if I could find a particularly appealing recipe. I googled escolar, and. to my great surprise, instead of pulling up a jillion recipes, I was faced with this, this and this:

“Escolar should not be offered on any restaurant menu. “Caution” is hardly the operative word. A friend and I each ate escolar at an upscale restaurant in New Jersey. The fish had been prepared superbly in modest portions and was delicious. Within twelve hours, my friend and I each experienced violent diarrhea. The unpleasantness was truly miserable. Following that initial experience, I explored various postings and other internet alerts. Trust me. This fish is vastly worse than ex-lax or castor oil. If you enjoy violent diarrhea, by all means, go out and order it.That was a comment posted by an anonymous person on a fish blog.”

OK so what to do? Here I was, planning to make a scrumptious dinner for my sweetheart, only to discover that the fish I’d purchased is known as the ex-lax diarrhea fish?! WTF?! What is a considerate person to do? I weighed my options. I could just toss this fish, and go out to get some pasta or something. But come on! How bad could this really be? I bought it at Grand Central Market, for crying out loud! And the chefs in the NY Mag article raved about it! And anyway, even if we did react to it, TM and I both have had diarrhea before — in fact we had both survived a pretty nasty bout of food poisoning together, and not that I’d want to relive that experience, but we are tough people, we could handle it! I ignored the warnings on the interweb and got to work.

It was a very simple preparation I settled on, finally — lots of lemon, salt/pepper and wrap the fish in foil, broil in the toaster oven for about 7 minutes per side. I forget what exactly I served with it — but when TM came home, we sat down for a DELICIOUS experience. The escolar was thick, moist, rich, so buttery. It tasted even better (fattier) than sea bass. It was cooked just right, and the lemon worked great. I tried to tell TM about what I’d read on-line, and my resulting trepidation about the fish, but he was so blown away by the wonderful flavor, I didn’t feel like ruining our lovely dinner with internet rumors.

The next day we got up and went to work. By the late morning, I was kind of in a panic. Along with my morning movement, there had a disturbing amount of ORANGE OIL (someone described it as pizza oil, which is exactly what it looks like) floating in the toilet bowl. I didn’t have any cramps, nor any diarrhea. But this oil was really frightening, and plus I noticed it was all over my underwear! Horrified, I got back to my cubicle and chatted TM, sending him this link:

10:20 AM me: have you had orange oil in your poo? TM:no, i had a perfectly fine poo thank you very much


3:42 PMme: this is crazy orange oil is coming out of my butt TM: for real??? oy that is not a selling point for that fish it tasted great though! me: i know! very richTM: OMG lemme go poop and see what comes out me: yeah take a close look3:43 PM seriously!3:46 PM TM: WHOA WHOA orange oil me: what TM: coming out of ass me: do you have it??? OMG OMG OMG TM: WTF LEAKAGE me: I KNOW<> TM: FUCK HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON??? me: OMG TM: HEEEELP3:47 PM me: the blogs were right, dude! fucked up, man
3:49 PM TM: what/ thefuck.3:50 PM TM: they should put a sign up at the fish monger3:51 PM “WARNING: MAY CAUSE ORANGE OIL TO SHOOT OUT OF ASS” me: HAHAHA For these reasons, escolar has been banned from consumption in Japan since 1977, as the Japanese government considers it toxic.3:52 PM TM: but that’s not necessarily true me: that it’s toxic? TM: wait so it’s a laxitive? me: well TM: it has “purgative” qualities if taken in small quantities purgative as in “violent diarrhea will ensue”3:59 PM me: Keriorrhoea, as opposed to diarrhoea, does not cause loss of body fluid and is therefore not life threatening. Not all people are affected by the wax ester. However, if it does, it causes significant discomfort ranging from stomach cramps to rapid loose bowel movements, with onset 30 minutes to 36 hours after consumption. Recovery is expected within 24 to 48 hours. do you have diarrhea? TM: great no4:00 PM just orange oil leakage me: this is what scared me when i was looking up recipes at home last night yeah me too it’s pretty disturbing TM: freaky me:
must expel orange oil


25 minutes

4:27 PM TM: i’m leaking!!!4:28 PM me: oh geez use a butt plug4:29 PM i was leaking this morning TM: i’ve never needed one until now! i think it’s showing through my pants! me: oh no, really?
4:30 PM TM: embarassing!4:31 PM me: that’s terrible, I’m sorry!!!!!!!!! :( (>_<)


16 minutes

5:46 PM TM:omg i just farted orange5:49 PM me: OH GOD5:50 PM i hope you have a tissue or something in your buttcrack


Escolar, the “IT” fish indeed. More like the “Sh*t” fish, if you ask me… anyways… You get the picture. Perhaps too vividly. TM was clear after a day, but I suffered through for another 2 days before I could relax about staining my underwear. And as much of a hedonist as I am, even the delectable flavor and texture of escolar are not reason enough for me to ever risk living through that experience again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

15 Comments

  • Mel
    Posted July 13, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    This is not cool at all but I could not stop laughing at this! I actually have to admit that I kind of overheard you talking to dawn in her cube several weeks ago (because i have ears like a nocturnal animal…i wasn’t eavesdropping, i swear!) and I heard something about the orange oil in a hushed voice and i had a passing interest in the topic…now I’m really glad I got the entire story…fascinating! lesson to us all…..

  • kayoko
    Posted July 13, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    wait, why didn’t i ever hear about this orange butt goo??? this is effing CRAZZY!!!! OMGOMGOMG! god i’m so sorry… well, i’m glad that you guys were able to go through this together. i’m sure it has only strengthened the relationship.

    FIGGIN CRAZY! definitely think this is an important topic. maybe we need to tag as POOtalk.

  • Yamahomo
    Posted July 16, 2007 at 9:13 am

    I must try this fish, and experience it myself. WTF? Orange oil leaking out of ass? Is it just orange in color or smell like orange as well? Being a poo talk lover, i must ask..

  • Yamahomo
    Posted July 16, 2007 at 9:30 am

    OMG, WTF, OMG OMG OMG WTF! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escolar

  • ayagwa
    Posted July 16, 2007 at 11:36 am

    To Yamahomo: No, the amazing thing was, the orange oil was like a totally separate element, completely separated from the poo. It had its own weird oily odor, but NOT a poo-like odor (nor and orange-like odor). Actually this is one of the things TM and I marveled at, actually, how amazing our bodies are at doing its job (i.e. digesting, evacuating). If you are seriously considering eating this, you should plan to stay at home for 2 days following, or wear a maxi pad. no joke.

  • tmonkey
    Posted July 16, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Yeah, it was like, your digestive system can convert this amazing (tasting) oily flesh into this totally amazing orange mineral oil that you can bottle and sell to unwitting customers!

    It’s like a chemistry experiment in yr bowelz!

  • Maha Chehlaoui
    Posted July 17, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    woah. holy laughfest.
    hmm. i wonder what would happen if you cooked this on the foreman grill?

  • nofromage
    Posted July 17, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    I told my cooking club and restaurant club friends about your special fish. They were as disgusted as I was. Thanks for sharing! I hope your butt feels better now…

    :P

  • kayoko
    Posted July 21, 2007 at 9:14 am

    i had escolar last night at this italian joint in the west village- went to a nice dinner where my friend knew the chef so he was just bringing us course after course. the entree was escolar. when the waiter described what it was, i froze– i was mortified. even worse, we couldn’t NOT eat it, since the chef was making this dinner especially for us.

    the escolar was cooked really thoroughly, and i have to say that i was so terrified with each bite, i couldn’t enjoy any of it. the topic of conversation of course was this post. nothing like pootalk at the dinner table.

    i’m happy to report that my movement today is normal so far and no orange poo goo for me. YET.

  • initials_bb
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 1:31 am

    OMGoddess – I just got back to SF tonite from a lovely 4 day NYC excursion… this past friday went to dinner with a friend at super high scale restaurant atop big building with view of Empire State building where we decided to split a lobster thermador plate….needless to say, we both had orangy oily poops the next day…she got better, but i am on the 48 hour plan apparently! seriously crazy shooting orange oil out of your butt every time you think you have a little wind to pass….could this be the New Yawk oily fish epidemic of 2007????

  • Anonymous
    Posted July 29, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    This is awesome. I had escolar at Boulevard a couple of weeks ago and did not have the orange ass experience…but good lord this was hilarious.

  • jefg
    Posted October 26, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Have eaten Escolar probably hree times in the last six months. In fact, we found it so good we go out of our way to buy it. Tonight, having 12 ounces of it to cook up, I go online looking for a recipe for it, and wallah! Now I don’t know whether (1) to make it, (2), throw it away and start over, (3) warn my spouse, or (4) simply buy more toilet paper. Oh well, we’ve had it before without ill effect (I think I would have noticed), so I’ll cook it up and shaddup. Besides , tomorrows a weekend and we have no have no plans.

  • Anonymous
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 9:24 am

    You guys are freaked out about nothing. You might have had escolar in sushi restaurants, which sell it under a false name “super white tuna”. Just enjoy it in moderation–no more than 3 oz or so at a time.
    Escolar is an amazing tasting fish, thanks to its favorite food: tropical shellfish. It’s versatile and be eaten raw or cooked. Its firm flesh and high oil content makes it very tolerant to various cooking methods. Stop freaking–and you chefs who work with this fish–do your homework so that you’re not ignorant about the food you serve.

  • kayce.
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    i know i am wrong for saying this, but this was an awesome post, LOL. and thanks for the warning… i am surprised chef e serves this, considering what a sticklar he usu is. :)

  • Paystyle
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I think the reason why the oil comes out is b/c our bodies can’t break down the fats to be absorbed in our bodies, and instead it passes through. In order for fat to be absorbed, the molecules must be chemically broken down.

    The escolar essentially accomplishes with its fat what the diet pill Alli accomplishes, which is to prevent the breakdown of fats, thereby enabling the body to pass it through, thus lose weight. So if the escolar really does work like the Alli pills, then you’re basically eating a fatty fish w/o absorbing the fat!

    That’s quite a benefit if you ask me, so long as you don’t fart, or at least tightly clench your cheecks when you do (which incidentally makes for a louder sound!).

One Trackback

  • By Looking Back on 10 Years of the Umami Mart Blog on February 27, 2017 at 11:01 am

    […] pure FUN. We were a tight-knit group of 20-somethings, spanning continents, sharing stories about diarrhea-inducing fish, Faggy Foods, Barbie Doll cake recipes, subpar visits to the Maid Cafe, and much, much […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*