Sunday, December 24, 2006

Desperate Poles in UK eat fish heads for Christmas!

No, they don’t actually. But the Wall Street Journal thinks they do in the Beatroot’s nomination for the Most Stupidest Article 2006.

Yup, Poles eat carp, not turkey, for Christmas dinner. And Christmas dinner is not on Christmas Day but on Christmas Eve.

All very confusing. It’s certainly got the angling correspondent for the WSJ, Peter Fritch, in a flap. Reporting from Dorking, Surrey, in southern England he writes:

‘…the fish has great value to hungry Polish fishermen [in the UK] armed with nets, wet suits and even the occasional spear gun.


Unlike Britons, to whom carp are inedible bottom feeders fit only for sport, Poles and other Eastern Europeans eat them as a matter of culinary tradition. And many of the half million Poles who have streamed into Britain in recent years love to serve them on Christmas Eve -- starting with a nice fish head soup.’


Fish head what? Who told Fritch that? On Christmas Eve Poles usually have either beetroot (of course) or mushroom soup. Still, what’s a few facts when you are on a mission.

And note the reference to ‘hungry Poles’…those eastern European desperados…

Poles – Fritch goes on, and on - deprived of the familiar piscine delicacy in Britain are apparently lining the UK’s river banks angling for carp. And this, according to the Wall Street Journal, is a recipe for... culture clash [?].

‘The culture clash [I warned you] threatens to escalate as Britain's river banks become increasingly crowded. In many places the Poles' heavy fishing artillery isn't welcome. "It's a sore point with local anglers when they see (Poles) walking the banks with spear guns and nets [!] ," says Peter Arnold, proprietor of Pro-Angling, a bait and tackle store north of London.’

And Poles are so desperate to get their hands on the slippery beasts that they will poach them from private property!

‘Tony Pearson, owner of several fisheries in county Essex, says he has caught people stealing carp. He has taken the radical step of banning all Eastern Europeans from his lakes.’

The article – read the whole gory lot here – is a sign of the times; when the humble Polish Christmas carp can be an excuse for even a British fishing correspondent [!] to get in some reference to the problems caused by the immigration apocalypse heading the UK’s way.

Personally I have the opposite problem: trying to get my hands on a decent turkey. But then, that's a different kettle of fish...

Merry Christmas everybody from the beatroot.

More ?
Interestingly, Mr. Rago, an assistant editorial features editor for the Wall Street Journal wrote an article this week called The Blog Mob : written by fools to be read by imbeciles. about how all us bloggers are a bunch of half-wits and our readers not that much better.

Well, us bloggers may be fools, Mr Rago, but on the evidence of the above is the WSJ any better?

40 comments:

Chris Borowski said...

You know, I read this article on the plane a couple days ago and didn't give it much thought. I admit I even found it quite amusing. But I do hope that the Journal, usually quite reliable, will follow up with a recipe for the fish head soup. I doubt it's better than my mom's beetroot (or should it be 'beatroot') soup with dumplings.

I guess on a wider level the article points to the growing fascination by British journalists with the culture clash between the proper Brits and less-than-proper Poles. Another weird minority to deal with...

Michael Farris said...

Not to mention that many Polish people aren't fond of carp either.

The old practice of keeping a carp in the bathtub for a few days and feeding it bread (apart from entertainment value) is meant to clean out the fish's system a little because otherwise they taste like fried mud (they are bottom feeders).

The online version of the Indpendent had this helpful mis-information:

"On Christmas Eve, bees' wax is poured on water so that fortunes can be told from the shapes that emerge.

Traditional decorations include Pajaki, hand-made mobiles featuring star shapes and painted egg shells. These are more prevalent than baubles and Christmas lights."

link at:
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2079357.ece

beatroot said...

Where do they get this nonsense from?

These days journos doing the ‘Polish story’ remind me of scavengers like carp, digging away at the bottom of the river, looking for a tasty morsel in amongst the shit, only to come up with…more shit!.

geez said...

Fish heads, fish heads, rolly-poly fish heads. Fish heads, fish heads, eat them up. Yum!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXY8cWYdQog

A unique tradition among Polish-Americans is that when we put our carp in the bathtub, the kids fish for it. The kid who catches it, has his wish come true for the next year.

Anonymous said...

I did Vigilia - last year (sorry if I have spelt it wrong) we did carp - it wasn't my Polski friends favourtidish - beatroot:-) yes bring it on:-)

HAPPY XMAS BEATROOT:-)

Love it myself - err beetroot that is

sonia said...

I attended a Polish wigilia once, 26 years ago. The food was so-so, but I liked the ambiance (and the 'kolendy')...

Merry Christmas, Beatroot.

mullet said...

good tidings we bring....
to you and the bling

merry merry, beatroot!

polishpenguin said...

I thought that the "wild" carp are bottom feeders and have a whisker, whereas the regular carp have no whiskers and aren't bottom feeders. Or so I heard.

Renegade Eye said...

I thought only the fish eyes were eaten.

Seasons Greetings

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Farris said...

beat,

I'm told that if you delete a comment twice, it disappears and all trace of the dirty spammer who left is gone from the thread history.

FYI only, I've never tried it.

beatroot said...

Cheers Mike. But the spam is SAD but not as bad as what has happened to Yahoo email. Dreadful.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

By the way, I hope you all had a nice Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot, I heard about problems with Polish fisherman in Britain before you posted this article. The story went that UK anglers were upset because (some) Poles were not chucking fish back once they caught them, but taking them home for dinner. So perhaps the article is not so histerical after all?
I also know a traffic cop in the UK who told me that 80% of his customers are eastern-or central- Europeans who drive like they do in their home countries. There are certainly a % of new immigrants in the UK who are giving the new Europeans a bad name.
Pete

beatroot said...

Hi Pete. You are certainly right about the driving. Every week there is a horro story in the Polissh press about it...

But sorry for being cynical about tyhe fishing story but I have just seen too many of these type of articles which a) take in isolated incident and blow it up out of all proportion, and b) simply make things up.

Anonymous said...

Look here; in my part of Poland, we DO eat on Christmas' Eve a soup made out of bits of carp. and yes, their heads. It's very tasty. Your post shows, meanwhile, that one can still get a better checked information from a newspaper (even such a rag like WSJ) than from a blog.

beatroot said...

Bullshit. The impression given in the WSJ article was that a) Poles are lining English water front gasping for carp (they are not) and that it is traditional to sit down to FISH HEAD SOUP...it might be where you live mate, but other Poles I have shown the WSJ article to have just laighed...and luaghed...and...

Anonymous said...

Other Poles? All in Warsaw, no doubt?
Nuff said.

Michael Farris said...

anonymous,

w jakim zadupiu jedzą rybne głowy? kolega ze wsi (woj. świętokrzyskie) mi mowił, ze można gotować zupę rybną (rzeczywiście z głową ale w garnku nie na talerzu) ale nie w Wigilię.

beatroot said...

So there...fishy soup there maybe, but at Christmas...?

Anonymous said...

M. Farris

Na Pomorzu. Zadupie byc moze, ale chyba nie z powodu zupy rybnej?
Tutaj np. jest przepis na wigilijna zupe z karpia:
http://www.smak.waw.pl/news.php?id=115&PHPSESSID=7b2e47ef4f1ecc9ff7d70047b1ce16da

Anonymous said...

Looks disgusting. but what I say still stands. The quote from the WSJ:

And many of the half million Poles who have streamed into Britain in recent years love to serve them on Christmas Eve -- starting with a nice fish head soup.’

Many Poles eat fish head soup for Christmas?

Don;t think so...

Anonymous said...

How many is many? Out of the half million?
10.000? 50.000?
My point is that WSJ was much closer to the truth than beatroot, who dismissed the soup idea without doing any research or checking up. Just because one or two of his favourite Poles told him so. It looks as if Mr. Rago had a point.

beatroot said...

Anon:

No…I am sorry, and with all due respect, the ‘fish head soup’ that the WSJ article is trying to portray is bullshit.

As I am sure you know this is a minority tradition here.

Do not try and pretend different.

And together with the other factual inaccuracies in the WSJ article this adds up to a piece of nonsense and contributes to the stereotyping of Poles in Britain.

If you add this piece of rubbish to all the other articles of bull that have appeared in the British press – well catalogued on this blog - then this is detrimental to the image of Poles in Britain.

My point is an anti-racist one, and if you cannot see that then, well…… derrrrrrrrr

Anonymous said...

Baetroot:

"My point is an anti-racist one, and if you cannot see that then, well…… derrrrrrrrr"

Yes, don't let the facts stand in the way of good intentions.

Aleks. said...

fish head soup? ergh, never heard of that one. Surprised the daily mail didn't print the same bullshit story.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Sorry anon. but most Poles do NOT EAT FISH HEAD SOUP FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER....do not labour this point....the WsJ article was either a wind up...or it was bullshit...I think the latter....

Anonymous said...

Have you and logic parted ways?
The WSJ article said "many Poles will eat a fish head soup". Not all, not most, but many. Now, let's say 10% of Poles eat this soup (i actually think the perecentage is much higher). 10% of 500.000 is many in everyone's book. Capite?

I did notice before that you are quite lax about checking your facts. The heart is in the right place, but your views aren't going to be taken seriously, if you keep making such goofs (30.000 killed by Pinochet, resignation by Gilowska, etc).


BTW, I don't understand this surprise about a soup cooked from fish heads. Most European cuisines have such a soup and, in fact, the heads add a flavour to the soup. Then again, what would a Brit know about food :)?

beatroot said...

Then again, what would a Brit know about food :)?

Well, indeed.

But I am sure you would agree that the article in question gives a very strange picture of Poles in the UK - this is not an isolated case: and I have documented much of that this year in this blog.

Taken leave of me senses? Never had any in the first place, mate...

Anonymous said...

I always thought WSJ is a rag, but actually this article does ring true. I know my compatriots. Have you learned the word "cwaniak" yet? There are many of them in Poland (not all, not most...)

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

Here’s another good one: Families Online Magazine says: “In Poland they eat donuts called perogies. And pickled herring is a New Year's Eve tradition they are eaten at midnight.”

Which area do you come from, btw?

And, btw, if this blog is soooo crap then why do come back so often (i.e. 57 times in one month)?

Michael Farris said...

"I don't understand this surprise about a soup cooked from fish heads. Most European cuisines have such a soup and, in fact, the heads add a flavour to the soup."

OF course, but the picture evoked by the phrase 'fish head soup' is very different from 'fish soup in which the heads are used to add flavor (and are discarded and not served on the table).

Most native speakers, reading the phrase 'fish head soup' imagine a bowl with a fish head or two bobbing around in it. The WSJ article conjures up a picture of millions of Polish families gathered around the christmas table each person digging into their own fish head. Which I'm pretty sure is nowhere a Christmas tradition in Poland.
The WSJ is part of a long western tradition of portraying central and eastern europe as a backwater filled with primitive people with disgusting habits (also see: Borat)

beatroot said...

Exactly Mike...you see Anon, I am not saying anything very controversial here...and I do think it is one of my humble aims with this blog to not cough up the usual stereotype bullshit that I see regularly in the UK press....

Chuck said...

Over easy with mustard, please.

Anonymous said...

nie wiem jak pierdnac
znudzilo mi sie pierdzenie w srodkowy palec. szkoda ze nie moge przylozyc sobie nosa do dupy.

Anonymous said...

Btw I’m polish, and yes we have a fish soup (not fish head soup) On Christmas Eve , I don’t like it, but I’m sure some of you wood love it. My point is first try then judge. Don’t speak abut something you don’t have a clue, most of you love sushi and that’s not even cooked. Btw I’m looking for some one who can supply me with carp for Christmas it is a very profitable business. I have knowledge of polish shops around London leonardoxx@wp.pl

Anonymous said...

yup the polish eat carp for christmas.. so what. i was told this by my univ hall mates. they eat carp not turkey... the weather there and the availability of lakes probably they have carp as xmas feast not turkey..