7:28 am

Clubbing carp for Christmas

The traditional Christmas Eve dinner in the Czech Republic is carp, breaded and deep fried, served with potato salad. In anticipation of this dinner, fish mongers with tubs of live carp appear on street corners and plazas a few days before Christmas Eve, and people line up to buy their carp. I’m told that some Czechs take the carp home live and kill the fish themselves. Most people, though, let the fish mongers do the dirty deed. And so the fish sellers scoop a carp out of the tub and give it a few sharp whacks on the head with a mallet before beheading it. (People take the fish heads, too, since fish soup is also a traditional accompaniment to the dinner.)

I suppose that if one isn’t vegetarian, it’s just as well to be reminded of exactly what is entailed in the eating of fish or poultry or meat.

And every time I saw this transaction taking place, I was reminded of Tom Lehrer’s Poisoning Pigeons in the Park:
Indeed, I’m sure that if Lehrer were Czech, he might have come up with something along the lines of Clubbing Carp for Christmas.

You can also buy carp filets at the supermarket, and indeed, I even saw some frozen breaded carp all ready for cooking, but very few of the Czechs with whom I’ve spoken admit to going that route.

One response to “Clubbing carp for Christmas”

  1. I love the song!!!

    Hurry up and fix your camera! I love your photographs.

    How are you?

    All is well here. Going back to work next month.

    I would like your address to pay back the money I owe you.

    Love ya,


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