[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Moritz continues his work at the tidepool...

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[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Postby Moritz Craven on November 30th, 2021, 9:13 pm

45 Fall 521


Sitting in the kitchen quietly for a moment upon a stool, Moritz let his mind wander and his eyes unfocus as he rested. While they had been quite busy a bit ago there were currently no patrons in the bar, and so Moritz felt it was a good enough time to rest.

No sooner did he think this than Stu caught his attention, a grin on his face as he waved Moritz over. "Okay, since we aren't busy, I figured I'd show you a new dish. I think we might prep some fish stew for later. Fish is a constant around here, so you'll need to learn how to prepare and cook them. A stew is a good place to start with. But first, the preparations. I've got a few fish someone brought in earlier. I'll show you one, and you repeat with the other. Oh, and get a knife for the work."

Nodding Moritz took up a knife from nearby and walked over to the prep table Stu was working from. Along with that was some cutting boards, some bowls, and a nearby container of water for cleaning, washing, and rinsing.

Making a repeated motion Stu began to pick at the fish, something Moritz had trouble understanding for a moment. However as he saw the scales falling on the table he realized what he was doing. Scaling. "Alright, so you can use the back of the knife, the blunt end, to scale. Just rub it over the back like this again and again, in a repeated motion. Like this."

Saying this Stu moved the back of the blade along the side of the fish, from one end to the other, holding the tail firmly as he did. Moritz followed along, being careful to avoid touching the blade of the knife while holding the tail. With this he then moved the back of the blade along the fish, stroking downward from where he held it at the tail along to the head, over and over. Each time he moved the blade he saw scales sloughing off, falling to table in random bits. One or two scales here, a bigger chunk there, but each motion adding more to the pile. He kept at this for awhile, taking longer than Stu did, but slowly turning the fish bit by bit and getting to each part until he felt most of the scales were gone.

As he moved to pause however Stu pointed out a few he had missed, and so Moritz began again to remove the few remaining bits of fish scales along the surface. This took less time than the earlier bit, but per scale longer than the earlier scales. Which made sense, since he was hunting down the last few scales whereas the earlier ones were easily gathered and pulled off by any random movement of the blade.

Once he was finally done with it Stu nodded, pointing at the water from earlier and the bowls. "Alright, fill the bowls with water, and then we rinse the fish clean. Then we can move on to the next step."

Moritz nodded, picking up the water and pouring some into his own and Stu's bowl, before moving on to the fish. Setting it into the water Moritz moved it around well and worked to clean it off before the next step of their work.

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Moritz Craven
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[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Postby Moritz Craven on February 28th, 2022, 3:52 pm

With the scales off of the fish Moritz and Stu continued their work, taking their fish that had been washed out of the bowls and continuing on to the next step.

Taking up the knife again Stu began the next stage, getting Moritz attention as he made a small incision near the tail. Expanding that cut by sliding the knife over Stu slowly sliced the fishes belly open. "Okay as you see I did, make a small cut near the tail of the fish, and then work the blade over and across to the head till the entire belly is open. Once you've done that properly you can remove the guts and innards. Just pull them out, they should remove pretty easily."

Not moving as fast as Stu Moritz attempted to stab the tip of the blade in near the tail, missing a few times as he was not too familiar with cutting into fish flesh, but finding a purchase soon enough and sliding the blade in. From there he pushed it sideways to cut across the belly as he had seen Stu do. His work however did not seem as clean, and where Stu had done it in one smooth motion across the fish Moritz was left with a semi straight somewhat jagged cut as he paused occasionally and reoriented his cutting direction. However by the end it was suitable enough and he had managed to cut it across, and so had opened the fish as needed.

Moving on to the next step Moritz set aside the knife and watched as Stu carried on, reaching inside the fish and pulling out all sorts of things. Innards. Guts. Other waste. Numerous things not of interest for cooking... Moritz followed along on this task, repeating what he saw, reaching inside and feeling in the fish until he found a chunk of something, which he then proceeded to pull out. This was less than enjoyable, and though Moritz had a strong stomach and was not squeamish he certainly did not enjoy feeling around the wet insides of a dead animal. Even a fish, with its glazed eyes staring up at him, felt odd. Almost as if it was staring back into him. Knowing. Understanding what he had done... But he knew he had to get through this, as it was just one step of many, and fish were eaten commonly around here... It was a free source of food, and not one people were going to stop, and so he needed to know how to prepare it.

Grabbing another handful of innards Moritz clamped his mouth shut and pulled, yanking the bits out and dropping them into a bucket like the other bits. After several more handfuls of this Moritz had finally gotten the last of the insides out that needed removing, and he let out a sigh as he set the fish down and cleaned his hands from the fish muck and gunk he had become covered in while working to remove its insides.

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[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Postby Moritz Craven on February 28th, 2022, 4:25 pm

With his hands clean and the mass of innards removed from the fish, the next step was to clean out the inside. Or so Moritz assumed. However next Stu showed Moritz something different he had not been expecting and had not really considered. "Okay with most of the innards gone next we remove the gills. And with that done we will clean the insides out with water until no blood comes out."

Watching Stu Moritz inspected the fish, seeing as the man pulled something out from near the head of the fish. The gills, he assumed, small little fleshy flaps that did not cleanly block the inside like the other bits of skin which where uncut were a solid surface.

Moritz copied this, pulling them out easily enough, and tossing them into the refuse bucket before continuing on as Stu had. Dumping some water out that was clean over the fish while holding it above a dirt water bucket to be tossed later, Moritz rinsed out the inside of the fish. As he did little bits of flesh and things came out along with deep red blood. And then he added in more water and rinsed it out again, getting slightly pinker blood... And again, and again after that, repeating the process until finally the water came out not pink but clear. By then Stu was also done with the step and waiting for Moritz to follow.

Holding up the fish with the knife Stu made a few motions as he spoke, cutting off some additional parts. "Okay, now all that is left is to remove the fins, and dry the fish. With that done the preparation you would use on most fish is done, after this depending on what you are doing the next steps would vary from method to method. Grilling. Baking. Frying. Roasting. Stewing. Will the fish be used whole, or cut? After this step those things would be decided." Cutting off the fins Stu took a clean rag and dried the fish off, before setting it on the cutting board.

Moritz followed along with this, nodding, and taking up his knife again. Being careful he set the blade near the joint, and then making an incision cut off the fins one by one. By now the single fish was much lighter compared to when it began, and mainly only the flesh used for cooking and the eyes remained.

With the rag he grabbed Moritz also worked to pat the fish dry, working from one end of the fish to the other and turning it over to dry the other side. After a bit of a wait he was done, and Stu seemed ready to continue on... Only for a noise to come from the front and a few patrons to approach the bar. "Alright Moritz, I'll go check on them. You get some practice in, since I know you and I know you'll need to repeat the cleaning stuff to get it down for next time. So go repeat all this on a few more fish until you have it down pat, we've got plenty over there for you to work on."

Looking over as Stu exited he saw the fish pile being referenced, at least a dozen newly brought in and ready to be prepared. Likely someones payment for a prior nights drinking. And plenty of material for Moritz to begin his work with.

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[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Postby Moritz Craven on February 28th, 2022, 4:54 pm

While Stu was off Moritz continued his work, getting down the earlier bits while also helping out with the prep work. Taking up one fish he mentally ran through the steps in his head... First descaling... Then washing... Opening the belly... Pulling out the insides... Cleaning some more... Taking out the gills... Removing the fins... And then drying off the fish...

Descaling, he took up the blade and using the back blunt end worked from tail to head to break the scales off. Raking the blade over the fish again and again he worked them off bit by bit, until finally it was all the way clean. Then he dipped the fish into some water and rinsed it off, moving it around and using his fingers to work into it. Pulling it back out and over the refuse bucket he used the knife, taking a bit to find a good point of incision to get the blade in near the tail. This time he focused on getting a straight cut and one solid line. While it perhaps ended up less jerky as he avoided pausing it was still not quite straight, slowly waving in one direction and then the other as he overcompensated, corrected, and then overcompensated again. Eventually though he did get the belly cut open.

With that done he was on to the unsavory task of removing the innards. Yanking the bits out by hand he was left with mucked up paws as he felt through the blood and flesh to pull out the masses of inside flesh that would not be used for cooking. As he pulled the bits into the bucket Moritz nodded at Stu as he passed, pointing his chin at it.

"Stu, what do you do with all the stuff in the bucket here? The guts and blood and stuff?"

Pausing for a moment Stu turned, before speaking while moving to grab something from another table. "Ah, lots of things. Some people use it as bait. Say for traps to catch certain meat eating beasts. Its got a strong scent. Or perhaps even for catching fish, bait for hooks. Chum as well for the smaller bits... And whatever can't be used gets tossed or buried."

Finishing speaking Stu ran back out front, apparently not preparing any food for the patrons, likely just making some drinks and having left some ingredient or tool in the kitchen area.

Moritz nodded as he continued his work, continuing to pull out innards... Once he was done with that he also pulled out the gills as Stu had done, before repeating the earlier process of washing out the insides over and over until the water ran clean.

With that he was simply left to cut off the fins, knocking the blade and cutting them off one at a time, before setting the fish down and patting its denuded form dry with a clean rag. Having finished one Moritz grabbed another fish, continuing the process, working to ingrain it into his mind and hands while Stu worked. Descaling... Washing... Gutting... Removing the insides... The gills... Cleaning to clear... de finning... And drying. It was a somewhat long process, but with each pass and new fish he went a bit quicker, a bit cleaner, and a bit straighter in his work.

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[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Postby Moritz Craven on February 28th, 2022, 5:27 pm

By the time Stu was done with his work and returned to continue showing Moritz the ropes, the Kelvic had finished a fair number of fish up to the point he had been trained. Some where better than others, but in general they showed a slow trend upward in improving his work. Eying the work in process Stu nodded, grabbing up one of the semi-finished pieces. "Alright. So from here, we can go a few ways. In some cases you may cook it whole, such as over a flame, without doing anything more. Or you may just want the meat. In that case you will need to cut off the filets of the fish, the chunks of good edible meat, and skin it. Then you can cut up those skinned filets into smaller bits as needed, and toss in that to cook or stew like any other kind of meat ingredient. For now we are gonna make a stew, so lets filet and skin it."

Setting down the fish on the board he began by removing the head, making a few small cuts and then cutting near the gills and slicing off the chunk of fish with one additional motion. Moritz followed this with one of his own, but had more trouble finding the spot to cut in. Making a few more small incisions he worked by moving the blade around a bit until he founds the right spots, and then as the other man had cut, eventually sliding into what felt like a good place and cutting downward to decapitate the fish corpse.

This required a bit of turning and handling of the fish, but eventually it was done. With that and running along the backbone of the fish Stu slid the blade down the length of the body, exposing the backbone which would not be eaten. Here he then began cutting parallel to the board, taking off the fillets with smooth clean motions.

Moritz copied this, running his blade down to expose the back bones, before then turning the fish onto its side and trying to slide in the blade. Not nearly as clean as Stu had done he was able to cut off the fillet, though his came in several chunks rather than the single smooth piece and single smooth motion that Stu had done.

Switching over to the other side of the fish Stu spoke as he worked. "We want good and clean fillets if we can Moritz, so work on that. Now bear in mind skinning the fish is sometimes optional. It depends on the dish and the fish. Honestly this fish isn't so bad, so we could probably leave it on... But some fish have tough or dangerous skin, so you will always want to cut it off. So bear that in mind, unless you know a fish type check its skin before deciding what to do with it."

Moritz nodded, working to filet the other side of the fish but ending up butchering the fillets much as he had on the other side. This would likely take time and practice to get down, as many things did.

Stroking down the sides of the fish Stu continued his work, showing as he spoke with actions. "You'll also want to run your fingers along the filet before using it, and check for any bones needing removing."

Having removed his strips of fillet Moritz did as Stu had done, patting down each chunk one by one. In a few spots he found bones which he removed, but eventually he was done and had all the bones out and so was left with the unskinned fillets ready to be cooked.

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[The Tidepool Bar]Of Life and Blades IV

Postby Alric Lysane on March 14th, 2022, 5:27 pm

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Your Grades


Moritz Craven

Skills

Cooking – 5
Interrogation – 1
Observation – 3
Organization – 1

Lores

Cooking: Descaling A Fish
Cooking: Fish Cooking Methods
Cooking: Fish De-Boning
Cooking: Fish Gill & Fin Removal
Cooking: Gutting A Fish
Cooking: Washing A Fish



Funny Fact - Romans used to make a sauce out of fish guts (rotting/fermented fish guts!) called Garum
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