Gar Balls

Something about that word, ‘gar’ make me want to start singing about rum and pieces of eight. It sets off the silly side of my brain. I don’t know why, there really isn’t anything silly about gar. They are scary to look at, having about 2 million teeth. Tiny, exceedingly sharp looking little needles, set in a long pointy jaw. Alligator gar have an extra two or three hundred thousand teeth. As if that is necessary! Any time I’ve ever been fishing and someone has hooked one I never think bringing it into the boat sounds like a good idea. If I am by myself, or if no one is looking, I’ll just quietly cut the line rather than try and retrieve my hook. I can get another hook. I don’t need that one with any sort of urgency.
Adding insult to injury, they are not good to eat, despite what anyone says. Once, a long time ago, one of my neighbors brought over a large bowl of cleaned, filleted fish. “Would you like some gar?” he asked. I looked at the pretty, white fillets lying in their bowl and accepted with acclarity. I thanked him profusely and hustled that fish on in the house and rolled in in corn meal and fried it up. My husband came in and asked “Where did that come from?”. I informed him that it was “gar” and the neighbor had given it to us. He said, “I’ve heard you have to eat that pretty hot for it to be good.” So we did. It was so hot it burned your mouth. Than was good though, since it almost covered up the fact that it tasted like the inside of an old cedar chest.
Some people will tell you that if you take it and make something called “gar balls” out of it, that it will magically transform into something very good to eat. They are either lying or have never actually experienced eating anything good in their entire lives. I have even tried making these “gar balls” myself. That did not help. They are still bad. If you just throw the gar away and use the rest of the ingredients to make something a bit like hush puppies, it is rather tasty, but probably cannot, any longer, be called “gar balls”. I am forced to assume that the first person who ever ate this fish was extremely hungry and all subsequent consumers were raised on it and therefore do not know any better than to eat it.
It’s lunchtime. I will not be having Gar


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