miðvikudagur, maí 10, 2006

þorskur

I am still fascinated by Fiskirannsóknarstovan and its long lists of piscine names. Today, also, I am thinking about cod. Much has already been written about cod, thanks to Mr. Kurlansky. I will add just a few lexigraphical and personal notes.

Fiskirannsóknarstovan informs me that the cod has at least thirty-five names in Faroese. Toskur is a clear relative of the Icelandic þorskur. Grunnafiskur and grunningur are appropriate for a fish that likes to be near the sandy bottom. Miðafiskur is a good name, since one fishes at the miði. Some of the others are more surprising. I do not know why the cod might be called málfiskur, unless it is, unbeknownced to all, the singing fish made famous by Halldór Laxness. Tertlingur is likewise mysterious to me. I note gráur fiskur and hvítur fiskur, remarkable only because in Icelandic the cod is yellow.

I have hauled three cod off the sandy bottom outside Reykjavík harbor. They were indeed very yellow, but perhaps I would have seen things differently in the Faroes.

It is a commonplace that Icelanders will not eat cod, that haddock is the domestic fish of choice, so common that its proper name ýsa is sometimes neglected in favor of fiskur. Nonetheless, I had a Icelandic friend who favored cod over ýsa and maintained that he had grown up among northerners who all favored cod over ýsa. On several occassions I have eaten cod he had prepared. Always the flesh parted before the fork in thick, snowy leaves like the pages of a book, white and tasting of the sea.

1 ummæli:

Eastman sagði...

Þorskur er betri en ýsa, enda er ýsan botnlæg hrææta.

 
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