First published in SMH in 2005
Julie Ihle explains how to be obsessive, one step at a time.
I have a confession to make. I hate prawns. As we are now into summer and coming into the silly season, just about every Christmas party will have trays of those little uber-pink, parasitic rubbery
I am aware that it is un-Australian, and possibly a terrorist activity, not to ingest your body weight in prawns at every summery party. It is a crime on a par with admitting to not possessing a pair of thongs or not watching the Melbourne Cup.
My main problem with prawns, apart from their being tasteless and brimming with parasites, is that they are a whole lot of effort for very little outcome. Like the Herald‘s crossword, only messier.
I do not understand the whole prawn peeling exercise. Why grown-ups want to take one angry, pink and very dead prawn, break off its head with their bare hands, then start peeling layers off its anorexic body, I do not know. As for the poo trails, delving your fingernails deep into the dead prawn to extract its intestines gives me high school biology class flashbacks. By the time
you’ve chopped off its head, peeled and de-veined, you’re left with a pale, shrivelled up piece of dead meat that is meant to be a delicacy but tastes like salty bread.
And what’s more once you’ve finally eaten the prawn, you’re left with greasy
hands, a big bowl of dead prawn heads and tails that you can smell in the
garbage bin a street away.
Yet to say out loud that you don’t like prawns and would rather ingest rancid cod liver oil is like saying that you want New Zealand to beat us at cricket or that you think “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi” is a yoga pose.
Take a look around at the next party you attend and the prawn-phobics are not hard to spot. They stand on the edge of the balcony surreptitiously feeding prawns to the dog, or lurk in the background trying to find a garbage bin or spare garden bed to throw the prawn into, or at dinner time they mysteriously disappear.
Prawn-haters are often oyster-haters too. We oyster-haters think oysters are slimy and taste like eating a pile of mercury. As for being an aphrodisiac – give me a break. Romance is in a sad state if an aphrodisiac has the consistency of superglue and smells like a tuna farm.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for our own traditions. I’m not a hot Christmas turkey kind of girl, but the prawn and oyster Christmas party should end now. I am sure half of Sydney is full of people who can’t stand them and I ask you to now show your hand. We want the right to hate prawns. No more shrimps, prawns on the barbie and no more oysters on harbour cruises.
Instead replace the prawn and the oyster with some actual food – that is something that isn’t harvested from an algae patch next to the Harbour Tunnel or dripping with titanium oxide.
And fellow prawn-phobics unite – here’s to a crustacean-free Christmas.