Sigmund Freud’s 10 Steps to Great Fish

Rebecca Coffey

In Celebration of the Centenary of Sigmund Freud’s Only Visit to America:

  1. Buy a dead one. When the eye stares at you accusingly, think forbidden thoughts. Might as well.
  2. Wait until your mother leaves the room. Then smear the fish with béchamel sauce. Quickly, before she gets back!
  3. Béchamel. The very syllables take my breath away.
  4. Cook the fish any way you like, but serve it with bloody beets.
  5. Please remove the bones gently.
  6. Lemon makes you pucker.
  7. When fish cooks, the proteins denature and then coagulate. How does this make you feel?
  1. There’s a delicate balance between perfectly cooked fish and overcooked fish. Does this remind you of anything in your goyishe childhood, like perhaps the Christmas morning when you were three and your mother was disappointed to find nothing for her from your father under the tree but mounds of gifts for you, and she cried as she sifted through the balled up pieces of wrapping paper looking for something, anything, but found nothing there? And when you saw her breasts heaving and heaving and heaving some more, you cried, too? And then you ran into your room and looked at yourself naked?
  2. Don’t pound the fish. Please don’t pound the fish. Just touch the fish.
  3. Hurry and change your clothes.

Rebecca Coffey is a documentary filmmaker and radio broadcaster who writes fiction and nonfiction. More of her work can be found at