Don’t eat this three days before a marathon

Last night, I met my friend Gesina for dinner at a casual little sushi joint down the street. Over bottles of Kirin Light, we caught up on important matters such as her new haircut (totally hot), my lack of a job (starting to get annoying), and race week tapering (she’s running a half this weekend, and of course I have my full on Saturday).

And then we got down to the business of fish and roll selection. We are girls who like to eat.

Spicy Tuna Roll, Wasabi Dynamite Roll, Asparagus Tempura Roll. A few pieces of sushi – or sashimi? No, sushi…we need pre-race carbs! How about one more roll…

The list of rolls was long, and eventually I gave up on reading each and every description and started just scanning for money ingredients. Like eel sauce.

“How about the White Roll?” I suggested. It sounded downright decadent. “Salmon, cream cheese, tempura crunch, and eel sauce wrapped with escloar.”

I paused for a second and thought about that last one. “Wait, escolar…isn’t that, like, lettuce?”

“No, you’re thinking of something with a similar name,” said Gesina.

“Oh yeah. Escarole,” I agreed. “Escolar is…a fish?”

“I think so,” she said.

And being that we live in the world of smart phones, the mystery fish was immediately googled. G chuckled as her phone loaded the page.


Say what?

Escolar is the most controversial fish that you are likely to find in your fish market,” she continued. “This firm, white fleshed fish as an incredibly rich flavor, often described as succulent, or a fattier version of swordfish. Why so rich? It turns out that – CRAP!”

Apparently, the phone’s battery was on the fritz; its screen faded to black, leaving the big question unanswered: WHY SO RICH indeed?

I briefly considered digging my own phone out of my purse to continue the research, but it seemed like more fun to be left in suspense. “Dangerous” or not, it sounded tasty. We placed our order and went back to beer sipping and chatting.

As it turns out: escolar is indeed delicious.

The whole thing was pretty amazing, actually, but it was the melt-in-your-mouth buttery white fish on the outside that put it over the top. It looked and tasted like the generic “white tuna” I’ve had many times at sushi joints, but a little fattier.

Later that night, I was lying in bed when my phone chirped. I picked it up to see an email from Gesina with a link to an article and two words: “Haha! YUM!”


And there we had our answer. WHY SO RICH? Because apparently escolar gives you the shits. And not just any shits. ORANGE, OILY SHITS.

The article is equal parts horrifying and hilarious, and the comments are even better: definitely worth a click through. However, as a summary: the escolar’s diet is high in something called “wax esters,” which it cannot digest, and neither can most people. So they come out the other end intact, creating something called “keriorrhoea,” which is just like diarrhea but even more fun, as you discharge waxy orange grease instead of regular poop.

Fortunately, neither of us has experienced this yet.

I’ve got a couple of things working in my favor here. For one thing, now that I know what it is, I’m certain I’ve eaten this fish before (as “white tuna”) and never had any ill effects. And I’ve eaten all sorts of weird and sketchy food while traveling (as has G – in fact, a few years ago we spent a summer bumming around Cambodia and Vietnam together, feasting on fried crickets and street meat and all sorts of unrefrigerated, unpasteurized, bacteria-ridden delicacies) so hopefully this “wax ester” business ain’t no thing to my stomach.

Still. NOT the smartest thing to consume three days before a big race. Although I feel totally fine (and based on most of the comments in that article, I would have started feeling the symptoms by now if they were going to present themselves), I’d be lying if I said a little part of me wasn’t on Keriorrhoeawatch this morning.

That fish was delicious, though. It would almost be worth it, even with the alleged after effects. Assuming I didn’t have a marathon to run, of course.

I guess we’ll see how this comes out.

Pun intended.


28 responses to “Don’t eat this three days before a marathon

  1. hahaha! oh my god. This sounds disgusting but delicious. I doubt I’m ever going to try it myself though! Glad you and Gesina haven’t had any unpleasant experiences with it!

    Your trip to Cambodia and Vietnam sounds amazing. Must have been an incredible summer.

    Good luck on Saturday!

    • Thanks! And yes – Cambodia and Vietnam are both wonderful places to travel…I’d go back in a heartbeat!

  2. I’M FAMOUS! It only it weren’t poop related…orange, oily poop related.

  3. Anthony Bourdain says there’s no point in eating something if you don’t have at least a 50% chance of getting diarrhea from it. I tend to agree.

  4. I just laughed out loud at my desk reading this. I have Boston on Monday and I can only imagine how much I would have freeked out if I read that about something I had just eaten. Glad you have an iron stomach and good luck at ‘Gansett!

  5. Lol….Unless you ate a bunch of it, you should be totally fine. It’s one of my & my bf’s favorite sushi options, & we get one or two orders every time we have sushi. The, um, unfortunateness is only a risk if you eat a lot of it at once (unless you have some absurd sensitivity to it, which I guess is possible).

    • We had two big rolls, both of which contained escolar…I wouldn’t be surprised if it were 3-4 ounces each, all together. So far so good though!

  6. I’d pack some immodium…just in case!

  7. Sounds like some thing I would do, but I’d definitely get the Diarreah.

  8. Hahahaha, that is too perfect. If it makes you feel better, I worked at a sushi restaurant for years and we served escolar and not once did I hear anyone complaining of the orange shits. Plus, I doubt you ate enough of it to actually cause any problems. Maybe just don’t run out and buy an escolar steak this week. Although, next week, GAME ON. I think you should figure out a way to consume at least a pound of it. You know, in the name of science.

  9. That fish is truly so delicious…I’ve only had it once, in Maui before a half marathon! After I looked it up on my phone (just to learn more about it, as it was so good), I found out about the possible side effects. But it did say that it’s usually okay in small portions. Originally I was disappointed we didn’t have more, but I guess I was lucky!) I was nervous for a day but didn’t have any problems. :)

  10. OMG. Can’t. Stop. Laughing!!!!

    I am sending you good juju so you avoid Keriorrhoea!!!!

    (p.s. I am luvdmb36 on drawsomething and I LOVE your drawings!!)

    You rock!

    • Thanks! And nice to put a blog name with draw something name! :) I’ve been trying to avoid playing during the day or I just get sucked in and don’t get anything else done…I’m due for an update tonight!

  11. Oh man. Is it weird I sort of want to be kept updated about this? Yes. I need to be updated on potentially weird BM’s.

  12. Holy shit! Literally! I hope you are ok and do not get sick!

  13. LOL, oh man. I had sushi last night, and I never know what anything is unless it says tuna/salmon or crab. Other than that, I don’t know, and don’t care. I’ll pretty much eat anything that looks pretty. There was something on top of one of our rolls that I really, truly, have no idea what it was – but damn if it wasn’t tasty.

    Good Luck this weekend!

  14. Oh my goodness, Shelby–I’m in awe of your daring. Surely it’s a distinct talent to laugh in the face of marathon-running danger. Good luck this weekend. I know you’ll do great!

  15. Highway to the danger zone…in your butt.

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  17. Oh man! That roll sounded good until you said all that. Oh well. I’m more of a snowcrab and crunch roll girl anyway. Hope everything works out!

  18. Um, this happened to me once and that same site is what I read once I googled it. I ate it twice in two days and let’s just say it turned into a disaster. But yes, delicious. Very, very delicious.

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