Scored carp began as method to break down the numerous lines of bones that support the skeletal musles of the fish. Counting down from the dorsal fin to the ventral fin, i.e. from the top to the belly of the fish, there are FOUR lines of bones running the length of the fish, many of them shaped like a Y.
If you were to carefully par-bake the fish until just tender, using 2 forks, it would be a fairly simple matter to pull apart with some practice, each of the 4 lines of muscle, separating the meat from the bones. Then you can lift out cleanly the entire skeletal structure and push back the flesh together, leaving a boneless carp, that can then be covered in various sauces and further baked, or cooked into croquettes etc.
Carp is the most valuable food fish in Asia, and used to be very valuable in Europe as well. Before giving away to ignorant sneers, we need to understand what the numerous species are and how they feed and what they feed on. Superciliousness and a know-it-all attitude will be the downfall of us, in the very near future, as it has been in many of our military campaigns in Asia where we have underestimated and denigrated the "OTHER" to our great cost.
Like Kudzu, or the golden euphorbia, carp is a very great blessing if one is able to understand its merits. And yes, I am a legume biologist, so I do know exactly what I say about Kudzu!
Scoring carps began as a way to deal with the allergy to carp bones among some emigrant groups that does not hinder carp from being prized among millions of other Americans who have have ALSO helped build up this nation, from even before the great waves of the Irish, Italians, East Europeans, etc. arrived! Yes, the Chinese, and even some early South Asians! Transcontinental raliway, remember? Who provided the labor?
Anyway, from OK to points north, there are machines that score the carp very closely along its body, perhaps every 2 cm or even closer. The age of the fish definitely matters as to the size, density and thickness of the bones, but this is not a place to wax eloquent on carp anatomy and biology!! When these scored carp are PROPERLY DREDGED and PROPERLY DEEP FRIED, it is seen that the scored bones seem not to matter in the eating.
For Asians, the bones do not matter anyway. Large sized WINTER CARP, 3-5 kg, and above, Cyprinus carpio, Labeo rohita, Catla catla, and other species prized in South Asia, begin to thicken their bones to the extent that picking them out is not an issue at all, for those who eat with their hands. There are even minnow sized Cyprinids, e.g. Amblypharyngodon mola, that are eaten whole and these are some of the most expensive and most prized species. They are also some of the most ecologically efficient, having a Harvest Index of nearly 1, i.e 100%.
We shall NO LONGER have the luxury of raising fish by feeding them corn, soy and fishmeal. Let us get a little bit real before we destroy our country to the point of no-return and send it into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic each spring with our spring planting.
Our 25 feet of prairie topsoil is down to 18 inches. Because I have spent my life working to preserve what is left of this soil, working to create cropping systems that do not further impoverish us, I have earned the right to speak out on this subject.
Chinese enjoy the grass carp, silver carp, and bighead carp, all introduced into US waters, and they consume all of these with chopsticks, after cooking in various ways, whole or cut into pieces.
Carp and the Ohio grass shrimp are invaluable resources we have been blessed with. So many more plants and animals that seem unfamiliar or ridiculous NOW to most but which will stand our nation in good stead in the times to come.
Don't diss the carp, muchachitos! It is here to save your life!
Our technical and scientific virtuosity will be set to naught. All the omics and high science we practice, the labs and students at my/our disposal, all will be a distant memory to the generations 60 years down the line, so wastefully and carelessly are we living now, so disrespectful of this magnificent and blessed land, a true paradise if there ever was one.
It is not how we choose to eat that is so much the problem but how we choose to waste and to remain WILFULLY ignorant of our choices that are destroying us from the inside. Roadfood is an excellent place to begin the debate, no matter how heated it turns, on such issues> CARP is merely the symbol of how we choose to utilize our food resources, and to know more deeply about what they might really mean for our country.