More than a fish story

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The young scientist submits many an unlikely report. To wit: "Bees' guts come out when they sting." And: "Men get hit by lightning more often than women." And: "A rabbit's teeth never stop growing."

Most of which the distracted mother files under "hmm, mmm."

The young scientist also claims that a whale sporting a nearly 10-foot-long horn prowls the Arctic. Hard to believe. Yet, unbelievably, true.

The young scientist summons evidence: the online photo album, the online encyclopedia entry, the online wilderness documentary. Proving, to the surprise of the distracted mother, that the splotchy white whale with the single, straight, spiral-twisted horn does indeed glide the glacial waters. Narwhal, unicorn of the deep, has this over the unicorn of the field: It's real.

The scientist savors this moment. "You never believe me," he asserts. "But I'm always right."

He further defends his claim by calling up an animated short in which the smiling, single-horned narwhal dances to a jaunty tune that attempts to rhyme "ocean," "commotion" and "awesome." "Narwhal, narwhal," it boasts, "inventor of the shish kebab."

Which gets the attention of the distracted. Frankly, the culinary habits of the narwhal are hard to pin down, given that the whale lives in ice pack and tends to dine at a depth of 4,000 feet, in darkness. No one has ever seen the narwhal prepare lunch. So the record is unclear on whether the whale kebabs its prey.

Still, it seems fitting to credit the tusked whale with the ingenious idea of skewering fish. Just as it seems fitting to credit the niceties of marinating, browning and serving over crispy noodles to the distracted mom. She's the one who routinely tries to rhyme "just try some" with "awesome."

Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor.

Fish kebabs

Prep: 15 minutes

Marinate: 1 hour

Cook: 10 minutes

Makes: 6 servings

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves

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