Some of you will think from the title this doodah will be all about how, where, why, or when to fish. I, of course being duly appraised by L.L. Bean as a fully functioning fly fisher-person (I have the certificate to prove it), could of course flail the waters and talk of all the ins and outs of fishing, but alas it’s winter and it’s the cooking of and consuming of fish I wish to discuss today.
Past an occasional tuna sandwich, with sweet relish and real mayo on white bread, my fish cooking talent leaves plenty to be desired and I have figured out why.
Getting past the high cost, I just don’t like fish. I imagine if it’s cooked correctly, fish can be a wonderful entrée. I mean, I’ve been to dinner with people who know fish. They order swordfish with dill, grilled halibut, trout almandine and the like. It must be fairly good because it’s on all the menus. To me, ordering fish at a restaurant tells me you’ve gone out to eat too much and are tired of the best stuff on the menu, that being almost anything cow!
I know, I know — fish is heart-healthy. Believe me, I know. I’ve read the Readers Digest version of how my heart just can’t pump another quart of sludge through my system. I know fish is just chock-full of some type of acids and other goodies that will clean out my arteries. And that’s why I do eat the occasional aforementioned tuna sandwich. Of course I know the mayo mixed with the canned fish kinda voids its goodness; however, to my credit, I do buy the tuna packed in water, not oil. I try to be good!
All of this doesn’t mean I can’t cook a fish. I can. I can bake a salmon, fry a trout, and I can make the best bass cocktail this side of wherever there’s no bass cocktail. There’s just something that tells me fish really isn’t all that good. Again, like almost anything cow. This I’ve come to learn comes from childhood. Here’s the story:
Fish for dinner when I was a tot was one of two choices — fish sticks with tater tots or salmon patties made from salmon from a can. The fish sticks were better as they really were just breading and served with ketchup and the tater tots were yummy tummy fillers. But those salmon patties? Oh, have you ever put a mouthful of something in your mouth and then as you chew something crunches and you know there shouldn’t be anything that crunches? Well, that’s a salmon patty.
I’ve never been to a factory where salmon is ground up and stuffed into a can. I’m only guessing here, but it’s a well educated guess from first-hand experience. There are vertebrae bones in the salmon in cans. It has to be vertebrae bones — when you look really close that’s exactly what it looks like. Sure as it’s cooked, the bones get all soft and aren’t a danger to getting stuck in your gullet. But they are still there. I cringe, even now, many, many meals past my last salmon patty dinner. Do you think that may have something to do with the fact fish aren’t my cup of tea? Or this ...
When you’re shopping in a grocery store you expect to smell the smells of fresh offerings. Apples, cookies, rotisserie chicken. But coming along the meat counter and up to the fish? Just runs chills down my spine. I know fish has a unique perfume. After all, it’s fish. But living a far piece from the nearest ocean often brings fish perfume from a pleasant aroma to a nose-wrinkling pong. Getting a whiff of flat funky fish just doesn’t do it for me.
Even seafood needs to be offered as fresh as possible or you can find it stuck halfway down when you try to swallow because of its ability to not pass the sniff test. Cow, on the other hand, is more readily available, turns over faster and for that reason is fresher and more palette appeasing.
But (yes, a famous but), did you notice I said almost anything cow? I have to draw the line somewhere. Steak and roasts and, yes, even hamburger, which sometimes extra stuff is put in it but what you can’t see hopefully doesn’t kill ya, are the regular cow stuff. Beyond the “normal” cow parts I have to decline. No brains or tongue or liver or tail. I mean, come on. If I were hungry enough, OK; but really I would eat filet of moo before liver. Man, am I picky or what?
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!