Archive for the ‘Fish and Seafood’ Category

Nothing Fishy

April 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 22

My neighbor, Terry, is a good fisherman, and the local streams here are stocked with trout. Terry’s wife doesn’t particularly like to gut fish for cooking, so I often get the fruits de mer of his labor.

I love fresh trout, not only because of the great taste fresh fish has, but because of a couple of good lessons it teaches me. One is what fresh fish look and smell like. The trout that Terry gives me has virtually no smell (they’re fresh water fish) except a kind of clean fish smell.

This gives me a comparison when I want to buy fresh fish at a market. I have no difficulty asking the person behind the fish counter to let me smell the fish before I buy it. If it smells ‘fishy’ or off in any way, I don’t bother. I can get something better in the freezer aisle.

A clean fish smell, except when I gut them. Then it’s easy to understand why Terry’s wife might not want to do this. But that’s the second lesson. You remind yourself when you disembowel a whole animal that you are eating something that was alive recently, and you try to appreciate the ladder of life that permits one species to consume another one.

I can understand vegetarianism, but I can’t understand people who eat animal protein but who do not want to know that it comes from animals. Such culinary denial. If we all had to catch and slaughter our own animal protein, we’d probably eat a lot less of it.

Thank you, Messieurs Trout (and Fisherman Terry). That I am higher on the food chain than you may just be an accident. But in this universe, my culinary spirit is grateful. Excuse me while I go get some flour and oil for the pan.