Monday, April 23, 2012

If you don't like fish your tastebuds are broken

While I have spent the majority of my life in the lovely state of Illinois (blech) I am from California. I grew up in Walnut Creek which is about 30 miles from San Francisco. Right next to San Francisco there is this place, it's pretty big, it's called The Pacific Ocean. When I get homesick (it's hard to say that it's homesick when you haven't lived there for 17 years but there isn't a better word for it) there are two things that I miss more than anything: the smell of the ocean and fresh fish. I also kind of miss fog but it's a distant third. I love smelling the salt on the breeze, I love staring out into the unending blue and I even love the ghastly smell the sea lions produce as they have taken over Pier 39.And when it comes to eating the bounty of the sea I love it all.

This is why I get filled with a deep rage when people flippantly pronounce that they don't like fish. How can someone make such broad generalizations about such a vast array of deliciousness? More often than not it is because they were raised far from the ocean and when you say "fish" they hear "Gorton's Fish Sticks" or even more terrifyingly "Filet O' Fish." I recognize that 20 years ago there wasn't exactly an abundance of fresh seafood here in the heartland but all of that has changed my friend. It's entirely possible to be eating a halibut* that was enjoying his ugly little life swimming off the shores of Alaska yesterday for dinner tonight. Despite being able to obtain tasty and fresh fish I find that there are an astounding number of people who outright refuse to even try it**.

I understand that everyone's tastes are different but I'm not willing to accept that it's possible to just not like fish. If it swims chances are that I have gladly eaten it and there is one thing I know for certain, every kind of fish tastes different. Sure, there are similarities in the way that all fruit tastes the same. Yet if someone refuses an apple and says "I don't like fruit," they will be completely derided by their friends for eating like a 3 year old, and rightly so. For some reason most people accept it when applied to fish. Well, not any more my friends. I'm leading a crusade to out these people for who they really are, scaredy cats who don't like anything different.

The simple fact of the matter is that tuna tastes just as much like clams as carrots taste like brussel sprouts. Lumping the two together as saying they taste fishy just tells me that you didn't actually try and taste them. Instead you held on to an idiotic belief that fish is weird, foreign and gross and choked down the delicious clam in hopes that you will be rewarded for your adventurousness. I'm willing to put up with people easing their way into eating seafood. Start off with some fried calamari which essentially tastes like all fried food. You don't need to begin your seafood journey with raw oysters or sushi. Just fucking try something. Get it out of your mind that meat comes in Chicken, Cow and maybe Pork. There's a whole damn delicious world out there under the sea and as my good friend Sebastian said;
"Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Under the sea
Nobody beat us
Fry us and eat us."

See, even animated lobsters know that they are the tastiest food around. Who are you to argue with him? Go ahead and take that leap and eat something a little different. Just remember that saying something tastes like "fish" is about as descriptive as saying something tastes like "food," and it makes you look like an asshole.

* I have always had a theory that the cuter the animal the tastier it is. Lamb - adorable and appetizing! Duck - divine and delicious! Chicken - Normal looking, nothing special and  pretty standard acceptable food. The halibut throws a giant wrench in my theory. Have you ever seen a halibut? They are fucking disgusting looking. They look as if they are covered in brown slime, both eyes are on one side of it's body near a weird ass pig nose. If you put a halibut next to a swordfish it's like a beauty contest between Sloth from Goonies and Salma Hayek. But I'll be goddamned halibut tastes amazing.
** While I am infuriated by her taste in food I give mad props to my friend Jenny Schindler Melander for always trying at least a miniscule bit of fish each time she is around it. I've come to the conclusion that her tastebuds must be broken and it is no longer her fault.

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