My Mother-In-Law Doesn’t Like Fish

I’ve never understood folks who write off an entire category of food. My mother-in-law visited a few days ago and announced that she didn’t like fish because it was too fishy. This was soon after I’d ordered the salmon Caesar salad at Longhorn Steakhouse. I told her it was a gamble, like nuts. Sometimes you get a rotten cashew. Sometimes the fish is fishy. Jim Gaffigan has a whole routine about hating fish.

Then there are sushi snobs who go on and on about bluefin and skipjack. Not me. I ate a Luby’s fried cod platter as a girl. I ate fish tacos as a young adult. I had drum that one time on my honeymoon that we splurged. And I had the salmon Caesar last week on my wedding anniversary, which happened to coincide with her visit. She did say she liked lobster, however. My husband’s allergic, so I don’t even remember what lobster tastes like. If we could afford it, I’d eat fish several times a week. In this economy, I have tin cans of Crown Prince kipper snacks piled in the pantry.

Kipper are actually herring, same as the ones held by the “Scotch lassies” above. These girls numbered among the many Scots who came to work by the hundreds to Whitby, a seaside town in North Yorkshire, England. During the herring season of 1932, folks literally rolled up their sleeves, got their hands dirty, and dug in. Might not be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s honest work.

My, What Lovely Scales You Have!

by Anthony Stewart for Nat Geo 9/48

Curator of fishes, the vested Dr. Leonard Schultz, takes measurements of a parrotfish from Bikini Atoll in 1948. Bikini Atoll is a coral reef in the Marshall Islands, whose inhabitants were relocated in 1946, after which the islands and lagoon were the site of 23 nuclear tests by the United States until 1958. Before and after the Navy’s blasts, 70,000 marine life specimens were collected for testing, some of which you see in jars behind the good doctor. At this point, they had determined that surviving fish showed no anatomical changes, but they were concerned about future sterility and abnormal growths caused by radiation. The article states that “eventually, with the passage of time, the fish population will return to normal.”

getty images

While fish returned, the Atoll’s residents did not. In March 1946, the residents gathered their personal belongings and  were transported 125 miles eastward to the uninhabited Rongerik Atoll, one-sixth the size of Bikini Atoll. A deep-rooted traditional belief that the island was haunted by the Demon Girls of Ujae, as well as inadequate food and water (and fish that made their legs go numb), made the move a complete failure. Families were moved to other islands and moved again.

In 1970, three families were resettled on Bikini island, totaling about 100 residents. But scientists found dangerously high levels of strontium-90 in well water, and the residents were carrying abnormally high concentrations of caesium-137 in their bodies. Even coconut crabs retained high levels of radioactivity and could not be eaten. Women noticed genetic abnormalities in their children. They were evacuated in 1980.

At this point, the atoll is occupied by a handful of caretakers. Marine life, despite being radioactive and sharks perhaps missing dorsal fins, seem to have thrived in the absence of humans.

Tired Of Turkey?

How about a 60 lb Nicaraguan tarpon?

by Newell F. Johnstone, 1932

That could feed Dolly Parton and all of her ELEVEN brothers and sisters. Not a big tarpon eater? Perhaps bullfrog, like this pair in a Washington DC market, sounds tastier? The patron is off her head with anticipation.

by Clifton Adams

This DC chef seems no more excited about his frog-boiling tasks as he inspects the shipment from New Orleans.

The Puerto Rican peddlers below may not be flashing any smiles, but the market promises a tasty dish from the land crabs. First they boil their little bodies, scrape the meat out of the shells, toss them in with ham, green peppers, olive oil, and seasoning, mix it up, then return it to the empty shells. An egg is then placed on top and baked. Interesting, no?

by E. John Long 1939

Maybe you would prefer something tamer, like this morning catch from Winnibigoshish Lake in Minnesota.

Clifton Adams, 1935

And a side of hush puppies please!

https://thebeachhousekitchen.com/

Cuba Scuba Dive, Part II

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I couldn’t begin to tell you what this is. Something down deep in the sea with little feelers. This next one I was told was a brain coral with a bristle worm on it.

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What a Creator we have indeed! Look at all the colors undersea.

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And how about this for a profile?

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For The Seafood Lover In You

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Along with a handful of birthday greetings in my in-box today, was this inviting gem of an email, reminding me that “Lobster is back for a limited time.”  Nevermind that I asked to be removed from their mailing list seven years ago.  In their defense, the terms do say “Please allow 10 days as noted in the CAN-SPAM Law for Quiznos� to remove you from all future email advertisements.”  Maybe it’s just taking longer than usual because of global warming or the recession or changing gun control laws.

Nevermind that my husband has a lobster allergy, so we never eat it at home.  Nevermind that I don’t even eat lobster at RED LOBSTER (although I did enjoy a pre-Prom dinner there), due to the fact that I go into sodium chloride shock each time we take part of their salty cheddar bay biscuits.

In fact, it’s been so long since I partook of lobster, that I have no idea what it tastes like.  No clue.  But I can tell you that Quizno’s wouldn’t be my go-to place.  Oh, heck, no.  I would have warm lobster with butter sauce, not a mish-mash of mayo.  And BTW, the bottom of the ad says it’s only 51% lobster.  Why not 50%?  So they could legitimately say the MAJORITY of it is lobster, by a percent?  I suspect it’s like the “krab” at Subway, devoid of any “crab” at all.

Perhaps it’s even better than McDonald’s latest treat, fish bites.

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Now, McDonald’s claims that these fried balls are made of tender, flaky wild-caught Alaskan Pollock.  Isn’t this the same company whose jingle began, “Two ALL BEEF patties, special sauce…,” and then it turned out that the Big Mac was really just pink slime, and not so much of the all beef?

Maybe if I ever get up to Maine one day (or north of Dallas), I’ll stop inside some fisherman’s wharf where Rachael Ray once spent $20 on a po’ boy that made her giddy, and taste an authentic lobster dish.  Until then, Quizno’s, I’ll pass on your former slogan: Eat Up.

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