Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fond of Fish

Eastside Road, July 27, 2011—

Sardine sandwich

AS A KID I was never that fond of fish. This may have been the fault of cod liver oil, one of my earliest taste memories: I had to take it every day as a small boy. Later, in the last year of World War Two, when I was nine years old, we lived in a small town in Northeast Oklahoma, and there I learned catfish was a delicacy: but to me it tasted like mud. A couple of years later it was the occasional surfeit of surf fish, taken at spawn, I believe, at the mouth of the Russian River: always disagreeably fat. I still dislike fat fish. Mackerel, for example.

But I've made piece with salmon, and cod, and trout — I learned about truite bleu in the Dauphiné. And one of the things that attracts me to The Netherlands is fish: delicious flat fish, and zeeduivel, and of course raw herring. And then there's Venice, of course, and Sicily…

We've been hungry for fish lately, probably because we've been relatively deprived of them. Lots of meat in Oregon, the last two weeks, not much fish. So tonight we made do with simple sardines, out of the can: split sardines, thin-sliced raw onion, a little mayonnaise, on good bread. With them, corn-and-soybean succotash; afterward, green salad. A feast.

Rosé, La Ferme Julien (Luberon), 2009

1 comment:

Curtis Faville said...

Well, fish. I grew up in the 50's, when America was in love with frozen and canned and preserved. No one had fresh fish, and if they did, no one knew how to cook it. What dumb cooks Americans were in those days.

We had fish sticks, or slightly limp (or stiff) trout, and it seemed to me I could never form a bite that wasn't filled with bones. Half my fish would be spat out on the plate, and my fingers oily from trying to fish out the bones from my teeth. My parents would gamely encourage me: "Isn't it just wonderful?!" Yes, it tasted pretty good, if only I could get a simple bite of the flesh!

My parents never had sushi. What a world of flavor they missed!

And garlic was never allowed in our house.

Ah, the deprived 50's. Into that great void, came--