Sunday, February 10, 2008

Something Smelt Fishy

My biological father was an avid fisherman. He had a small boat with an outboard motor which he enjoyed taking out on the lakes of Maine.

I don't think he was as great a fisherman as he suppposed he was. He often tied his own flies to which the fish responded har de har har. In retrospect, I think it was more about the boat and the beer.

But we did get to eat fish more often than the average family does. I think we mostly ate trout. My Mom fried it in a pan with cornmeal.

To this day I like very fishy fish. I have eaten oyster stew which gags a great many people. (okay most everybody) I don't like fish and chips, which my husband loves, because the fish doesn't taste at all fishy to me. I'll order clam strips or scallops instead.

Another fish I remember eating as a child besides trout was smelt. I can't remember what they tasted like but I remember they were easy to clean. Since the bones cook up to a soft texture, there is no need to take the bones out. You just lop off the head and clean out the entrails. Anbody gagging yet?

Last week I saw smelt in the grocery store and decided to cook some for my son. He's a big fish fan also.

Well when I opened the package, they stunk to high heavens. I checked the expiration date and they were not expired, though they smelled like it.

So I put them on the chopping board and started cleaning them. It's funny how things that didn't bug you as a child, disturb you as an adult. Their little eyes glared at me accusingly as I lopped their heads off. Cleaning out the entrails was a heap of fun too.

After they were cleaned, I breaded them and fried them. My whole kitchen smelled like (as my other dad puts it) something that needed to be cured.

I had hoped they wouldn't taste like they smelled. Bravely, I put one in my mouth. BLEH! Into the trash can they all went excluding the few the dogs ate.

That was some nasty fish. I'm not sure they are supposed to taste that way or smell that way, but I'll leave the fish cooking to the restaurant in the future. Anything in the grocery store with a head on it can stay the heck out of my cart, unless it's a beer.


Blogger badgerdaddy said...

Smell's the test for fish - if it smells bad, it generally is. Fresh fish doesn't smell of much at all; fish that's been around a while stinks like, well, a dead thing.

Sounds to me like you got sold some old fish, which soured a memory if only for a short time. Grrrrrrrr.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Chris H said...

Wonder why they got the name "smelt" ? I agree with badgerdaddy, if it smells like fish, leave it alone!!!

11:13 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

oh, ick. Dogs will eat almost anything, won't they?

6:47 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Oh, man. I can't eat fish. Just never appealed. Your story only reinforced it ;)

We had to dissect one (already dead, thank goodness) in 5th grade.

7:38 AM  
Blogger paula said...

Maybe its like baby poop.

When my kids were babies it never bothered me.

Now? It just makes me gag...

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

old smelt! Yuck.They were probably sea smelts also which are not the same. Ours were from a brook and were eaten the same day.

That's wonderful about Guys training.

Love you all.


10:54 AM  
Blogger Ms.L said...

I think you were brave to try!
Are smelt like Oolichans?? An oily fish prized on my coast(ha,as if I own the whole coast) for it's oil??
I just finished reading a book about Bella Coola natives and learned how they let the fish rot for days(and even weeks) on end,then boil the fish and skim off the oil. I bet that would stink to high heaven too!

1:10 PM  
Blogger Smart Ash said...

Ewwwww, seafood... Guess your tastebuds are-uh-chagin'! And for the better it sounds! HA!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Badgerdaddy - Sounds like I should have followed my nose rather than the expiration date.

Chris H - The name IS fitting.

Liz - Since they lick their own butts, I guess the bar isn't set very high. LOL

Bearette - I hated biology class. Yuck.

Paula - Could be. I might be outgrowing my fishiness.

Ms. L - Sometimes I cook with fish sauce. Maybe it's similar.

Anonymous - I assumed they were from the American River. Probably they were filled with mercury at the very least.

Smart Ash - You're just picky. LOL

10:53 AM  
Blogger MsCellania said...

I happened to serve up some freezer burned wild caught sockeye salmon last week. After everyone went "hmmmmmmm... ?" I looked at their tags. April 2007. Yup - a bit long in the tooth. It was horrible. Not smelly, just bad tasting. I love fish. But it has to be really fresh, which is tricky since we're inland.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

That sounds incredibly nasty. Just the name of it distrubs me. Smelt. Ew.
I don't like fish. The hubby does and wishes I would make it more often. My oldest likes fish with the head still on it. I creeps me out. You are a brave gal.

By the way, pass me one of those beers...

4:03 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I think you missed the expiration date. 2/12/20007 was last year.

4:36 PM  

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