Fried Fish and Me

I pride myself in my ability to witness to an extent those things which appear gross to others. I don’t mind looking at wounds or deep cuts hidden behind swathes of bandages. And I am not disgusted by those scenes in Man vs. Wild – a favourite show of mine – in which worms and insects are eaten alive. I also enjoy popping pimples and boils until that greenish-white pus oozes out, much to my satisfaction and the onlookers’ disapproval. But there is one thing which I can’t tolerate and that is a fish.

I am not a vegetarian, nor an animal lover. I don’t exhibit sympathy or affection for animals for too long; I have matters of much more importance to attend to. I don’t think about those animals which were fated to appear on my plate, and even if I do, it doesn’t matter much. 

Unless it is a fish.

It’s mostly because of the smell that I prefer not to eat it. My aversion to that smell is so extreme that it makes me lose my appetite and lock myself in my room until every morsel has been wiped clean off everyone’s plates.

Mostly I am nauseated only when I have consumed too much of fried food or chocolate cake, and sometimes before I reach the examination centre. But never do I feel sick on an empty stomach, much less at the prospect of having food.

Unless fish is being served.

The smell isn’t the only factor that stimulates such a reaction. It is the sight of that fish on the plate with all its fins removed and a V-shaped hole in place of its head. It is next to impossible to imagine the original form of those little pices of meat floating amidst all that curry, never hinting that they are the parts of a large animal now deceased. It’s harmless dead-meat that you’re eating, nothing else. You don’t consider the process involved in bringing an animal right into your plate; it’s there before you, roasted or curried, exuding delicious smells, waiting to be tasted and pronounced superb, and that’s all that matters to your growling stomach.

Unless you’re eating fish.

When I look at the fried remains of the fish, I’m at once reminded of its live contemporaries. I imagine the fish swimming gracefully and braving the currents, its scales shining under the afternoon sun mellowed by the film of water above the fish. And then it’s trapped in a net, swooped upwards out of the water, and life slowlh ebbs out of it with each breadth not taken. (Yes, I know I am exaggerating but it sounded nice to me so I included it.) But the fish on the plate bears a stark resemblance to its former self and I can’t help pitying it.

As I have earlier mentioned my lack of sympathy for animal-kind, the following question arises: What generates a compassion for fishes in me? I would have thought it was because of Nemo, the clownfish, but it’s not that. I have watched Charlotte’s Web and have liked it too but that doesn’t mean that I will hesitate before eating pork or bacon or ham or any other word related to pig’s meat. I haven’t tried it but am super confident in my ability to digest it without throwing up which would not have been the case had I been eating fish instead. 

I think it’s those mermaids that did this. They are part fish, and eating a part of those creatures which have been loved by my past self (for I loved mermaid stories when I was small), is unthinkable. That’s the only reason I can attribute to my extreme dislike for fishes.

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15 thoughts on “Fried Fish and Me

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  1. Your musings are always read by me like good old stories I used to enjoy. As to fish or any other dishes disliked by people I don’t know what to take into account here more – taste, immunity, imagination, unlucky “firsts”, colors, shapes, etc. ~ I like fish but beware of the bones. ~

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    1. For the first part, thank you. As for the second part, all except for immunity and colour could be the factors responsible for my aversion, at least. And yes, bones, though I didn’t keep in mind to mention them, make eating fish awfully tedious.I had read in the Arabian Nights about how a person died after a bone from the fish he had eaten got stuck in his throat. That could be a reason too.

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      1. Then you have to know why I detest Hemingway, for instance. Making me read him in the mean time was totally tedious. And only now I understand why, that is his perverted understanding and attitude to nature and people and himself and other hidden things and “bones”. I tell about palatal and emotional enjoyment, tongue perception. I do not care about the name of the “dish”, nor the name of the person but how it is served and what I can feel after I had tasted it. I understand it pretty well that I can insult both the maker and the fans with my remarks and suggestions how it should be done to appease my own appetite. Very good, girl. I mean your sense of humour and your senses flavoured with the reasonable arguments. ~ Have a nice rest of the day and a delicious supper. ~

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  2. Have you ever had suckling or spit roast pig? Maybe you would also be adverse to the sight of the whole pig being cooked.

    You’re right though. Fish is tricky. I like fish and chips but it’s hard to associate those batter covered things with living fish. Have you tried sashimi? It’s raw fish but it looks very pretty, more like flower petals than fish.

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    1. I have never eaten pig meat (Why!?!) But I would like to and I would never know if I like it unless I eat it. Since there is no evidence of my dislike for pigs, I like to believe that I would find them good for my tummy.
      Eating it is a very tedious process what with all those prickly bones. I haven’t tried sashimi but the prospect of eating raw fish doesn’t seem too nice😉.
      Thanks for commenting.

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      1. At least there’s no bones in sashimi 🙂

        You mentioned in your post that you haven’t eaten pork and from what you’ve said there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it. Maybe your mum doesn’t like pork – I don’t cook things I don’t like and so my kids are missing out on trying them. I’m sure you’d like bacon, there is nothing better than bacon.

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      2. Oh! We don’t cook pork in my house so when I try it, it will be somewhere out, and hopefully my first time trying it out in a restaurant would be better than if we experiment cooking it at home. I will surely try out bacon whenever I get the chance😊.

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  3. As always, well expressed, Vish! The feelings that you have for fish are exactly my feelings for everything other than fish. When I see any other animal on my plate, I imagine the plight and the pain that this animal (which was living, breathing and eating like us) had to undergo just for our ingestion.
    I hope that will not to dissuade you from eating the palatable animals!

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