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People who blanket-veto seafood


Hassouni
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... I specifically stated that this was *my* experience, not that of WWC, which sounds like a phrase one learns in a social sciences class, btw.

You started out by telling me that what I said wasn't correct, which is a little more than that, isn't it ? I hope that's there's room for both my general observation and your personal experience to be valid.

If you don't mind my elbowing my way into your conversation with Jaymes, it's the privilege of the world's dominant people to be disliked by all the others, unfortunately. "Your turn in the barrel" as sailors say :unsure:

For my own part, I have no animosity towards Americans in general, and take you as I find you individually, same way I take everyone else. Even social scientists, underclass though some may consider them.

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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So I grew up in the US, with an American father and an Iraqi-but-Westernized mother. Because of my international upbringing, I travelled a lot as a kid and still do, and I grew up eating and loving seafood of all kinds - currently I'd much rather eat fish than meat on any given day. A lot of my friends here, that grew up "more American" than I did, will NOT eat seafood - fish, bivalves, crustaceans, you name it. Sometimes canned tuna is OK, sometimes not. Even my dad, who likes fish, and most shellfish, won't go near squid, octopus, or scallops, is indifferent to mussels, and even though he likes fish, really dislikes fish with bones, whereas I feel bones are part of the experience.

. . . . What is it with America/ns and fish? I'm sure I'm not the only person to encounter this, and it's not that the friends I've mentioned are necessarily picky eaters who only eat pasta and peanut butter - they love Lebanese food, Sichuanese ma la spice, etc.

I really don't get the impression that a dislike of seafood and fish is more characteristic of the US population than many others.

You mention travelling a lot, and now I'm curious as to which countries you visited extensively (perhaps their culinary traditions are intrinsically more seafood-based?).

I've also travelled a good deal since I was a child, and although I've encountered a number of Americans who at least claimed to dislike seafood/fish, in terms of percent of the general population, it doesn't seem as though it is any different from any other culture whose culinary traditions are not based on seafood or fish. Someone's dislike of fish seems to be equally worthy of note in the US, Italy, a Middle Eastern country in which I lived (unidentified because they're apparently all controversial at this time, and I've no desire to inadvertently sidetrack the discussion into a political arena), and Denmark (i.e. the only countries in which I've spent enough time to have more than a visitor's perception of this). The fact that vetoing fish on one's plate is considered worth mentioning suggests that it does not represent majority taste (if it did, no one would mention it, since it would be the norm).

. . . .

If you don't mind my elbowing my way into your conversation with Jaymes, it's the privilege of the world's dominant people to be disliked by all the others, unfortunately. "Your turn in the barrel" as sailors say :unsure:

For my own part, I have no animosity towards Americans in general, and take you as I find you individually, same way I take everyone else. Even social scientists, underclass though some may consider them.

As I mentioned, I've travelled a lot, if not particularly broadly (mostly the US and EU), but I can't say I've encountered any anti-US feeling first hand, although I've heard a good deal about it (yes, I'm American, as well as another nationality, third generation born in NYC, in fact). I'm not denying that it exists, but am starting to suspect that anti-fish feeling is far more common :wink:

Getting back to fish, you mentioned previously that Dover Sole improves with some days holding: Does it get fishier, or does it change in some other way? Is it held in the refrigerator?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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... As I mentioned, I've travelled a lot, if not particularly broadly (mostly the US and EU), but I can't say I've encountered any anti-US feeling first hand, although I've heard a good deal about it (yes, I'm American, as well as another nationality, third generation born in NYC, in fact). I'm not denying that it exists, but am starting to suspect that anti-fish feeling is far more common :wink:

Getting back to fish, you mentioned previously that Dover Sole improves with some days holding: Does it get fishier, or does it change in some other way? Is it held in the refrigerator?

Ha ha :smile:

Yes, held cold - in the fridge, or on ice if you're old-fashioned. You've caught me with my Jane Grigson's Fish Book (thoroughly recommended, especially living where you are) packed in a box out of reach. Ummm... the flavour improves <imagine more detailed reply here>. It's quite a local species, and living this far from the Le Manche I've not had chance to practise and refine this particular nugget of wisdom.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Before this thread disappears... Holding flatfish for aging is tricky business because its fillets are so thin, and it can quickly turn from a beautiful, sweet, delicate flavor to something more suitable to being buried in the compost pile.

Especially considering its price, it's better to eat while fresh than take a chance on turning too fast. It has such a fine flavor that I always just quickly sauté in some butter.

Edited by Country (log)
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Fish sticks are the reason that many Americans don't like fish. My wife's family never had good fish unless they were visiting her father's relatives in New England. According to her, they never had anything but frozen fish sticks during her entire childhood. To this day neither my wife or her siblings ever expresses any desire to eat any seafood, and on the infrequent occasions that they have some which is reasonably good, they always comment on how odd of an experience it was.

I'll catch it now, but I like fish sticks. :biggrin:

I'll join you, I like them too. With tartar sauce. Not my first choice now, but I credit them as being the first step on the slippery slope of learning to love fish as a kid.

Me too. Fish sticks, and their close relative, the breaded, fried/baked fish fillets (also served with tartar sauce) were among my favorite school lunches as a lad in the early '80s.

We had fresh fish somewhat frequently at dinner when I was growing up, but it took me until adulthood to really appreciate it. Now I love it.

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From a kid perspective, fish sticks were a huge step up from the sort of fish we had routinely at our house - and that was some sort of fish that my dad and uncles had caught and my dad had pan-fried - trout, perch, bass, catfish, etc.

I could see how it might be considered tasty when I first put it into my mouth but, after getting a bone or two stuck in my throat, I had to chew it until any appealing flavor or texture was long gone. Not to mention the feeling of being in mortal danger, should I swallow too soon - hardly conducive to an enjoyable meal.

So, like I said, fish sticks were a huge step up from that. No bones. The crunchy bits were tasty and not sharp and didn't get stuck in your throat. You dipped them into catsup. You had hush puppies and/or french fries alongside.

What's not to like?

When it came time to feed my own kids, I stepped up a notch from "fish sticks" to breaded fish filets made with some sort of discernible fish, like cod or flounder. My kids all love fish now, just like the rest of the family. I will say that I agree that one's fondness for fish is fairly directly relatable to the region in which one was reared. As somebody pointed out, all of England could fit easily into the US deep-south Gulf-states, where eating fish is hugely popular, and there are many, many seafood eateries. The same is true for the rest of our coastline states.

And if you don't think the average American likes seafood, go spend some time in Alaska. I lived there for several years and I can assure you that the place is full of Americans and they all have freezers full of salmon, halibut, crab, cod, grayling, etc. Their love of fish is legendary. I'd put it up against anyone's.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Fish sticks are probably responsible for me ending up liking to eat fish. I grew up in western NH in the 40's and 50's, before insulated, refrigerated, fish trucking began, and back then fish labeled as "fresh" from the coast was anything but fresh. So my mother, who was a very good cook, made things like "salmon loaf" made from canned salmon. If one wants a definition of "Yuck!", salmon loaf from canned salmon comes pretty close.

Gorton's fish sticks changed that. :smile:

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "In the United States, coastal counties constitute only 17 percent of the total land area (not including Alaska), but account for 53 percent of the total population."

That's a lot of people living on coasts. I grew up pretty close to the ocean, but not in a coastal county. Even still we ate crabs by the bushel all the time and a lot of fish. I can't think of anyone in my entire extended family that dislikes fish, and those I'm closest to are avid fishermen/fisherwomen (though mainly for sport) and eaters of fish. I'm not saying that's representative of America, but America is huge and contains so many various geographical regions and cultures to go along with it, that it can be really hard to generalize.

One illusion is the idea that the East and West coasts of the country are not representative of the country as a whole. Of course not, but there are a lot of people that live there. It is a commonplace of a certain kind of political attitude to say that "America's Heartland" is more representative of the US, and that people who live on the East/West coasts are marginal. This is not really true: both the interior of the country and its coastal populations are equally representative, if often very different. They have different American foodways. So the question "Do American's dislike fish?" is much more analogous to the preposterous question "Do the Chinese dislike fish?" than an analogy to England or Germany.

So anyway, I wonder what percentage of that 53% living on coasts likes fish and which doesn't? I would also be interested to find out why they dislike it if they do. Maybe it's personal taste and maybe it's a bad experience.

Personally, I think it's because fish can be difficult to handle (it goes off very very easily) and the some of the best ways to prepare it (poach, en papillote, raw or just kissed by a touch of heat, etc) are not the ways you cook more common proteins (beef/pork/chicken). Also, it's economics. I can get good fish here in the midwest, but it is really really expensive. That's going to work against a lot of people even having more than passing contact with it, and passing contact breeds prejudice more often than not.

nunc est bibendum...

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It is a commonplace of a certain kind of political attitude to say that "America's Heartland" is more representative of the US, and that people who live on the East/West coasts are marginal.

And by this, may I assume that you are referring to those residents of the East/West coasts that disdainfully call the rest of the US "Flyover Country," full of unsophisticated, provincial, not-terribly-bright, red-meat-and-potato-eating rubes who are, in fact, less than marginal, and frankly matter not at all?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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When I speak from my experiences, that's as growing up in the East Coast (DC). Most of the veto-ers I know are from the coast too - the two that stick out most are actually from Tampa and the Jersey shore, so right on the ocean/Gulf, so I'm not sure there's a correlation between access to fresh seafood and acceptance/appreciation of it.

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When I speak from my experiences, that's as growing up in the East Coast (DC). Most of the veto-ers I know are from the coast too - the two that stick out most are actually from Tampa and the Jersey shore, so right on the ocean/Gulf, so I'm not sure there's a correlation between access to fresh seafood and acceptance/appreciation of it.

Well then, hey... Who the hell knows.

:laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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It is a commonplace of a certain kind of political attitude to say that "America's Heartland" is more representative of the US, and that people who live on the East/West coasts are marginal.

And by this, may I assume that you are referring to those residents of the East/West coasts that disdainfully call the rest of the US "Flyover Country," full of unsophisticated, provincial, not-terribly-bright, red-meat-and-potato-eating rubes who are, in fact, less than marginal, and frankly matter not at all?

Oh yes. But it goes both ways too doesn't it? Some of the younger folk where I live like to proudly proclaim themselves Sconnies. This is in reaction to the timidly derogatory (but more playful than not I think) term Coastie. A mild example.

Before I moved to the midwest, I had all kinds of prejudices about it. I'd never been here even once before, so all I had to go on was what I could imagine. The sources of my imagination were a little cartoonish as you might expect. But then you live and learn and I did. I love it here.

That's why, even if it may sometimes be true, you can't really say, in this day and age at least when airplanes can fly us fish in a couple of days even in the middle of the country, that landlocked midwesterners (or whoever) don't like fish. I've met plenty who do. Though of course their liking fish is not the same as mine, and mine's not the same as someone from Seattle's, etc.

nunc est bibendum...

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How about we attempt an empirical approach to gauge the broad interest Americans have in seafood.

U.S. Catch in 2009: 10.4 Billion Pounds

Imports in 2009: 5.5 Billion Pounds

Exports in 2009: <2.7> Billion Pounds

Total US Consumption: 13.2 Billion Pounds

Global Consumption: 318.8 Billion Pounds

US Consumption %: 4.1 %

US % of World Population: 4.5 %

Overall it seems the U.S. consumes a tad less seafood per capita than the average. However, without having Median stats, and Human Consumption vs. other uses stats it is too difficult to draw many conclusions...

Does China's love for seafood so dramatically skew the average that the U.S. is actually in the Top 25%

Are small scale fishing activities in lesser developed countries even included? I.e., is the Global Consumption figure really much higher than reported because there are not reliable stats on traditional communities along the coasts of Latin America, Africa & Asia?

The number two species harvested for U.S. consumption, Menhaden is almost entirely used to make Fish Oil & Fish Meal

Nonetheless... we can safely say the U.S. is not exactly a seafood eating super power... but also not seafood abstainers either. Although based on the Species caught & consumed we may be Seafood "prudes"... Fish Stick & Tuna Salad sandwich lovers seem to dominate the rest of us... as Pollock is the number species (by far) consumed in the U.S., while canned tuna is the #1 import (by far)

All stats available at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website

http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/fus/fus10/highlight2010.pdf

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Who is buying seafood in the U.S?

http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st5/seafood/documents/who_is_eating_seafood.pdf

Apparently Americans are more likely to grab seafood at a restaurant than cook it.

There are some regional differences with the Northeast consuming it more frequently, and Midwest consuming it less frequently...

There are ethnic differences with Asians, Pacific Islanders etc., consuming it in greater frequencies & Whites & Hispanics bring up the rear*

* With Hispanic consumption there could be a generational / language bias... if the polls are telephone interviews conducted in English it would exclude most recent immigrant households which in my own particular experience in East L.A. seem to consume much more seafood than say 3rd Generation Mexican-Americans etc., It is very clear when you eat at Mexican-American restaurants which almost never have any seafood on the menu vs. Authentic Mexican restaurants which often have a wide range of seafood preps (Ceviche, Shrimp in various Sauces, Fish & Mollusk soups etc.,)

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I come from a sea town on the Ionian sea, in the South of Italy. I grew up eating fish, any kind, cooked in different ways.

Our eating of fish was very simple, the fish was so fresh that nothing needed to be done to it...

Then I moved to the States, to the UK and now to the French riviera. Nowadays, I almost dislike fish, or better, the most of the times the idea of eating fish is revolting to me. I just went back to my hometown last month. Well, I tell you, I enjoyed my fish very much. We went to this little town called Savelletri, wild beaches with some restaurants. Sea urchins, raw mussels, oysters, delicious octopus beaten on the rocks nearby, very fresh prawns on the grill. Everything very simple, the fish was just very fresh.

Here I cannot bring myself to like fish, distribution is centralized. I LOVE mackarel, every time I buy it I feel disgusted. And I think I have a better option than many people in the States. Every weekend we go to Nice or Menton to have fruit de mer, sometimes I'm happy, other time not so much. I had better luck with fish in the UK but I used to live in front of Billinsgate market. In the States I really miss my Maryland blue crabs.

If I buy a holiday house in Apulia, maybe I'll start enjoying my fish again.

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