Learn to Love Sardines

I don’t mind them myself. Everything I read in the news leads to the conclusion that eating less beef, pork and chicken is good for health and good for the general welfare on a polluted planet.

But fish — always a good choice, right?

Nope. Not when factory fish farming has the same drawbacks as factory chicken farming…

— The wildly popular farm-raised fish known as tilapia may actually harm your heart, thanks to low levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids. FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) Amanda Gardner

[Read the rest of this for good nutrition info.]

Tilapia is only ‘wildly popular’ because it is cheap compared to the increasingly expensive cod and tuna. The article goes on to says that farmed catfish isn’t great either, which doesn’t surprise me because tilapia and catfish both taste like mud. The problem is that the farmed fish are being fed cheap food, maybe stale potato chips or something, and the second law of thermodynamics says you can’t get something for nothing.

I see a frightening trend for the future in the increase in jellyfish recipes. (See ‘Return of the Blob’)

Sardines are still cheap and very nutritious. But the first law of Karma says that what goes around comes around. Pollution, overfishing and global warming may bring us to a point where we’re grateful for pickled jellies. Learn to love wasabi.


7 thoughts on “Learn to Love Sardines

  1. Freshwater fish in general aren’t too good for you.I think tilapia is freshwater,but I’m not sure.I tried it once and it sucked.Sardines in olive oil is super.Unlike chicken skin,fish skin isn’t unhealthy.
    saltwater fish from cold waters are the best to eat.Try arctic char if you ever get the chance.It costs a fortune at Whole Foods,but at Dave’s Marketplce it is much,much cheaper and they get it at the same place.Whole Foods is a ripoff if you ask me.
    Saltwater fish fom warm waters like grouper and mahi-mahi is tricky stuff.Among other things,they are prone to ciguatera poisoning,which cooking doesn’t help,as it would with e coli.Ciguatera poisoning sounds like about as much fun as being stung by a black widow spider.
    Best bets:sardines,mackerel,cod,haddock,halibut,char,wild salmon,flounder,turbot.turbot only comes pre-frozen,but it doesn’t lose flavor or texture.

  2. “Tilapia” is actually a pretty neat animal and is familar to those wacko folks who have aquariums and keep tropical fish. The genus has been raised for decades and young fish of different Tilapia species can frequently be found for sale in good in pet shops. The animal raised on fish farms now includes a couple of species characterized by large size at maturity, rapid growth and tolerance for lots of different water conditions, freshwater to brackish. The group is freshwater in the sense that they originally are from different river systems in Africa and are “cichlids” (sick-lids). Tilapia have become established in different parts of the U.S. as exotic introductions by idiotic owners who let them go in streams, lakes and rivers, or as populations that escaped from aquarium fish operations. There are lots of places in the U.S. where you can catch your own! Tilapia display complex behavior, have preferences for mates (more loyaty than movie or rock stars. Tilapia parents take care of their eggs and hatchlings and display complexities that indicate “intelligence.” It is not known if they tend to be Democrats or Republicans, but thy do seem to be more rational.

  3. Nancy-you scooped Matt Lauer and Ann Curry on this!!They featured a similar story this morning.
    Another fish that is really good,cheap,but not easy to find is skate wings.There no bones,because they are in the shark family and have only cartilege-if you fry them in canola oil with breadcrumbs they are really good.Not “fishy”in the least(and not farmed).

  4. Donald, now I won’t be able to eat Tilapia, they’re too smart. I already can’t eat squid since I saw an octopus go through a maze.
    Joe, thanks for the info, I’ll have to keep a lookout for skate wings and other good cheap fish.

  5. Nancy-I know Whole Foods can get skate wings-they are the only fish they don’t overchage for,by the way.And even though skate and shark are related,the skates are small and don’t get the top of the food chain mercury problems.Octopus and squid,and all cephalopods are cool animals.Cousteau wrote a book on them which I have.I found invertebrate zoology to be one of the best courses I ever took.The chambered nautilus is practically a trip back to palozoic times.And check out the argonaut,which is an octopus-like creature with a papery shell.

  6. I had Dim Sum at the China Pearl in Boston and unknowingly ate jelly fish….it was terrible and I knew immediately I chewed on something inedible.

    Our oceans are being harvested to the point of extinction. For quite some time the environmental groups and scientists have been stating the fishing industry is not limiting the standards (i.e., size, amount etc) to conservation methods that would ensure the preservation. The American Indians took in moderation.

    I didn’t know that about Talipia – I was aware of the catfish issue. Skate Wings sound like they would be ….similar to the thought of pigs feet. Not so sure about that or tripe.

    Argonaut – we have yet to discover the true dimensions these creatures hold – mesmorizing.

  7. Suzanne-skate have a very pleasant flavor-similar to scallops and you can bet they are wild-who would farm them?
    Jellyfish is not a favorite of mine.A friend of mine owned a Chinese Hong Kong barbecue called Lemmy’s that was on Pontiac Avenue right near the Calart Building.They closed up,but they used to serve both jellyfish and cuttlefish(a squid relative)sliced very thin.I found it kind of tasteless and rubbery-it must be that way all the time,because everything else they cooked was really good.I must admit I never tried the intestine.
    I spent time in the Netherlands and the people there eat “nieuwe haring”from sidewalk stands-it is raw marinated herring with chopped onions and pickles.Really hits the spot if you have acid reflux.
    They also eat smoked eel,farmed in Scotland,which is great.
    The Dutch version of fresh sardines are called “sprots” and they come smoked at the same stands.Really different from our sardines in cans and flavorful.Undoubtedly loaded with Omega-3.

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