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Fish is Not Food

Fish makes me cringe, and fails on every sensory level. Not only does it taste and smell bad, it has a terrible texture. When it’s being mashed between my molars, I struggle to think of it as food.

People who advocate for fish eating seem to know this down deep. When they push you to taste some of their special fish, they insist you don’t like it because you’ve never had good fish, and they say “It’s really fresh. Not fishy.” Which just proves my point. They are implying that the taste of the thing they are insisting is good, is usually bad. If that weren’t enough, one of the meanings of fishy is “creating doubt or suspicion : QUESTIONABLE” (Merriam Webster). Fish tastes fishy; there is something fishy about fish.

Outside of my hometown, I don’t care if people are bothered by my fish hate. However, here in New Orleans, I try to hide it because people look at me with horror and pity when I tell them I don’t eat fish. Sometimes I think if I said I had a heroin addiction, they would take it better. From fried catfish to blackened redfish, fish is a well-loved local staple with deep cultural roots. Many New Orleanians still eat it every Friday even though the Pope let them off the hook in the 1960s.

I don’t have many food issues beyond fish. I am not a picky eater, and I love to eat many things people find disgusting like beets, cottage cheese, and cilantro. I’ll try anything once, and have eaten frogs’ legs, sea slugs, and escargot. Also, I don’t give anyone a hard time about their food idiosyncrasies no matter how odd or opposite to my own tastes. Except for people who don’t like chocolate. Those people are disturbing.

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