Since being once-and-for-all put off the Mass Meat Industry after seeing Food Inc summer ’09, I’ve made an effort to mend my meat-eating ways.
I’ve ordered 1/4 pig and 10 chickens from a free-range organic farm in Alberta. And I committed to learning to fish..
I haven’t made much progress on this. To date: I went fishing with some friends and a guide last summer and literally prayed I woudn’t catch a damn fish and thank God I didn’t although every other person did and at least the guide was very quick at bonking the flopping living things swiftly so they then became very dead but still it was hard to eat the meat even though it had been deliciously panfried over an open fire and everyone else was pretty much having a fish-eating orgy but I wasn’t.
And that’s as far as it went.
So for 2010, when the opportunity arose to learn how to fillet a fish (bring your own knife; dead fish provided) I thought I should take it to the next level.
I learned a few things.
1. It’s easier to eat a fish that looks like this:
This friends, is what is derisively term a Jackfish, but we prefer to call it Northern Pike. It abounds up here. They are tough-spirited fish, and check out that set of teeth.
2. The steps to filleting a fish are:
a. Cut just behind the gills
b. Cut along the spine, from neck to tail
c. I forget how to get the side of the fish completely off next (I looked away)
d. To skin it, place your knife flat between the skin and the flesh. Keep your knife relatively motionless, but tug the skin towards you. You can cut a hole in the skin to put your thumb through (extra tugging power).
3. The stomach is apparently a delicacy. (I think I threw up in my mouth a bit) (probably politically incorrect)
So here’s what money’s done to me: it’s so disconnected me from the primal life-and-death biology of FOOD that even something as basic as fishing and filleting (we’re not talking pretty goldfish here, much less gentle cattle or smart pigs) has me all disoriented. Pathetic!
In contrast, our instructor was completely at ease.
Do I have any readers who fish?
If so: I wanna know – how did you get past all the squeemish stuff?
Give me a fish and I’ll eat a meal. Teach me to fish and I’ll save a lot of money, eat more healthfully, and live more sustainably. If I can keep it down.