It’s a complex world out there of animal products, and Goonhammer is here to help. Whether it’s ranking the staple animal-based proteins on the market, or when a new type of meat drops and shakes up the game, we’re here for you, our loyal readers.
Look, we know what you’re thinking: This is by far one of our worst pun-based ideas. But Greg gets real pissy if we don’t let him just go to town roasting something, both literally and figuratively, every thirty days or so. And so we present: thinly-veiled invective.
Fish. The lightning rod of meat. In a land-heavy meta some will argue that the humble sea creature will never belong. Aesthetically, they say, it doesn’t fit. These aren’t normal feet! Why is it the wrong color? It’s not gothic enough. To all of these objections, I can only say: who cares.
A fish-based meal skips out of certain parts of the meat game, in order to have its own style. I guess this rubs some old-timers the wrong way, but fish plays beautifully well in the roasting phase, even if it doesn’t have much going for it in the searing or grilling phases. That’s fine! Not everything has to be cooked the same way, and a meat that can’t be braised isn’t taking away your ability to have pot roast. For a long time I was no good at it, because it’s so different, but once you engage with them on their own terms, wet meats can be a fun treat. Fish does best when it does its own thing. Don’t expect to be able to treat it like land-meat and you’ll be fine.
Yes, fish have been overpowering at times. In older metas, it maybe wasn’t a dish that was overly fun for the other diners. Knowing every time you sat at the table that there’d be some kind of fish course lurking on the menu probably got boring, but that happens with every meat: the normal ebb and flow of tastes that change over time. The new science has shown us species with positively gaudy stats, but without knowing the totality of what’s going on, it’s premature to speculate, and no one benefits from dredging up old grudges. That said, here’s a legitimate concern that I have: I don’t super love eating things that I can make eye contact with. Simply build around a cut that doesn’t leave the head attached. Problem solved.
It’s not unheard of to have had a bad experience with a piece of fish that was slightly off, and sometimes that can be a lot to deal with, but maybe enjoy the variety and don’t bully people just because they rolled up to the dinner table with a flavor you personally don’t enjoy. What’s wild to me is that this doesn’t seem to apply to any other meat. We’ve all got a cabinet full of beef and chicken, those are basic staples of the meta, but there are over-tuned newcomers like squib or, I don’t know, bugs, that still manage to elicit more of a quick “not interested” than the visceral long-lasting revulsion that I see with fish. Even the vegetarians don’t seem to get it this bad. With plenty of obscure and obscene choices in the meta these days, what is it about this one particular meat that makes people insane?
Granted, there have been a few talented cooks that really upped their game by switching to fish, and maybe being overwhelmed by them left a bad taste that still lingers in people’s mouths, but most of the time that’s not who you’ll be dealing with. You’re almost always getting a light and flakey piece of meat, and rarely a giant slab full of bones. Maybe some people are out there, still walking around with a chip on their shoulder about the guy who put powerful salmon in the shared microwave and gassed out the entire office, but I don’t think that’s a real concern. How often has that happened, to you, personally, in recent history? I don’t think the haters have an actual basis here, I think they’re just pantomiming what they saw someone online get performatively mad about years ago. Even if they did each all have the traumatic experience of “being proximate to someone else’s lunch one time”, has anyone considered being a fucking adult about it, maybe? The two most tedious things to me are jokes where I see the punchline coming – which is mostly wedging memes into any remotely-relevant discussion and can be easily avoided by thinking to yourself that if your follow-up is going to be “I had to do this”, you do not in fact have to do it – and personalities constructed entirely around hating things. Those couple of hours don’t have to be something you carry around. Your attitude for the rest of your life doesn’t have to be “guy who gets pissed at someone trying to enjoy their meal in peace”.
Imagine someone rocking up to the table with a big plate of delicious fish. Now imagine being a dick to that person. Shameful. Anyway, here’s a recipe or whatever, since it’s been a while:
- Grab a lemon.
- Zest, and then juice (you can do this in the other order but it’ll be way harder), it onto some butter.
- Throw in a spice or two. Salt and pepper, obviously, but also try garlic and maybe a tiny bit of pepper flakes.
- Melt all that together and then pour it on top of a few nice fresh tilapia fillets.
- Throw it in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 400.
I’ll admit, it’s taken me a while to come around on fish. I was a die-hard mammal and shellfish guy for several editions, and I’m only a late convert to this style. I didn’t really play fish, so I never learned how to cook it, but now that I’ve decided to ignore the haters and the losers and live my best life, I think I like it. It’s different, but with a strong alpha strike of Omega-3 fatty acids I think there are some real benefits to be had here. It’s just nice to be trying something new, to shake off the old wisdom and embrace change. Come with me, and boldly stride into a new world.
The new style of fish is not, and the old one rarely was, any more prone to causing distress than any other meat. Go into your next meal against fish with an open mind, it might surprise you. And if it doesn’t, can we all at least agree to not be annoying? Shut up about it and let the other person have their fun.
Thanks for sticking around, and making this column what it is: a little-read corner of this website that exists solely for me to waste your time and get yelled at. If you have questions or comments, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or right here in the comments. Meatwatch is here to help.