"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Les poissons, les poissons

I haven't voluntarily eaten red meat in more than ten years. During that time, I've had the odd bit of chicken and sausage, just because it 'smelled so good' (didn't taste as good as it smelled, though!). My vegetarianism started off by being an ethical choice, then a dietary one. I lost sight of my ethical arguments for not eating meat and the choice became more one of 'I can't stand the taste!' than 'save the cows!'

So, for years, I got along fine with veggie proteins like beans, tofu, nuts, and dairy.

Until I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, which pretty much precludes anything dairy... and beans... and nuts... and tofu. My IBS is quite mild and while I have made some concessions to it, and do take it into account when planning my meals, I'm not a slave to it. That said, I just can't eat as much dairy, beans, nuts, and tofu as I once did.

I'd probably be getting enough protein if it weren't for the fact that I work out and am a runner. My trainer and the nutritionist I spoke to suggested that I find a 'light' animal protein I can stand and add it to my diet. Chicken was out of the question, so that left... fish.

I HATED fish as a child but, the more I got away from 'land' meats, the more it became something of a treat to me. I noticed that I was ordering fish more often at the restaurant, was able to eat the same tuna casserole three days in a row without gagging, and had haddock twice a day for four days on a holiday in Maine without getting sick of it. So, I began to add more fish, and seafood, to my diet.

The fish and seafood passed, but just barely. I didn't hate the taste, but it was alien to me. I'd enjoy a meal but 'forget' how much I enjoyed it until the next time I had it, which took me much convincing to have in the first place.

Then came the week when my father died. I was staying with my mother at the time and for ease of convenience in making meals, we had a lot of fish that week (including brand-new-to-me trout). I also had a seafood and fishy meal at the restaurant, and overindulged on grilled shrimp at my grand-mother's. A light bulb clicked on in my taste buds. Suddenly, what had being suspicious and alien was now familiar and delicious! Trout was the first fish I've ever had that made me happy on first taste; my taste buds were jumping up and down with glee!

That was a month ago. Since then, I've made shrimp at home once and I currently have a freezerful of salmon (had it last night, plan on having it tonight, too).

I think my taste buds were getting bored, plain and simple. After years of forcing them to taste Ethiopian and Thai and Greek and Chinese and Japanese and Vietnamese and Lebanese and Mexican and Italian vegetarian fare and who knows what else, there weren't many culinary frontiers left for them to conquer! I think Japanese is what really opened up my taste buds to fish... since I've been able to enjoy sashimi much longer than cooked fish!!!

No comments: