Eating Bait

I like to call myself an adventurous eater, right up until I turn on an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s travel show “Bizarre Foods” and watch him scarf down sheep earlobes, or chunks of raw camel that’s been sitting unrefrigerated in the Ethiopian sun, with flies being fanned away by the butcher. (He didn’t like it, by the way.) Smacking one’s lips and saying “you can really tell you’re eating stomach” isn’t likely to win me over. 20120522-204442.jpg

I went to London with friends a few years ago, primarily to attend the first non-US TAM (The Amazing Meeting) with friends. One afternoon we took a boat trip down to Greenwich and had lunch at the Trafalgar Tavern, a place that opened in 1837 and served the society of London for many years, including one of my favorite authors, Charles Dickens. This being a pub, we decided to have a pint and a snack of fish and chips. We ended up ordering a local favorites, whitebait.

“Fish” and chips

At the time, I decided that I was eating deep-fried minnows with a mild remoulade sauce. I could see the eyeballs. Little, crunchy eyeballs that popped when you ate them. But I wasn’t about to be squeamish when everyone else was digging in. Also, two pints helped wash them down. Pints of pulled cask ales, to be exact. Yummy, creamy, delicious pints of pulled cask ales. Glorious, soft…OK, I digress. A couple years later, I saw a package of these “whitebait” fishes. They were translucent wormy-looking things with black dots for eyes which made my throat close up just looking at them.

Standing with Lord Nelson. He didn’t like whitebait, either

According to the Wiki article, fishing for whitebait is unsustainable and harmful since they are the immature fry of larger species. Now I can feel smug about never ordering it again. By the way, you are eating the entire fish, guts and all. Just saying.

Categories: Food, Friends, Travel

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