What is going on with sardines? Can I not pop open a can of little fish in mustard sauce anymore, without being faced with fish?
I know that sardines are not a popular treat for many of my midwestern cohorts. In fact, I am usually greeted with a chorus of UGHs when I mention my salty scaled friends. Hoity Toity H, for instance, wrinkles his nose in disgust, and tells the tale of Jim, his former workmate, who ate them for lunch every day with a pack of crackers. "All afternoon, I could smell them on his breath. It almost made me sick to my stomach." Which makes me wonder why HTH was close enough to Jim to smell his breath all afternoon. It's not like they were digging a tunnel under Stalag 17. Or manning a space shuttle mission. Or rehearsing for Dancing with the Stars. Or performing endoscopies on each other's upper digestive tract. They repaired broken sawblade-manufacturing machines in a factory. Perhaps Jim was a close-talker.
Unlike Jim, I prefer a nice plain bagel, or perhaps a honey-wheat Hawaiian roll with my sardines. Just to sop up the mustardy goodness. Not for me those tomato sauce sardines. That's just crazy. Who wants red sauce on their fish? Unless it's cocktail sauce on shrimp. Now that's perfectly understandable.
My issue with the current crop of sardines has been ongoing for the past couple of years. It all started when I peeled back the lid and saw...fish. I was expecting four svelte little minnow bodies, tails attached at times, spooning in a mustard bath. But what I found was two husky torsos, two inches wide, hefty specimens of my formerly delicate fingerlings. I call shenanigans!
Where are my sweet, petite sardines? Do the trawlers have to use nets with bigger holes in order to save some obscure species of sea-kitten? Is PETA behind this conspiracy? Is Andrew Zimmern on the loose in the North Atlantic? If I wanted to eat fish, I'd eat fish. Not sardines. The unfortunate transformation of my healthy repast of calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids has given me pause. While I used to enjoy an occasional crunch as I bit through the tiny bones of my unwitting grub, I do not relish chomping on the unwieldy T. rex-sized vertebrae of the new sardines.
Maybe it's the brand. I've always landed my delicious nondangerous catch at Save A Lot. Could they have switched suppliers? Would I have better luck at The Devil's Playground? The Devil might have the cans with the little key to roll back the top. That takes me back to my childhood sardine-slurping days.
I'll have to investigate further. Perhaps an expose' is in order.