I have been trying to cook more fish these days. When I do my weekly grocery shopping, I look over all the various fish displayed on ice, say eeny meeny miney moe, and pick one to make for that night. Tonight we’re having cod, and I already know the first question my husband will ask: “Is this fish fresh?”
I always answer, “yes,” because it didn’t come out of a Gorton or Mrs. Paul’s package in the frozen foods section. So what if the little signs in front of the fish say previously frozen. I’m just glad that someone else caught it, cleaned it, scaled it, chopped the head off and filleted it. It’s not cooked yet, so, to me, it’s fresh enough.
When I serve steak or pork he doesn’t ask me if the meat is freshly caught, freshly skinned or freshly butchered, so why this concern for fresh fish?
Tonight, as his fork is poised over the cooked fish on his dinner plate, before he even takes a bite, his next question will be: “Where did you buy it?” He asks this question every time I serve fish, and every time I tell him: “I bought it at King Kullen.” Every time. Same question, same answer.
Once I got annoyed at him and asked, “Why do you always ask where I got the fish? Where else would I get it? Do you think I got on a boat this morning and went fishing for it myself?”
“Well, you could have gone to B&B Fish Market. I’m sure the fish is fresher there.”
“Listen, the fish isn’t any fresher at B&B than it is at King Kullen. In the winter, all the fish we buy is previously frozen.”
“Is this fish previously frozen?” he asks. “I thought you said it was fresh.”
I don’t know why I bother to cook fish at all. It’s supposed to be good for the heart, but I get so much anxiety with all the questions and the intimation that I’m not serving something healthy for my family, that I’m better off making cheeseburgers and French fries. My husband chomps down on a cheeseburger and never asks if the cow was grain fed or pumped with antibiotics, allowed to graze free or penned up its whole life. But he wants to know if the fish is farm raised or wild, fresh or previously frozen, purchased in the grocery store or at a fish market.
One day I bought two pounds of haddock fillets from King Kullen for dinner. At 5:00 PM, as I took out the raw fish and began assembling all the ingredients I needed to cook it, my son told me he wouldn’t be home for dinner.
“Oh no!” I said, “I bought all this fish; who’s going to eat it all?”
“Why don’t you put it back in the refrigerator and cook it tomorrow? I’ll be home for dinner then,” he said.
“Are you kidding? Your father would never eat day old fish.”
“How is he going to know? Just shove it in the back of the refrigerator and tell him you bought it fresh.”
So that’s what I did. The next night we sat down to dinner, and I placed the day old, previously frozen, King Kullen grocery store fish on the table.
“What kind of fish is this?” my husband asked.
“Is it fresh?”
I swallowed hard. “Of course.”
He brought his fork up to his mouth for a taste and paused, asking, “Where did you get it?”
“B&B Fish Market. I got it this morning – fresh.”
“Mmmm,” he said, taking a taste. “I can tell.”
“Yes! I can tell the difference. This fish is so flavorful! It’s the best fish you’ve ever made!”