Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fishy-Smelling Graveyards

I was a vegetarian for three years. But when my hair started falling out and my nails began ripping and peeling, I decided it was time to give up my Mom’s special-made veggie chili and veggie meat sauce. I dove right back into the world of meat, eagerly devouring chicken nuggets and filet mignons and pork dumplings (pre-Swine, obvi).

Seven years later, my affinity for turkey tacos, mi amore for my Mom’s (real) meatballs, my absolute relish in annihilating foot long hotdogs – let’s just say it’s still going strong.

However, as creeped out as I get when I pass through the meat department (because really who likes thinking about all those dead animals), it’s the fish section of the supermarket that I find most frightening.
Does Whole Foods (there I go again) really have to put whole fishes on display? The Striped Basses and Red Snappers are macabre enough to keep me away. But seeing row upon row of crass, cloying carcasses is ridiculously revolting.


Why do they have to flaunt the flesh? Remove that skin, please! Pop out those elephantine eyes! Scrape off those scales! Snip, snip those fins and goddamn tails! And the tentacles. The tentacles! I love me some fried calamari but rings only, please.
Those poor orange crustaceans with their little groping antennae – prawnies and crabbies and shrimpies, so sad! And the lobsters – oh boy. Yes, yes, it’s one of my faves too, especially dripping in butter. Or baked with breadcrumbs. So delicioso. But to be boiled! Alive! The humanity.

Now let me just clarify: I do love fish. Especially tuna. Especially raw. Swordfish, tilapia, scallops, mussels – love, love, love, love. However, I just wish the fish counter wasn’t so scary. Why does it have to be such a morbid, ghastly, eerie experience? I don’t want to feel like I’m visiting a fishy-smelling graveyard. I want to feel like I’m shopping for food – like how I feel when I'm buying chicken breasts or flank
steaks or turkey burgers. They're nice and trimmed and displayed in such a fashion that I forget it's animal flesh I'm looking to buy. It's so much easier to pretend you’re not consuming something that once mooed or oinked or gobbled or SWAM when it’s not bam, eyes/fins/tails/scales in your face! Poor Flounder. Poor Sebastian. Poor Nemo!

So please, please, please – take away the carcasses. Make the fishes look neat and pretty and like they never were alive. Conceal them like those Cajun and lemon herb tilapia fillets. Yes, more of that, please. Thanks!

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