Monday, April 11, 2011

Little Fishies, Goodbye

Last year I decided to explore the world of sardines. I wrote a short piece in my blog about my first wave of tastings.

I had plans to publish my findings in a series of follow-up postings, grouping them into a best, good, and unacceptable, complete with photos of boxes and the contents. In the end I would have a nice little guide to sardines, with most everything one would want to know.

As the spring and summer rolled along I bought sardines wherever I found them - from grocery stores, food coops, TJ's, WF's, etc.  I took pictures and sorted and organized them. I was all ready to roll with the grand story. But then one day I lost all interest in the project.  I suddenly had enough of sardines. I deleted my pictures. I discarded every material piece of evidence. That was it.

But it has always bothered me, just a bit, that I never tidied up the loose ends here. So I will pass along my quick hits.
  1. Sardines packed in sauces - don't go there.
  2. Skinless and boneless sardines are typically dry, even if packed in oil. They may be useful as a part of a dish, but I don't recommended them as a snack out of the can.
  3. Sardines packed in water are bland.
  4. Sardines packed in soybean oil or any other industrial oil are not worth eating.
  5. Sardines packed in olive oil are usually better, but not always, depending on the brand.
  6. Like so many other industries, loss of the small factory leads to ever more blandess and mushy soft fish.  Bumblebee, I'm looking at you.
  7. My favorite: King Oscar two-layer sardines in olive oil. Yes, King Oscar is also owned by Bumblebee and they are now packed in Poland. However, these are the best of the commonly found cans.
  8. And lastly - googling sardines will net you enough quirky blog entries to fill up many an hour you will never see again.