PLEASE PACK YOUR BAGS & LEAVE THE KITCHEN

I stopped eating eggs once. For quite a while. Then they got all organic and free range and from the farm. I wasn’t entirely conscious of this - I was a teenager and then into my early 20s and the vernacular at the time was “global village” not “organic lifestyle”. I just started eating them again, and liking them.

Then in my early 20s, the chicken. Using my fingers to pull out fatty deposits under the wings. Or rubbing the breast between my fingers to see where the striations were - why didn’t it feather out? Or peering in dismay as a roast chicken leaked out so much water that it bubbled in the bottom of the pan. I even wrote tirades of how “wrong” chicken seemed. Then the “organic living” movement. And, embarrassingly (as I think my mom might have bleated this info to me) I realised I had been eating .. bad chicken. Not bad, as in the rooster that chases the hens until they are so exhausted they leave the farm (true story). Bad as in gross.

And so - to salmon. From my fishmonger - the same one that a lot of Joburg people use. I used it to make the ottolenghi spicy salmon dish. I felt like there was something wrong. But, you’re not allowed to mock your own food at a dinner party. No one believes you, or it makes people uncomfortable. When I made it again - sans dinner party distractions - I concentrated. When I lifted it from the oven pan, I noticed a rubbery mass - a slightly browned glob. Fat. I poked around the other pieces. More. Not marbled. Glubs of it.

This from a person who orders a sheet of crackling to go with the roast pork and crackling. Obv the fish was farmed, and I didn’t ask. But the problem with salmon - really - is that it has to SWIM upstream. So really I guess, u can only eat wild? And I don’t know who to trust any more. The whole thing about swimming upstream is that the meat is oxygenated. Its exertion, its pumping blood is what makes the muscle nicer and the meat tastier. It’s almost like without its fate - swimming to its death - it doesn’t taste like it should. Its true calling* - i.e. my stomach - has been mired.

  • You don’t honestly think fish are sentient do you?

So. No more salmon until the food-auditors get on this. Luckily I can’t eat cheap sushi anymore. Unluckily, my sushi flavour kicks are now gotten (yes gotten) at a proper Japanese restaurant and it’s way way expensive.

PS - I haven’t even got into the bacteria of farmed sushi. It’ll turn your stomach into two. And is te reason why pregnant women shouldn’t risk sushi. er, cos it’s like poison.