In the two years since I’ve rejoined the meat-eating world after a 15-year absence, I’ve re-immersed in, I’d like to think, a considerable range of flesh. There’s been more chicken than you can shake a drumstick at (sorry, couldn’t resist), turkey, pork, beef and even some new things at tablecloth-ed restaurants like duck and quail. But, I’ve sorely lacked in my embracing of les fruit de la mer and this constantly mocks me on my journey to become the kind of eater that embraces everything edible. (I heard Ruth Reichl say a few weeks ago that the only food she simply will not eat is honey. Just one thing! And it’s honey!)
My issues with seafood are more than an aversion; they’re a reaction. It’s the type of nonsensical thing better explained in a Psychology 101 textbook than a food blog, but it basically unravels like this: I see a spectacular presentation of seafood on a menu or my husband’s plate and I yearn for it, but when a single fork-speared bite gets within an inch of my mouth, I go into bloodhound mode, finding some otherwise undetectable unpalatable “fishiness” and I abruptly panic. It’s such a strong, specific and illogical reaction – to not take a bite of something that appeals to you – I’ve said to my husband (an avid eater of smoked, boiled, broiled, breaded, fried, poached, shelled and de-shelled seafood of every color and shape) on more than one occasion that I wish I could just go to a hypnotist to help me “snap out of it.” He thinks I am kidding; I am not. Never doubt a woman quoting Moonstruck.