What Is The Universal Donor?

I don’t like fish.

fish in the seafood section in the Han Ah Reum...

I’m sure they’ve got a lovely, mind taste. No, I don’t want to try some. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As individuals, I’m sure they’re just fine. Collectively, as a food source, I’m not a fan of them. You won’t see a seafood block on my personal food pyramid. I don’t like fish. I won’t eat them.

Not eating seafood places me in the minority. Once, I was shy about that. Younger me went through a period of telling people that I was allergic to fish. That seemed easier at first. Then I realized that making that statement garnered further questioning –

  • what about shrimp?
  • what about salmon?
  • even freshwater fish?

The allergy excuse was not any easier than telling the truth. Looking back, I’ve got to admit it was sort of an insensitive excuse. I’m going to give myself a pass on it – I did it in the ’80s. It was a different time and I was a different person. Yeah, that’s it.

So now I just say I don’t eat fish. My close friends love me in spite of it. Those I’m just getting to know are surprised and react with questions like “why?” and “have you ever tried it?” The answers are “because” and “yes’.

Because I don’t like the taste of fish, I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. I see that people who do like the taste enjoy eating fish very much. I’m pleased for them. Unfortunately, some folks insist that I must learn to enjoy what they do. I’ve heard them all:

  • you don’t know what you’re missing
  • try this, it is very mild.
  • you just haven’t had it cooked right

Fish fans are often relentless. But talking me into enjoying a particular taste is like talking me into having green eyes. My eyes will always be brown. No description of the benefits of green is going to change my eye color. Insisting that I have a bite of your fish is not going to change the way my taste buds react to it, nor will it stop the gagging.

After the debacle of my fake fish allergy, I did not give up on looking for ways to make my life as a non-fish eater easier. I tried to condense my “I don’t like fish” policy into a form that eliminated questions. I now tell people I don’t eat anything that didn’t have feet or roots and live on land. I had to add the live on land clause to handle the crab and lobster lobby.

English: A chicken running Français : Un poule...

Chickens fear me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More importantly, I wanted to find a way to make sure my friends still got their fish fix when we went to dinner together. Sometimes I’d hear “I’d like fish, but Oma doesn’t eat it.” I want people to have what they want. I want what I want too.

What fish lovers don’t know is that there are always other choices on the menu. They don’t go to a fish restaurant for those other choices, so they don’t notice them. I do. Because I do, I know that every fish joint has at least one chicken dish.

I can get chicken anywhere and be as content as you with your cedar planked salmon. For me, chicken is the universal donor. Since I’ve passed that idea on to my buddies, we dine in peace. I know they’re enjoying themselves, and I don’t have to point out that a mild fish is still a fish.



32 Comments on “What Is The Universal Donor?”

  1. List of X says:

    I was going to at least try to convince you to try smoked fish, but then I remembered that I myself don’t eat cooked vegetables (and don’t eat some in any shape or form), so no, please don’t try smoked fish either.

  2. Daile says:

    The only answer to the question “why?” is “because”

    What about canned fish? Hahaha

  3. I’m sure if you just tried having green eyes, you would like it.

    • After I walked away, I realized this might run more deeply than I thought.. You might be able to tell a lot about a person from their fish insistency. To wit . . .

      A little over a year ago, I briefly dated a really neat fella. He was just that into me. People who’d seen us together said so, in frequent email/phone check-ins…”Soooo???How’s it goin’???? He’s obviously so into you.” I had to agree that he seemed somewhat over-the-moon as the old folks say.

      Then one night I skipped one of The Rules and accepted a last minute dinner invitation. It was lovely except that he had a sushi appetizer and I declined to share, for reasons that had more to do with calorie-counting than any sort of fish prejudice.

      I never heard from him again.

      Thank you for giving me this opportunity to say, “I am Hippie Cahier and sometimes I do not eat fish and that is ok.”

      Whew. I feel better.

      • omawarisan says:

        What? That doesn’t make any sense. Now if you just presumed and grabbed some of his sushi, I’d have to rule in his favor. In this circumstance I am holding that appetizer denial is insufficient grounds for his action.

  4. Dream says:

    I get it. I’m not a fish fan either, except for fast food (which I’m not sure even qualifies as fish).

  5. Chris B. says:

    Wow! I so know what you mean with the questioning, and the temptation to claim your dislike of a food is an allergy. For me, replace fish with egg.

  6. Thank goodness for the crab clause. I was starting to worry.

    This is just one more thing that proves you’re my dad. I don’t like fish either. Just crab. And fish sticks…covered in ketchup, so that really doesn’t count as fish.

    • omawarisan says:

      If you put so much ketchup on fish that the fish became incidental I might be able to eat the fish. The ratio should be at least a gallon per fish stick.

  7. sarahnsh says:

    I don’t like fish either but I have always loved to go fishing. Fish eaters do try to get you to eat a bite, maybe it isn’t cooked right, all those excuses, but if you don’t like something you just don’t. I have to tell people I don’t eat fish or vegetables… The vegetables affliction gets a lot of those “just try it, you don’t know what you’re missing, what?!!!” Kind of reactions too. I will eat corn as a vegetable but I’ve been told that doesn’t count, it’s a ‘starch’, or some hub bub like that.

  8. Agreed. Chicken is the universal donor. I do eat fish and some I quite like. A lot I can’t even stand the smell or look of. Sushi…will never even be tasted by me. I once went to New York with one of my best friends who was determined to get me to eat Sushi. He took me to the best Sushi joint in New York and I stood outside the window and watched him eat.

  9. lbwoodgate says:

    You could also tell them that a study found unsafe mercury levels in 84 percent of all fish. Not only would this justify your position, it might also serve them to watch how much fish they ate. You could be viewed as a true humanitarian. 🙂

  10. Not liking to eat fish spares you the flipside of the guilt I feel as someone who would happily eat fish or seafood everyday, of helping to deplete the oceans. Living out here on the coast of our fair state, I have heard fishermen talk about how they have to go further and further ( wait, is it farther?) out to get their catch. And I keep hearing how the ocean is going to be full of nothing but jellyfish in another 100 years, and then what will all the poor Cetaceans eat? And then I wound up crying over the documentary about the sharks who get their fins cut off and thrown back alive in the water to slowly sink to the bottom. Every time I sit down in one of the several new sushi places that have opened in the last year I think “Where is all this sushi coming from??” The guilt overwhelms me. I need to just become a vegetarian and be done with it.
    So, to finally get to my point, I don’t think you should feel bad at all.
    p.s. I really liked the chicken photo.

    • omawarisan says:

      Auugh, the shark thing is so awful, isn’t it. They always fascinated me, then I went on a couple scuba dives where I got to feed them. So beautiful and powerful.

      I’ll not feel bad now!

      Welcome to Blurt.

      • knace says:

        Actually, it is just me, knace. I wasn’t trying to be sneaky, I just clicked on the FB log in on a whim – and because I was too lazy to type in my WP password.

  11. Debbie says:

    I happen to love fish (comes in handy when you’re a Catholic!). That said, I’d never pressure anybody else to like it. Eating fish or being Catholic. It’s personal, you know, and I’m just like that. Live and let live!

  12. Linda Sand says:

    I thought I liked shrimp until a server brought me a plate full with their heads and feelers still on them. I could not even come close to eating them. Ugh, makes me shudder just to remember that.

  13. Not a fish fan either. Shrimp and oysters, yes. Fish, no.

  14. What about guppies? I bet you haven’t had a guppy cooked right. Not much meat on them, but that’s why they breed so fast.

  15. Laura says:

    I hated fish throughout my whole childhood, but during my first week at college, some of my new friends dragged me to a seafood restaurant and told me I had to try the fish chowder. It’s like the first bite of that soup flipped a switch in my brain — I’ve liked fish ever since.

    On the other hand, I’ve always hated olives. Every few years, someone convinces me to try one, and every time, it tastes just as bad as all the olives that came before it.

  16. There should be a policy: No questioning adults about their food choice or what is left on there plate at the end of a meal, or how much sugar they put in their ice tea. And unless you’re my mother insisting I take a bite, just a small bite, is going to annoy me. For the obvious reason, it’s rude.

  17. Blogdramedy says:

    I’m with you. Not a big fish fan. I’m not part of that group(er.)

  18. Katie says:

    You’re my hero for this. I don’t like fish, either, and people are always trying to convert me.

    • omawarisan says:

      Have you figured out why it is so important to them to convert us? I never feel compelled to say “just try the corn, I promise if you give it a chance you’ll like it.

  19. […] I don’t eat fish. No, not even mild fish. No, not shrimp. No fish, ever. […]

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