What Is The Universal Donor?Posted: July 17, 2013
I don’t like fish.
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.
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.