Sunday, April 5, 2009

The little Alaskan secret

Ok Friends,
I can't stand thinking for another minute about what you don't know. About fish. Pink salmon to be specific. It has come time for me as an Alaskan to explain the painful truth about pink salmon in a can you would buy at the grocery store...(pouched fish doesn't rank much better). (Of course, this is one humble opinion--other Alaskans may have other opinions)

Lesson One: The fish
Salmon that is processed through a cannery is ranked/graded as it is gutted and treated by the cannery workers. Pink salmon is salmon that is spawning and on death's door. It looks like this fish on my key chain picture I took for you. I should know. I spent a summer at the cannery and my job was to pull guts out of the fish as well as pull the strings of fish eggs from the fish guts--a highly coveted position I might add.

Fish were ranked based on how gross they were by the time they got to us. The Japanese business men bought the best grades, and the worst ranks ended up as canned salmon. The kind that you can chop up and not notice the seal bites out of it's flesh. Or their fins were only "mostly" rotted off. The kind you get at the store.

This fish below is known as a "humpy" or "pink salmon". Wiki it. It is there.

Lesson Two: Fish in the can or pouch

So now you know that the worst grade fish are in those cans and pouches. Also, the words "Fancy Alaskan Pink Salmon" are really oxymorons. Fancy, spawning, dying fish? Most dying anything isn't too fancy.

Lesson Three: Maybe, Maybe Not

This is a package of fish I saw in the grocery store that started this whole diatribe. This is the labeling on the back. Can anyone explain how "Fancy Alaska Pink Salmon" is a product of Thailand but is distributed by way of Seattle, a few thousand miles away? :)

The point is I want you to know what you are really eating. If you are a salmon lover, it might be worth the couple bucks more a pound to buy "fresh" (translation: frozen less than a year) salmon from the deli in th back of the store that is really worth eating.

I'm here to help. :) Just call me "helper."