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JUST when you thought it was safe to go back to the water for dinner, it’s not.

I’ve been reading all the articles that have been telling me to eat fish, and I’ve been following that advice. A lot of us have. It seems that Americans eat about three billion pounds of fish – or about 13 lbs. per person – each year.

Then a few weeks ago, somebody told me that eating fish can expose you to diseases that the government’s inspection program can’t prevent.

Now, I remember when the family doctor first told me to up my fish intake and lay off the beef and pork. That wasn’t easy for me, since I loved meat. I had to train myself whenever I saw a cow or pig to start thinking “purse” or “wallet” instead of “steak” or “bacon.”

This fish eating business was one of those situations where the beautiful people got the jump on the rest of us. As soon as they heard eating fish was better, they began ordering filet of gray sole and salmon steak, never mind the cost.

Not only was it healthier, it was definitely less fattening, so the beautiful people controlled their thigh bulges along with their cholesterol counts.

Around that time, a lot of them must have visited the Orient and fell in love with the food, because as fast as you can say “raw tuna,” sushi bars started springing up.

If you’ve never been to one, I should explain that sushi bars are little counters where chefs serve raw fish that they’ve sliced up and carefully arranged to look like little flowers so people are willing to eat it.

When I heard there might be some problem with eating fish, I figured we meat-lovers were going to have the last laugh. In fact, I recently read that these days pork is better for you because of something they started taking out if it or something they started putting in it, I’m not sure which.

There’s a silver lining in every cloud, of course. If eating fish really were dangerous, my weekends might become more enjoyable. I spend many of them at our family’s cabin, fishing in the lake, and for the past few years, the fish have become more and more scarce. Maybe all the big fish got sick from eating the little ones.

Whatever the reason, you spend an awful lot of time standing around in your hip boots holding a slack line. This is how bad it is: I use live minnows for bait and now long ago I threw in one who stayed in for so long I considered adopting him as a pet.

I got so worked up about the fish thing that I started avoiding everything with fins, including 1950s Cadillacs. And then my friend finally sent me that article about the dangers of fish. It said that in the past 20 years, 21 people seemed to have passed on after eating oysters. Who knows if it really was the oysters? Maybe they were done in by pork. It looks as if the soundest advice is just to keep playing Russian Roulette with your food and hope you’re not eating dangerous amounts of anything.

For those of you who (like me) are going to be eating fish, here are a couple of hints:

  • When you buy fish, you might like to know that the darker the flesh of the fish, the fattier it is.
  • When you take the fish out of the freezer let it defrost in milk. Milk takes the “fishiness” out when you cook it.
  • To get the canned taste out of canned shrimp, soak them in sherry and vinegar for 15 minutes, then rinse.


PS I pray nobody from Peta is going read this blog. If so,  please be advised I’m giving up meat for Lent.

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