Fish in a tin

Chappy and I were having a bedroom discussion (chortle) that raised the question of tinned pilchards. As in ‘Why the chuff would you eat tinned pilchards when there are other foodstuffs readily available that aren’t a) weird and b) stinky?’

I’ve often encountered Tinned Fish Eaters (as a collective) in the workplace, and whilst I frequently get lunch-envy (as my hastily compiled ham sandwich rarely stacks up against those who can bring in what looks like a three course meal in Tupperware) this never occurs with fish. In a tin.

No-one ever says that they actually enjoy eating fish out of a tin. There are two standard responses to the ‘ooh, that looks interesting’ attempt at conversation on this topic;

  1. ‘Yes, it’s very healthy’
  2. ‘It has Omega 3 in it and that’s good for your brain’

No-one says ‘I bloody love fish in a tin. It’s fantastic’. No one ever has that happy donut face when eating sea-meat from a can. Ever. Apart from cats. And humans, on a rushed thirty minute lunch-break, with the full use of credit card and opposable digits are not cats. You have chuffing options people!

Which brings us to the rare and mystical conundrum, borne of the depths of Atlantis -the canned pilchard. It’s not only an aforementioned fish in a tin (eaten by people who have either lost a bet or believe that we all need to suffer in the misery of their deluded attempts at public dieting), but somewhere along the line, someone decided to encase said fish in tomato sauce.

Fish in a tomato sauce isn’t at first thought controversial -one pairs fish fingers (or ‘fishy-digits’ in our house) with ketchup happily. But to successfully eat a pilchard, you need to ferret out the chuffing huge backbone that inevitably nestles in the aged resting flesh of the fish long-kept captive by canning, and probably remove the bitter skin and weird ‘brown-bits’ that aren’t sure whether they are skin. Or flesh. Or seaweed. This rather renders the tomato sauce a tad pointless if one has to scrape it all off to attend to the pilchard administration before somehow manoeuvring it all back on again.

I am sure there are brave folk out there (‘The Pilchard Adventurers’) who will eat the lot, believing that for one brief moment in the staffroom they are the lunchtime equivalent of Bear Grylls and that survival is everything. If they want to dice with the risk that is hoping their digestive juices can tackle the aforementioned backbone so that they don’t end up crapping the aquatic equivalent of barbed wire 12 hours later then kudos to them. I wouldn’t.

Happily, I drifted off to sleep, knowing that chappie and I at least agree on one thing. That pilchards will never be on the shopping list.


  1. I love fish in a tin , I now see that I have failed as Your parent and I even like the tomato sauce and even the crunch of the bones has a sort of satisfying moment, sardines from a tin on toast yum yum!!!


  2. Fresh sardines

    Sardines are commonly consumed by human beings. Fresh sardines are often grilled, pickled, or smoked, or preserved in cans.

    Sardines are rich in vitamins and minerals.[66] A small serving of sardines once a day can provide 13% of vitamin B2; roughly one-quarter of niacin; and about 150% of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12. All B vitamins help to support proper nervous system function and are used for energy metabolism, or converting food into energy.[67] Also, sardines are high in the major minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, and some trace minerals including iron and selenium.

    Sardines are also a natural source of marine omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.[68] Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.[69][70] These fatty acids can also lower blood sugar levels.[71] They are also a good source of vitamin D,[72] calcium, vitamin B12,[73][74] and protein.

    Because they are low in the food chain, sardines are very low in contaminants, such as mercury, relative to other fish commonly eaten by humans.[75]

    Source -sardined-


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