Fish sticks and politics

I’m trying to clean out the freezer a bit, so the next thing
on the menu for the next few weeks is whatever seems to be on the bottom, back,
or mysteriously wrapped. Last night I pulled out a long package of freezer
paper, and we had cod for dinner tonight. Now, the kids don’t really like fish
(they keep telling us), but they like fish-sticks,
so any time we have fish, regardless of preparation method or species, it’s cut
into fairly regular sized things that could arguably be called “sticks,” and
voila! “Fish-sticks,” we tell them.

Not being inspired particularly by all the words on the
first few recipes I looked at, I did the classic “throw some stuff that seems right
together, and follows the spirit of how to cook that thing.” Beat up two eggs
with some salt and pepper to dredge them in before breading. Dump roughly equal
parts Panko bread crumbs, Progresso garlic seasoned crumbs (finished off both
packages) and corn meal together in a bowl for breading. Put on a frying pan
with a bunch (I’d guess nearly a cup) of left-over French-fry oil, which was
made of roughly equal parts canola oil, peanut oil, and bacon grease, with some
small amount of butter. (They were not really deep fried, but it was definitely
NOT the “minimal fat” version of frying.) Cut the cod fillets into roughly
equal hunks (er, I mean, “sticks”), egged, breaded, fried in hot mixed oil until brown and crispy in
the breading and not quite an easy flake in the meat, flip, fry until brown
& crispy on side #2, and the flake is more white than clear. VERY good. The
bacon grease in the oil really makes a huge difference, and starting with the
fillets only barely thawed (still a bit stiff) meant the outside got a hot
enough to brown without the inside getting overcooked and dry. Fish-sticks. No
matter what’s actually inside, they just need to look a certain way for the kids. In this case, what was inside was every bit as good as they appeared.

So, cooking for kids is sort of like politics.
For a lot of people, what is going on inside, the details, are not important.
Just the outside impressions and appearance is what the decision is based on. I’m
hoping when the kids grow up they really understand that cod, wild sockeye salmon,
halibut, trout, tilapia, farmed Atlantic salmon, and mackerel are really VERY
different fish. I’m also hoping that when they grow up and vote it’s not what
the politician LOOKS like or SOUNDS like that makes a difference, but what the
effects of their POLICIES are and HOW they will be enacted and enforced that is
important. Details matter. As a kid,
I don’t expect them to really know or care that much about the details of their
fish-sticks. As an adult, I DO. I suppose there are some obvious jokes to make
here WRT political parties, but I’ll refrain.

8 thoughts on “Fish sticks and politics

  1. When my daughter was about 6 years old, she suddenly did not like the white cheddar cheese (Black Diamond extra sharp – good stuff) and declared she would only eat the orange cheddar cheese (Tillamook extra sharp – also good stuff). My explaations of food coloring meant nothing to her.

    I convinced her to perform a taste test, blindfolded, of both types. She decided white cheddar was OK after all.

    Explanations, reason, data, authority – meant nothing to her.

    Learning it herself convinced her.

    There might be a lesson in that.

    And as the child of traditional Roman Catholic parents on a tight budget, every Friday dinner while growing up at my house was tuna casserole and fish sticks. I can’t really enjoy fish sticks any more unless there is more breading than fish, and they are baked to a crisp on a cookie sheet in the oven, just like Mom used to do.

  2. Phelps – I’m usually pretty good at figuring out subtle or oblique references, jokes, and puns, but as near as I can tell you have made an almost total non-sequiter, so “huh?”

  3. Rolf,

    Are you sure your real name isn’t actually Kanye West?
    (It’s a reference to a South Park episode that aired a few years back.)

  4. Publius – Ah. Thanks. I rarely watch TV, and then it’s only broadcast. My total “South Park” viewing time is likely less than 90 minutes, total, mostly from links to explain references, etc. I’m vaguely aware of it’s influence and memes it’s generated, including things like “manbearpig,” but it’s not a part of pop culture I follow.

    An no, I’m not Kanye West; not quite that well tanned. As to joke quality, I’ll let others be the judge of that.

  5. Sadly, South Park is the best social commentary on the air right now.

    And yeah, the joke is supposed to be lame. That’s what makes it being “the funniest joke in the world” to the point of getting stolen by Carlos Mencia hilarious.

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