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Kitten of the Sea 05/26/09

This Dead Zone has not even gotten out of May, but I have already slid into my annual response to the age-old question, ‘What do people do on Saturday mornings when they are not traveling to football games?’

In my case, my weekend starting routine involves a breakfast of a bagel slathered with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon. It fortifies me for a Saturday morning of hunting and gathering. My methods of procuring sustenance are a little more refined than those of Cro-Magon man.cavemen2

Rather than venturing out into the wild and chucking a spear into the side of some mammal, I begin my quest for Gimme Eat at my local farmer’s market. That will be followed by an arduous trek to the roadside stand on the outskirts of town run by an older local couple who, unlike any chain food retailer, have figured out how to transport tomatoes from Florida to the Southside of Virginia in an edible state. Stops will also be made at a local market whose specialty is the offering of meats cut from the carcasses of local cows and a few other places that vend a variety of items produced by local and regional farms. Between now and that Friday morning in early September when I will find myself heading south on I-85 in the direction of Atlanta, I am able to greatly reduce my reliance on what I perceive to be the lesser quality of the foodstuffs offered by my local mega-mart and that corporate partner of the ACC that has blanketed my area with stores.

My journeys always end at a local fish monger. When I eat red meat, I do prefer the primer cuts and a freshness not to be found from that food chain that owns the lion’s market share locally, but the fact is I don’t eat a lot of it. The same goes for pork. While food science over the past few centuries has proved itself incapable of coming up with a critter that I prefer served up with scrambled eggs and my desire for occasional binges on barbecue prepared in the Eastern North Carolina method [those folks can come up with something other than message board humor],  otherwise I don’t eat dead pig.

4340I do, however, eat a lot of fish and anything else that can be harvested from waters both salty and fresh. If it has scales, or resides in the bottom of the ocean, carries a hard shell and its consumption is prohibited by some of the world’s major religions [I might take them a lot more seriously were it not for the whole shellfish thing. What manner of divine power says no to a plate of steamed shrimp?], I’m eating it by the pound.

Like my slaughtered cow, I prefer my dead fish and crustaceans to be of a higher quality than can be obtained from the chains. That means a Saturday morning stop at the fish monger’s. I was quick-timing it to the front door when my attention was diverted by an attractive young lady. It often is, although in this case I quickly determined that she was entirely too young for my tastes [there is young and there is too young- young ladies about half my son’s age definitely fall into the latter category]. I was, however, intrigued by her message. She was earnestly imploring me not to “murder the sea kittens.” Pardon me?

Statements such as that are guaranteed to stop me in my tracks. My appointed round of reducing Lynn’s display case inventory would have to wait. While chatting with this young lady I discovered that PETA, those sane, level-headed crazies who are gearing up for another round of kicking Michael Vick around like a stray mutt, have even bigger fish to fry.

It seems that PETA has determined that the world’s most pressing problem is not the tribal wars going on in places such as Africa and the Middle East, or the threat of North Korea selling a nuke to some madman who doesn’t eat crab legs, but the horrors humanity visits upon underwater species by plucking them from the deep and devouring them. The humanity!

PETA’s solution to this mass genocide is to no longer call fish fish. Instead, PETA is demanding that the government change the name of the creatures that look a lot like fish, swim around under water like fish and are indeed fish, to ‘sea kittens.’ I kid you not. The idea apparently is that people by the hundreds of millions will balk at consuming anything with a cute-sounding name. As the young lady put it to me, “How can you eat an adorable sea kitten?”

In the case of the tuna steaks that were among my later purchase, marinated in fish sauce, garlic and ginger, then pan-seared rare and served with wasabi, that’s how. pan-seared-tunaThe young lady was not impressed, and was even less so with my responses of whether I ate the wares for sale inside or not would do litle to improve their lot, since they were already dead. She was aghast at my argument that there was a food chain and I was perfectly content with my place in it and recoiled when I pointed out that were the situations reversed, the original owner of the portions of shark flesh inside that had my name on them would not have given a second thought to chowing down on me. And besides, they taste good.

Neither of us were able to change the other’s point of view and I eventually headed inside to purchase the week’s bounty of sea kitten. I did manage to discover that the young lady attended the same high school as I had decades before. She had a favorite teacher who is a strong supporter of PETA and doesn’t hesitate to indoctrinate her charges in whatever lunacy pops into the mostly empty heads of those running that crowd of loons. I spent 12 years in the Pittsylvania County school system and never once did a teacher attempt to convince me that fish were cats. Back then they were more interested in educating young minds than filling them with the latest nonsense du jour. This young lady had swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

There are times when it is not hard to determine how the current deplorable state of public education came about. This was one of those times. Now, you will excuse me. I am having sword sea kitten for dinner and have to whip up a marinade.


  1. Greg — May 26, 2009 #

    Ah yes, today’s public education system, yet another forum and platform upon which the whackos, idiots and crazies can freely approach, interact and hopefully, influence our young, impressionable minds.

    One of my two sons had a visit from a PETA type when he was but in 1st grade. This idiot brought in a little kiddy book telling the children how animals were our friends. It then went on to proclaim that we shouldn’t eat our friends, it isn’t right or nice to eat our friends, etc, etc etc.

    While sitting around the dinner table enjoying a fine cut of beef roast, I informed my then-young son that domesticated farm animals are on this planet for but 2 purposes, that being to provide food and/or clothing. I continued that these types also undoubtedly follow Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. In said theory herbivores, which devour only plants have no canine teeth, but rather incisors to cut grass off and molars to maul the grass. Carnivores which eat meat have few molars, but rather copius presence of canines and the incisors to pull off the meat. Then there are the omnivores. Pigs and people fall into this class. Miracle of miracles – we have both canines and molars. If man were intended to eat only veggies, what the hell are those canines doing there? Perhaps the PETA people should be encouraged to have all their canines removed so as to better show and prove the depth of their collective commitment to saving the poor, precious critters they obviously know nothing about.


  2. Jim — May 26, 2009 #

    I don’t think PETA should restrict themselves to animals. Plants have feelings, too! They should stop eating anything. That should solve the problem.


  3. Greg — May 26, 2009 #

    Ah yes Jim, I read an article in the late 80s in a magazine I believe was put out by the New Holland equipment company (now merged with Ford equipment). In the article they were talking about the splinter groups even to the left of PETA that were advocating that plants had feelings too and how lawn mowing hurt the blades of grass. What a bunch of pure, unadulterated, bona-fide BS!!! Just what the hell do these people plan on eating anyway??????

    Oh God, please bring on football season. This down time is causing my ulcer to act up.


    Jim Reply:

    It is hard to imagine a nut group even loonier than PETA, but a Plant Liberation Front would qualify. What do these people eat? Purple Microdot would be my guess.


  4. jdanwuff — May 26, 2009 #

    The PETA crowd is about a goofy as you can get.
    I work with an ovo-lacto-vegan. An architect and female, no less. What are the chances of that?! This poor dim soul has a brutal life working in our office. She’s all PETA except for eggs and milk. She has learned to stay out of my office. I relish telling her stories of hunting, skinning, cooking and eating Bambi every fall.
    The entertainment is free.


  5. hokieg in the Virginia Tech Golf Shirt — May 27, 2009 #

    I work with some PETA types too, and they are good to have around during lunch time. Fortunately, they are good spirited folks that can take jabbings from us meat eaters and hunter/fishers, but frankly I never really know what’s going on in their heads.

    Go Hokies!


  6. Dances with Artichokes — May 27, 2009 #

    Take it from the source… vegetarian is an old Indian word for bad hunter.


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