Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Something Fishy

Last weekend, as I sat at home huffing and puffing with a sinus infection, munching on a bagel with cream cheese and lox, I experienced a sudden revelation. Within the past week alone, I had eaten lox, grilled salmon, spicy salmon rolls, and had even eyed the coulibiac, a Russian salmon loaf, in the fridge (though I was too scared to actually try it).

Everywhere I turned, salmon was on the menu, whether poached or grilled or steamed. I roamed the freezer aisle in the supermarket and was legitimately surprised not to find a salmon ice cream flavor.

Why was this fish stalking me? I sat down and did some research.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one preoccupied with salmon. The red-fleshed fish plays a role in Norse mythology, Celtic folklore, and is a prominent character in Native American tradition. The Nez Perce tribe held annual ceremonies in honor of the salmon return, and in Irish legends, the fish grants wisdom to those who eat it.

Furthermore, salmon inspires ethnic cuisine worldwide. You've got your lox, influenced by Eastern European Jewry and popularized in New York; there's Indian tandoori salmon, flavored with an assortment of spices and slathered with yogurt; and in another corner of the world, Japanese sashimi is a huge hit (though it is actually only a recent success, with the advent of refrigeration).

It's really no surprise that salmon is such a citizen of the world. Its natural territories span from the northern waters of Canada and Norway to the southern shores of Chile, making it as versatile in the water as it is in the kitchen.

Photo Credit: Max Hass


  1. What a wonderful, fresh, and unique piece! I have never ever wanted salmon more than I do now. Thank you, Sandra Rubinchik for your beautiful article. I respect Russians.

  2. as to your extremely rude, "so what," post, i would just like to respond in kind. you obviously have no sense of culinary passion. i really would love to post an expletive, but in respect to the wonderful author, i will refrain. shame on you!



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