Cod and Chuck Klosterman: Both Baked [1/2]

It had been close to ten years since my wife or I had eaten any meat. And that had meant absolute nothing. No rennet, no steak, no burgers, no tacos. As much as my some people were amazed that meant no shrimp, no lobster, no steak tartare, no caviar, no sushi and no corned beef. For some reason people would think the more exotic an animal dish, the more likely it didn’t conform to our “Rules of Vegetarianism”. At times it meant no dairy, but honestly, that was brief and laughably failed experiment.

Our vegetarianism wasn’t an ethical decision. We didn’t choose to give up beef because of the ridiculous inefficiencies of the cattle industry (though later that would offer us warm solace over bowls of bland rice and broccoli). It had nothing to do chickens going beakless, seals being clubbed or pandas getting sprayed with prototype chemical weapons. I even think hunting’s probably pretty fun, and bunny rabbits wearing mascara have always held a certain appeal to me. Long story, but it involves a tawdry Easter holiday in my adolescence. No homo.

Nor was it a health decision. In fact, I originally probably gained 60 pounds in the year after I stopped eating meat. Cheese and bean burritos and personal pan cheese pizzas aren’t what fuels Olympians. They fuel drunken college dropouts, the poor, and the alcoholic. I would never be pregnant, but in this sense I was “eating for three”. I’m not sure how all this works, but I’m sure I suffered some negative effects of my poor eating habits during my early vegetarian years. Dementia, schizophrenia, logorrhea. Delusions of grandeur. Partying in warehouses, etc. It may have even contributed to my development of diabetes. What’s done is done.

Vegetarianism was a fad that went on too long. A lifestyle like that has it’s own twisted inertia. People start to expect certain vegetarian behaviour out of you. You don’t eat at certain restaurants. Cooking takes on a new strategic aspect. And it’s just generally a pain in the ass. It’s a pain in the ass I think people like though. For instance, it’s better than being the loutish, drunken uncle who comes over at Christmas and breaks the coffee table. It’s less inconvenient than the wayward brother-in-law who always needs a couch to sleep on, or bail money. Still, it was a tic that was hard to shake. Basically, it boils down to accepting the eating of living, bleeding things. There’s a psychological barrier to doing that after you haven’t in so long. But with diet becoming more of an issue in my diabetes control my wife and I have been steeling ourselves for the inevitable return to omnivorism.

This is a big deal. It’s been a long time coming, but we finally bought about a pound of sea bass, and some breaded cutlets of cod. The sea bass, because well, we assumed at nearly twenty dollars a pound, that had to be a hell of a fucking fish. The cod cutlets because, honestly, breading makes almost everything taste better. We were realistic in this regard. And it’s almost a week later, the sea bass in still sitting in the refrigerator (is that healthy?) but that cod cutlets have been baked (see title) and consumed. Mostly.

Even as a meat eater, way back when… in the glory days, I never really ate much fish. I just wasn’t raised in a family of sophisticated diners. Peanut butter sandwiches were the norm. Sans jelly usually, as it was too messy to justify it’s wonderful and undoubtedly sinful, taste. As a result, I’ve a modest palate. At times this is a blessing because I can shovel mounds of even the blandest food into my gullet. It’s helpful for powering through steamed vegetables, wheat germ, or unsweetened yogurt. For the most part, the cod seems to be a pretty bland fish. I think I can get down with that in the long run, but for now it’s taken me three days to eat what is, essentially, the size of a McFishen Sandwich. Baby steps, baby.

The good news here is that we made the first step. But it’s not nearly a full victory. The cod is too plain to really count as “meat”. I still consider myself a recovering meat-virgin, and fear the day my tastebuds get ravaged by a gamier source of protein. No homo.


7 Responses to “Cod and Chuck Klosterman: Both Baked [1/2]”

  1. 1 Steve McAwesome
    August 14, 2008 at 12:38 am

    hey faggot. you live in tampa. its grouper season. eat grouper. thanks.

  2. 2 salstress
    August 14, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Welcome back to the world of meat. Although… fish? Not so much “meat” per se. Even chicken is considered poultry and not really “meat” though of course you clarified your meaning of meat as coming from a living/bleeding thing. Which makes me think of zombies – would roast zombie count as “meat?” I’m not sure zombies can officially bleed, or if something does come out when you, say, hack off their arms with a chainsaw (purely in self-defense to avoid having your own brains eaten, thereby also becoming a zombie), I think it could more aptly be described as green goo, though that is totally up to the discretion of the director. By the way, do zombies have brains? Maybe not, since they had their brains eaten to become a zombie in the first place. What if only part of the brain is eaten – say half – is there such a thing as a half-brained zombie? I imagine their lack of full brains (at a minimum) could be why they meander about so slowly/stupidly, and it must be some kind of hormonal thing that drives them to seek out new brains for consumption with voracious tenacity. Zombie brain could be a rare delicacy served only at secret underground locations in Japan for all we know.

    But seriously, you might have made more of a splash going off the veg-wagon by eating a grilled steak (very rare of course), some barbecued ribs (so you could gnaw the sinewy fiber right off the bone) or even perhaps some kalua pig (enough said: http://k53.pbase.com/g6/23/755923/2/75614214.RQ4wh2ZA.jpg).

    Cod is what they use to make fish and chips. And sea bass was the fish of the 90s (which meant the world’s supply was nearly depleted and now you are a bad person for eating it). I suggest your next fish be salmon, or maybe swordfish, since those two are about the heartiest of all your swimming meats.

    Good luck sir!

  3. 5 Juggernaut
    August 14, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    1. Throw the sea bass away. Sorry about your $20. 😦
    2. Salmon tastes like shit (to me) but is very good for you. Omega-3 and yadda.
    3. Swordfish is really good, but has “high” levels of mercury if you care about that. I’ve been baking it with lemon juice in the pan, lemon pepper and ginger on top.
    4. If you want to try catfish, I would suggest the Vietnamese alternative called basa or basa bocourti. It’s better for you and I think it costs about the same.
    6. Since you’re a big $20/lb baller, try some beef tenderloin. Very lean but very tender. More tasty to me is a ribeye but it’s not as lean.
    7. Porterhouse or t-bone = beef tenderloin + KC or NY strip. Usually cheaper to buy one of those and split it, if you think it’s enough.

  4. 6 asciigod
    August 14, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for all the replies. I said this elsewhere, but I feel like you just gangbanged me.

    I think we’re going to go with grouper and/or salmon next. We threw the Sea Bass out (R.I.P. Lil’ Homey, !Ghostroach++).

    And cod. I eat it… in pieces.

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