Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What I learned today

The tin can was invented in 1810. The can opener was invented in 1858.

I learned this while reading a bit about the last U.S. sardine plant, which closed down today. I love sardines, which always remind me of my dad. He sometimes used to eat them for lunch on Saturdays while the rest of us ate -- I dunno, something else. I thought it was fun rolling back the tin's metal lid with the little key that came attached to it. (They have pop tops now and it's just not the same.) Dad preferred the little tiny sardines with the tails still attached, and he'd usually let me eat one or two; I loved how extremely fishy they smelled, how delicious that olive oil they came packed in tasted. Dad would eat sardines on Saltines, which to this day is the only way I think Saltines are palatable. He often used to enjoy a bottle of Dos Equis with his sardines.

Sardines aren't a species of fish -- they are any of a number of small varieties of herring. They are always "wild caught" because there are no sardine farms in operation. Sardines are high in omega 3 and low in mercury. You can buy them packed in gross stuff like mustard, tomato sauce, and pesto, but I think they're best when packed in good old olive oil. Sardines were the first kind of fish ever to be canned and were popular until the 1950s, when canned tuna began to dominate the canned fish market.


Lucy said...

Who knew? I've never been able to stand the thought of sardines. I'ts probably because nobody in our house ate them. Well, Dad probably would have liked to but Mom seriously dislikes the smell of fish so Dad likely avoided them. In our house we ate avocadoa with a little salt and pepper on our saltines. Cheese was inferior alternative. To this day I LOVE avocado on crackers. I've been known to eat it for dinner with some fruit. Imight even have that tonight!

kb said...

Maybe sardines were a food of a certain era. I remember my Dad eating them all the time and I vaguely remember partaking of them on occasion myself and definitely on crackers. But, they just don't sound good to me now. I also remember him eating deviled ham and liverwurst. Do people still eat that stuff?

shandon said...

Interestingly (well, *I* think it's interesting), Sean and I just had a discussion about my dislike of meat salads. It turns out that I'm not so much a hater of protein-mixed-with-mayo concoctions (tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad) as I am a ham purist. Ham salad? DisGUSTing. Deviled ham? Barf. Ham loaf? An insult to pigs everywhere. But I love me some plain old ham.

Never got into liverwurst or pate. I guess I don't like creamy meats, either. My sisters still speak fondly of Oscar Mayer's Sandwich Spread, which I never could abide.