For those of you who are Lord of the Rings fans I am certain that you get this reference.  For those of you who are not, I would reccomend you watch the first movie in the Lord of the Rings series.  It is a lengthy movie to be prepared to spend some time.

In the movie the protagonist is a Hobbit. Hobbits are smaller versions of humans that have some unique traits.  One of them is the amount of food they consume on a daily basis.  During the movie it is explained to the viewers through a more casual discussion.  One of the hobbits exclaims, “I still haven’t had my breakfast!”  To which a human says, we just had breakfast.”  The hobbit goes on to explain that the usual eating schedule consists of:


Hopefully it is more clear now.  Yesterday I was extremely pleased when we started off our Fish ID class by tasting an arrangement of shellfish and mollusks.  I got to sample many different tastes and even, which I forgot to mention, ended the meal with three raw oysters and one raw clam.  By the way I found the clam quite delicious.

This morning after we had begun our normal routine of scaling and cutting the fish we were called in to begin our tasting.  As we sat down we were handed a spread of 10 different caviars as well as 2 pieces of smoked salmon.

We sampled three kinds of tobyco, which is a roe substitute made out of corn syrup and fish flakes. It pops in your mouth and mimics the texture and taste of caviar.  We went on to taste rainbow trout and salmon caviar.  And then finished the plate with 4 separate varieties of sturgeon caviar.  I enjoyed all of the tobyco although I found it left and almost bitter soapy taste in my mouth as well as the residue from the fake “shell” of the egg.  The trout caviar tasted like drinking a freshwater pond that had been used to make fish stock.  The salmon caviar was an explosion of oily salmon flavor. We were given nearly 7-10 eggs and I found the taste overwhelming.  All of the sturgeon caviar were soft and had a buttery flavor an texture.  They were quite briny but always finished with a sweet fishy taste.

One thing I find amazing is the aversions that our class has to food.  I hope to write an article on it at a later date, but during gastronomy at school I read an interesting article on food fears.  To be brief, it said you can eat anything and even can treat food allergies.  Essentially humans are the most universal vacuum and have no limits.  Keeping that in mind I am always shocked at the amount of fish that gets thrown away during tasting.  Our class has several individuals who don’t enjoy seafood. Now when it comes to caviar and raw shellfish I can understand.  Even I was a bit skeptical.  But sampling fish I watched entire plates of food get thrown away.  To me, the purpose of tasting to learn what the item tastes like so you can pair it with other dishes and write menus and recipes in the future.

The reason why I bring this up is because Chef said today that we were throwing away $100’s of caviar.  I believe him, I saw so many people that had only eaten 2 eggs out of a pile of 50.  People like different things and I respect that but when you are given such a unique opportunity why not bite the bullet and try a few new things.

Today was our last day of fabrication and we took our ID final that I talked about.  It was pretty easy but I got two of my fish confused.  I made the mistake of IDing a summer flounder as a gray sole.  I think everyone in the class confused it for something else.  I also confused the Atlantic cod for a pollock.  Otherwise I believe I did quite well.  The fabrication final went well.  I had to cut a flounder into two fillets using the up and over method.  The method was simple and we were graded on our yield and timeliness.  I filleted it in 7 minutes and 23 seconds with the first person getting done in 6 minutes and 50 seconds.  I did wait a few seconds to get my time and I am certain that I did not go as fast as I could of.  Nonetheless I believe I was the third or fourth person done.  We will be moving into lecture tomorrow and it should be fun.  I will keep you posted.