Stinky, smelly fish FTW (Harvard Health Publishing) and an origin story

Why Eat Lower on the Seafood Chain? Or, Lox and Bagels or Sardines and Bagels? A personal story of setback and triumph.

CT feeds stinky fish to his kids

I’m proud to say I introduced my kids, when they were growing up, to sardines and mackerel, foods that I loved when I was growing up a son of poor immigrant parents. They routinely gross our their friends as they pick up small smelly fish and consume them, while exclaiming: “Oooh, that’s the spine! That’s the guts! Yum, that’s good!”

When the world food supply collapses, and no one else will eat stinky smelly fish, my kids and I will be fine. We’ll be out back, consuming our Costco-brand mega-pack of canned sardines on top of bagels.

Lox and Bagels origin story

I thought everyone ate like this. Turns out the origin story comes from my mom.

We were invited to a weekend brunch with my father’s work colleague, and they were serving lox and bagels. Our family had never heard of such a thing, and 12-year-old me gobbled down numerous servings and loved it.

My mom took notice and went to the store to buy lox, which, she found out, was salmon.

However, she also found out, salmon was expensive beyond my dad’s assistant college professor budget.

So, shopping around, she found sardines in a can. She brought these home, with bagels, hoping that her son would not notice the difference.

Sardine and Bagel Switcheroo

How did it go? Sardines and Bagels? I was in heaven. “Mom, can we have this every week?” And a tradition was born. I don’t even remember that someone did a switcheroo.

CMIO’s take? OK, no informatics lessons here, you can move on.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

One thought on “Stinky, smelly fish FTW (Harvard Health Publishing) and an origin story”

  1. Can’t say I’ve ever eaten a sardine on anything aside from a fancy Caesar salad. I will leave this pearl: Caesar salads are actually Mexican in origin!

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