My latest indulgence has recently been “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain. I just cannot seem to put this book down, although Bourdain is not the most eloquent writer, or offers much in the realm of social graces. Nevertheless, you can sense the perfectionism that has been the cornerstone of his career, and marvel at it. My favourite gem so far, however, has been his synopsis on when and when not to order fish in a restaurant. For a seafood lover, such as myself, any discussion on fish peaks my interest. According to Bourdain, most chefs procure seafood on Thursdays, which means that, by Monday, if they did not sell all that could be sold over the weekend, one might see “fish specials”. This also goes for sushi, which may explain “sushi specials” and that sort of discount bargain one might see at a sushi restaurant. Therefore, Bourdain cautions us to, under no circumstances, order fish on Mondays, unless one wishes to feast on fish that is bordering on biohazard (not his words but my embellishment).
In fact, I am not that far from the truth. According to Brown, as described in the “Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation“, fish is one of the most highly perishable food items because it carries a higher amount of bacterial flora, because of the rapid breakdown of the protein by proteolytic enzymes, which results in more amino acids (food for bacteria) being available, and because fish contain a higher concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, which are more prone to rancidity than other animal fats (saturated fats). Technical stuff, which boils down to one thing: no fish on Mondays.