I Don’t Like Fish & The Grief That Causes People

I don’t like fish, anybody who knows me well will know this. It’s not for ethical reasons, I’m no vegetarian. I’d eat Lamb everyday if it wasn’t so expensive! It’s the taste, seafood is just repulsive to me.

I have found that people who really like fish, REALLY like fish. When I explain this to them they sometimes appear to be disappointed, confused and even hurt. I’ve often likened this to the five stages of grief.

I Don’t Like Fish – The 5 Stages of Grief

1. Denial

“You do like fish” my Dad says, “You used to eat it all the time when you was younger!”

At this point I remind him exactly why I used to eat it all the time. My family always ate at the table and as a child if you did not eat enough to satisfy my father, you stayed at the table. So yes, it is true, I used to eat seafood. However, it is because while all my friends were outside playing football, I was stuck inside staring down a disgusting “boil in the bag” fish in some foul white parsley sauce, holding my nose as I took a bite and asking my Dad after each “Is that enough?”.

2. Anger

Some people get very defensive of seafood, even to the point of anger. “Fresh fish doesn’t smell!” I hear them say. “Still tastes like seafood” is my reply. Some even go the pretentious route by saying, “Oh you, obviously haven’t had a good fish, cooked properly.”

Very Fresh – I Still Don’t Like Fish

3. Bargaining

This is my favorite response and the most common. “What about fish and chips?” they say “You are English!” they remind me. Nope, not even patriotism to a national dish will change my mind.

There’s also a great article here from the BBC stating Brits really don’t like fish as much as much as you may think.

4. Depression

This is when people realize where I travel. “You have come to Newfoundland/the Algarve/New Orleans/Thailand, and you don’t like fish? That’s such a shame, they have some of the best seafood in the world there”. Some people seem genuinely disappointed that I travel to all these places and I will never experience this aspect of the local cuisine. While I agree a huge part of travel is about the food, Its not going to convert from my fishophobic ways.

5. Acceptance

Finally people do accept that I just don’t like seafood. It took me a while to accept it, I even tried different types. I was told fresh Tuna “doesn’t even taste like fish.” It does. I have embraced the fact I really don’t like fish and nowadays people really do accommodate me. Kelly asks when we eat out, “Do you mind if I get the fish?” I always let her, but tell her not to expect a kiss anytime soon.

Lee Carter

Born and raised in Accrington, UK, Lee has ventured far beyond his hometown, traveling throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, North America and New Zealand. He is the co-founder of Global Goose and as well as writing the occasional rant he can be found tweaking the code and taking photos of amazing things around the world. Lee and Kelly have no plans to stop their "Gap Decade" anytime soon.

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  1. As a child I rarely had fish. Occasionally Mom would buy frozen, breaded stuff in a freezer box and melt that for dinner but it wasn’t ’til I became an adult that the wonders of the sea were really opened up for me. Still, I respect your disgust and, as a right-thinking American, I would defend to the death your right to shun the sushi. . . .If you were a citizen.

    P.S. – I feel about most organ meats the way you feel about fish.

    1. I too feel your pain. As a child I would eat at my friend’s house when my grandmother would cook fish. I’ve never been able to eat fish or seafood or anything that tastes fishy (like soybean oil) . Occasionally I taste my husband’s dish at the restaurant when he orders “non fishy” fish, like grouper, but what’s the point, one bite will not make me healthier and for sure I would not enjoy a whole meal of it. I wish there was a way of desensitizing from the dislike of fishy taste!

  2. Lee,

    I feel your pain.

    As you know I live in the country with the BEST fish in the world, and I still wont eat it.


  3. I am right there with you on the fish! When I was growing up I had the same situation, but all we had was fish. My parents did not have a lot of money so they would constantly fish for our dinner and every night for weeks on end we would have what my dad would catch after he got home from work. If he did not catch anything it was a small bowl of soup (Thank God) for dinner that night.

    1. After all, taste is different for different people.I mean everyone has their individual preferences. As for me I like fish, and seafood and other dishes from sea products. I really like the taste.

  4. After all, taste is different for different people.I mean everyone has their individual preferences. As for me I like fish, and seafood and other dishes from sea products. I really like the taste.

  5. Oh man, if someone tried to make me eat something I didn’t like, I don’t think I’d even be that polite. I like fish, though, but taste is individual.

  6. I agree totally – it is most annoying when people don’t take your food choices seriously. I am a vegetarian and I often get asked, “But you eat chicken, don’t you?” Or, “Well, just a little piece of wild boar then?” . . . .I do eat fish, very occasionally, about once every 5 or 6 weeks i started doing this as I got older and on the advice of a nutritionits. But I only eat freshwater fish – mainly trout and freshwater salmon (as long as it’s not from a salmon farm).

    As for seafood – nooooooooooooooooooooooo – those huge prawns and mussels, ugh, they’ve spent their lives eating fish poo !

  7. I appreciate your contribution. I’ve read a lot about relevant topics! Unlike other articles, yours created a lasting impression on me. I hope you’ll continue to write interesting pieces like this one and others for us all to read!

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