An Open Letter


Dear Sirs and/or Madams,

How are you? I hope this blog post finds you well. Me? I”m ok. Wait.
Not really. I need to get something off my chest and I hope I can steal
a moment or two of your time.

After many months of
soul-searching, consultations with family, advisers, clergy and
significant others, it has come to my attention that there is something
I can no longer hide and must respectfully reveal to you. I
don’t want this to affect our relationship in any way whatsoever, and
I’m hoping that my revelation will be met with compassion,
understanding, and nary a flicker of grimace or snarl that I’ve come to
expect whenever I begin to talk about what I must say to you here.

I love tinned sardines.

I said it! And…. there you go. I knew this would happen, I just knew
it! Come back! Please, I’m not finished yet. Please?

thanks. So listen, I want you to know that I’m really the same person
you’ve always known. And even though you’ve the first to serve up a big
giant plate of snark and disapproval whenever I take out that
distinctive tin can at lunch I want you to know that I don’t hold that
against you. And no, it doesn’t upset me either when you ask me for the
35th time if I’m "really going to eat that?" and you’ll be happy to
know I don’t hold it against you that you believe my love of tinned
fish gives you an excuse to pass judgment on my meal. In fact I almost
find it comical watching your face contort and twist in disgust as if I
just committed the crime of the century or said you wore granny drawers
or still sucked your thumb as an adult or something rude like that.

as of today, enough is enough. I’m coming out of the closet, so to
speak, and professing my love for tinned fish. And here’s why:

I happen to like the way they taste.
Rich and distinctive with a soft
to medium-firm texture, I’ve always loved their flavor and if I can’t
find fresh sardines (a term used to describe a whole variety of small
fish) to cook myself then the canned variety suits me just fine. And
please remember that "fishy" is subjective.

2. They pack some
pretty powerful nutrients.
They have a decent amount of omega-3 fatty
acids and are also great sources of iron. How can you argue?

I’ve enjoyed them since I was a wee lad
. That’s right — I’ve eaten
them as long as I can remember, thanks to my dad who would share the
tangy flavor of sardines in mustard sauce with a few saltine crackers
with me as a snack. So when you feel the need to knock this diminutive,
smelly and often maligned fish, you’re gonna have to go through Pops.

They make me happy.
A few high-quality sardines packed in oil, a hunk
of baguette and a few celery stalks and I’m as happy as a clam. Or
sardine. In a can. I am. You get the picture.

Now that I’ve said
my peace I think it’s best if we grow together and move forward. Next
time you see me carting around that little unmistakable can I hope you
realize it’s my lunch you’re making fun of and that you’ll think twice
before knocking it. And if you’re lucky I might even let you have one.

Just kidding.


Sardine and Celery Salad adapted from Food & Wine Magazine


Hot damn! You have no idea how much better I feel now. Seriously. And
now that I have that off my chest I’d like to recommend this little
salad that appeared a few years ago in
Food & Wine. It makes a
nifty little lunch when paired with rye crackers or bread, and it’s so
flavorful that you needn’t make much. Imported high quality sardines
from Spain or Portugal are the best in my humble opinion, and make sure
you also use a high quality mustard. You know what they say about
better ingredients and all. The original recipe called for cilantro but I prefer parsley with the sardines.

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grainy mustard (make sure it’s good!)
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Four 4 3/8-ounce cans sardines in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
4 large celery ribs, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, mix the parsley with the olive oil, grainy and Dijon mustards, red onion and the lemon juice and zest. Fold in the sardines and celery and season with salt and pepper. Chill and serve or pack in a plastic container. Enjoy with rye crackers.


  1. art says

    Can you keep sardines in the ref. after you open them? I can’t eat the whole can.

  2. art says

    How do you store them after you open the can? Can you keep them in the ref? How long? I can’t always eat a whole can at once. Thanks!

  3. says

    Man,I want some sardines. I just got a can of sardines in hot sauce. First time I’ve had sardines in probably a good 10 or 15 year (I’m 23, so that’s a while!). My dad and I always brought a can when we’d go fishing when I was little, and I was more excited about the sardines than I was about the fishing.

    I found when looking at sardines recently, that they’ve all switched from the key opener to the standard pop top, and was pretty bummed. Some quick internet searching showed that many others had gone on obsessive quests to find a brand with the key, and didn’t seem to have found anything. How sad.

    On a side note, someone mentioned pickled herring…. that’s another taste that I thought about recently and haven’t had in a while, and another thing that I get a taste for from my dad.

  4. snickerdoodle says

    I thought i was the only one :o) i LOVE canned sardines – they’re my comfort food, one of the only things my dad could make for me growing up. mashed with onions, salt, pepper, and a little hot sauce smeared on french bread or the like. yum. when i first moved away from home, i would eat them every day for lunch b/c they were comforting.

  5. Foodie says

    Especially now that the “food crunch” bites, the protein-rich sardines (just found brilliant Morrocan sardines at Sommerfields’s in Edgware Road 3 cans for £1) might be the solution

  6. says

    thank you!!!!! I am the only person in my home that will them a (I guess thats a good thing?!) Anyway, thank you for providing another yummy way to enjoy them. Variety of preparation is always a welcomed blessing!! Also, try deviled sardines, and sardine pate- YUMM THANKS AGAIN

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