Several years ago a restaurant in Lake Havasu City, Arizona had a sign out front advertising fresh fish. My wife and I decided to stop and try some.
Joleen asked our server, Don, where the fish were caught and just how fresh were they. The fellow had no problem answering,
“They’re Alaskan cod and we received them this week!”
That didn’t tell me a lot, but Joleen was happy to hear they weren’t farm raised. I’ve never heard of farm raised cod although catfish and bass are a different story. I decided not to push the issue with my wife.
The cod tasted fine. It didn’t have a fishy smell indicating the seafood was not old. I had a final question for Don.
“When you say fresh you mean they weren’t frozen?”
“Oh, no sir.”, he replied. “All the fish we get are frozen. That’s how we keep them fresh.”
I sensed at this point we were playing a game of semantics. This fellow’s interpretation of fresh was as flawed as Bill Clinton’s analogy of the word, is. In other words, our server hadn’t a clue what fresh fish or fresh seafood really was.
Years ago my brother and I visited Aunt Katrulia in Mobile, Alabama. Aunt K as we called her took us to a rustic seafood restaurant near the docks that served scrumptious po’boy sandwiches. The shrimp inside each bun had been caught early that morning. The buns were still warm from the oven. I’ve never tasted anything like it. Now that was definitely fresh stuff!
When I was a teen I went on a camping trip with another friend, Jeff Cloud, to Salmon Creek near Seward, Alaska. Jeff was an outdoorsman extraordinaire. He loved being in the wilds.
We caught several Dolly Varden right off the bat. I lit a fire while Jeff degutted then fileted the fish. Tossing them into a cast-iron pan with squeeze butter and a pinch of salt & pepper, he fried them up. Never has anything tasted so good. I bet those fish hadn’t been out of water for more than 10 minutes.
My friend did the same with a silver salmon we’d poached, only this time he wrapped it in foil and placed things on top of rocks underneath the fire. He let it bake for perhaps an hour before removing.
A tiny portion of the fish was burnt but the rest was cooked to perfection. Once again butter from a squeeze bottle with salt & pepper was added. That was some of the sweetest salmon I’ve ever tasted. Seafood doesn’t get any fresher unless it’s swimming.
During my lifetime I do not believe I’ve ever come across a sign advertising fresh frozen fish. Would that be an oxymoron? You tell me. I’m sure Wikipedia has their opinion but I choose not to always believe that site.
I shouldn’t be so concerned. The other night for dinner Joleen served cooked vegetables. I asked her if they were fresh and she said yes. After eating I was curious about something.
“You say these vegetables are fresh, yet they came from the freezer?”
“They were frozen.”, she replied. “That’s how I keep them fresh.”
It was evident a bit of Don’s culinary mis-intellect had rubbed off on my wife. Another puzzling question cropped up after Joleen mentioned that.
“Are frozen vegetables considered fresh?”
According to information from Green Giant they’re fresher than fresh. I suppose if anyone should know it would be him!