Plain or without tartar
It’s often said there are two kind of people – cat people and dog people. There seems to be a solid rift between classical music lovers and contemporary music fans. Mars vs. Venus. Leaders vs. followers. Cowboys vs. Indians. Meat eaters vs. vegetarians. It seems all humanity can be lumped into two demographics.
When it comes to eating fish, that’s certainly true. I know in my marriage the Mars/Venus comparison is true but my wife and I (along with the rest of humanity) have another major divide when it comes to eating fish: plain or with tartar sauce.
Of course, I’m on the right side of the issue – no tartar sauce for me. Though I’ll happily fry up the walleyes I caught last week for my wife and let her dab her tartar all over it, that’s only because she puts up with my “man from Mars” slovenliness when it comes to muddy boots and dirty socks.
If I invite a neighbor over to celebrate my latest fishing success and he slathers tartar all over my hard-won perch, the next time he gets a dinner invitation from me, he can expect hot dogs.
Though we all know someone purposely invented a special sauce to put on a Big Mac (and then McDonalds swore him or her to perpetual secrecy) and unlike Thousand Island Dressing, which was invented on purpose as a fish sauce by the wife of a fishing guide in Upper New York state, no one knows exactly who concocted tartar sauce but it was allegedly blended up as an accompaniment to steak tartar, which is a fancy name for uncooked meatloaf.
How it made the jump from being a flavor changer for raw chopped beef to a flavor disguiser to make fish palatable to those strange people who don’t like to eat fish, I don’t know. I don’t like to eat liver, so I don’t eat liver. I don’t slather it with a special condiment and then pretend to like it.
I try to be non-judgmental and accepting of alternative tastes and lifestyles. Put ketchup on your hot dog. I don’t care. Drizzle some Tabasco on your morning eggs. That’s not for me, but have at it. But if you reach for the tartar sauce to mask the exquisite flavor of the bluegills, catfish, or crappies I cook at my house, you better go pick up a few of my discarded socks to be welcome.