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tiny bone in cooked fish. Is that bad???????

drramin Jan 1, 2008 08:59 AM

last night I had a debate with friends at a very nice restaurant in NYC about the health hazard of finding bone in cooked fish. Apparently they are adamant about not eating any fish on their table if it has any bone or remnants of it. They make certain with the waiter that they absolutely don't want any bone in their fish and if they find it they will return it. lo and behold one of their Cod's had a tiny bone in it and promptly returned it. i found this quite comical and asked them for an explanation. According to them there is a twofold problem to this situation.

1) The restaurant tries to save money and they would take a cut of the fish too close to the bone which according to them is undesirable part of the meat

2) if a small piece of the bone is swallowed there is a possibility that you can die as a result of the bone lodging in your esophagus.

how much of this is true? i found this behavior quite ridiculous.

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  1. c
    Clarkafella Jan 1, 2008 09:11 AM

    I don't really like finding bones in my fish either, but I have always heard that the best meat is closest to the bone, whether it be fish, fowl, pork or beef...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Clarkafella
      drramin Jan 1, 2008 09:15 AM

      It has always been my assumption as well that meat closer to the bone is the best part. maybe that's not true with fish!!!!

      1. re: drramin
        TexasToast Jan 2, 2008 10:04 AM

        TT recalls that many years ago, the Queen Mother was rushed to hospital after a small fish bone lodged itself in her throat. Yes it was tiny, but 1) she was the mother of the Queen of England, and 2) was eighty years old at the time.

        But then, TT has always pinboned fish and is careful in restaurants. Would I send a fish dish back over it? Not unless there were way too many bones which would interrupt eating the dish itself.


        1. re: TexasToast
          gutreactions Jan 2, 2008 07:04 PM

          This is good story TexasToast...and isn't also true that when President Johnson invited the Queen and her family to one of his famous Texas BBQs at the ranch she had a hard time getting a hot dog into her mouth? Is this true or is it just folklore...

          1. re: gutreactions
            TexasToast Jan 3, 2008 02:45 PM

            Your reactions are quite true!


            Twas the Queen Mother (then Queen Consort to George VI) who was baffled by the hot dog.


            1. re: gutreactions
              Hue Jan 12, 2008 09:54 AM

              Theres an old joke about two recent Russian emigres who had just landed in New York. As they were walking the streets they saw a Hot Dog cart and they looked at each other in amazed.
              "In America they eat dogs?" one said. The other said "if we want to be Americans we must eat them too."
              So they each bought a hot dog and sat on a nearby bench to eat them.
              "Yuck" said the one Russian as he unwrapped his hot dog,
              "What part did you get?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

      2. j
        justagthing Jan 1, 2008 09:14 AM

        It is quite ridiculous.
        1: I assume that they do not cook fresh fish at home. B/C if they did, they would have to make sure to pluck out the bones from the fillets themselves. Sounds like an old wives' tale. Did they use to work in the restaurant business? Why do they suspect this? Very odd.

        2: Do they not chew their food? When I find a bone, I always notice it when I take the bite and then fish it out of my mouth (sorry for the pun). Also, I recall something about the bone being able to pierce you from the inside, but I think it was a rouse that our parents may have told us to make sure that we chew our food properly or such. Do they know of any cases in which someone DID die from swallowing a fish bone? LOL!

        4 Replies
        1. re: justagthing
          drramin Jan 1, 2008 09:18 AM

          I think alot of it must be drama on their part. she also claims to have a severe banana allergy which she found in her desert last night and returned that as well

          1. re: drramin
            justagthing Jan 1, 2008 09:24 AM

            Wow! I don't think that I could eat w/these friends. Find some other activities or only eat at where they choose so that you don't have to hear their whining.

            1. re: justagthing
              drramin Jan 1, 2008 09:26 AM

              i guess there should be a new topic. " How to enjoy yourself and in the company of whining friends" lol

              1. re: justagthing
                Ndy Jan 4, 2008 09:29 PM

                God, I don't think I could stand those people.

          2. e
            emilief Jan 1, 2008 09:21 AM

            Interesting. There is a very old legal case in Massachusetts which held that it is natural to find a bone in fish chowder and not negligence on the part of the restaurant. I haven;t read the case in a long time so I don;t remember what happened to the customer- ?choked? scratched? In any event, the behavior is ridiculous.

            6 Replies
            1. re: emilief
              Ruth Lafler Jan 1, 2008 09:44 AM

              Yup. Bones are considered an inherent risk in eating fish. I suppose you could choke on anything, but a tiny bone is not likely to cause much harm. And yes, the best meat is next to the bone.

              It sounds like you're friends fall into the group of people who are afraid of the risks (real and imagined) in food, and are looking for rationales for their fears.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                Clarkafella Jan 1, 2008 09:54 AM

                Yep, tell them to just enjoy their fish and if they swallow a bone just swallow a bread ball- that works fairly well!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  drramin Jan 1, 2008 09:56 AM

                  wow. i never thought of it that way about them but it does portray them accurately. I have to find friends who know how to enjoy their food and are good conversationalists too. i may be asking fro too much!!!!!

                  1. re: drramin
                    Ruth Lafler Jan 1, 2008 10:05 AM

                    Meet up with some chowhounds -- I've had the pleasure of chowing with hundreds of them, and they're invariably good conversationalists (especially when talking about food) as well as passionate about their chow.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      drramin Jan 1, 2008 10:17 AM

                      how do you meet other chowhounds? i would love to find new friends to eat great food with.

                      1. re: drramin
                        Ruth Lafler Jan 1, 2008 10:20 AM

                        Check out your regional board and see if they have a mailing list for meetups (often called "chowdowns"). You could search the board for past announcements and contact info.

              2. g
                gutreactions Jan 1, 2008 10:57 AM

                drramin, these are obviously friends with certain phobias about food...and we all have some to offer big and small...however I would like to point out that in Europe, the Mediterranean and other parts of the world eating fish whole is more common and actually extra flavorful...my eastern European parents taught me how to eat and de-bone whole fish as a young child so this manner of eating fish is common for me...this I am sure would leave your friends out for sure...it is here in America that convenience or sheer lazyness perhaps created filets, fish steaks and so on...the one thing I do agree with though is being careful when eating fish...there may be a bone left in the serving if not handled correctly when cleaning and cutting...no need to panic though.

                22 Replies
                1. re: gutreactions
                  justagthing Jan 1, 2008 03:35 PM

                  Also Asians eat whole fish. I remember taking my friend to an Thai place and she said the fish sounded interesting, so we ordered it. She literally freaked out when she saw the whole fish: head, tail, fins and all!! All I could say was yum!

                  1. re: justagthing
                    Ruth Lafler Jan 1, 2008 03:54 PM

                    You know, a lot of "Americans" eat whole fish. Fishing is still pretty popular among a broad segment of the population, and those people kill, clean, etc. the fish. My sister served whole fish at her wedding reception. It's a myth that "Americans" freak out at the idea of whole fish. Maybe some *people* do, but those people don't represent all Americans.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      hannaone Jan 1, 2008 04:15 PM

                      I agree with you Ruth, but there are a large number of "Americans" who have only seen fish as served in Long John Silvers, Red Lobster, or Van de Camps style.
                      Some of the reactions that I've seen from people when I ran my Korean restaurant were really out there. They ranged from the mild "Oh my God" to one woman running into the parking lot and becoming violently ill.
                      I don't know how many times I heard variations on the "But it's LOOKING at me" line.

                      1. re: hannaone
                        Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2008 04:47 PM

                        Similar incident. Friend's family visited New Orleans from WI, and all went to Fitzgerald's on the Lakefront (long gone). Friend's mom ordered the gumbo and it came with a crab claw sticking up, like the last scene in the movie, "Deliverance." She fainted on the spot and had to be taken to the hotel.

                        Some folk have been spared certain aspects of food prep.


                        1. re: hannaone
                          Ruth Lafler Jan 1, 2008 05:34 PM

                          I remember a post on chowhound where the poster was traumatized because he'd ordered live crab in a Chinese restaurant, the crab had been brought out live for him see, and it had reached out a claw and touched him. He not only couldn't bring himself to eat it, he was upset with the restaurant for allowing this horrific experience.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2008 05:52 PM

                            The crab touching me would not deter me from dining on it. If it was "named," then I'd have a problem. Like ordering "live Maine lobster" from a tank. If the waitstaff say, "he oreder Clem... " then, I would have a problem.

                            Since we've had "Annie Hall" instances, with live soft-shelled crabs, I have no compunction to not fry the little crustaceans up for a good meal. Just do not tell me that it has a "name."


                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              rfneid Jan 3, 2008 02:17 PM

                              I had a small farm in the Arkansas Ozarks for a number of years - chickens, goats, milk cow, a few hogs as well as a pond stocked with catfish. I learned pretty quickly not to put a name on anything I might have to eat.

                              1. re: rfneid
                                nofunlatte Jan 3, 2008 02:55 PM

                                I name my poultry before cooking it :-). Sylvia was the Thanksgiving bird. Of course, these birds are already dead when I name them!

                              2. re: Bill Hunt
                                Scrapironchef Jan 3, 2008 03:17 PM

                                I had some friends who raised a calf named "Dinner" and a lamb named "Bob" (as in "shiska-"). Both were quite tasty.

                                1. re: Scrapironchef
                                  TexasToast Jan 3, 2008 11:31 PM

                                  Gordon raised some turkeys and pigs for the F Word and named them. He then killed them and ate them. Strange man.


                              3. re: Ruth Lafler
                                scubadoo97 Jan 6, 2008 08:36 AM

                                Only in an affluent society do you see this kind of self absorbed behavior. Horrific experience?? Too funny. Fish have bones, olives have pits.

                                1. re: scubadoo97
                                  TexasToast Jan 6, 2008 08:40 AM

                                  So do prunes but TT remembers hearing about a man suing a company for biting into a pit in a packect of "pitted prunes"!


                            2. re: Ruth Lafler
                              justagthing Jan 1, 2008 04:15 PM

                              sorry, but I never mentioned the nationality of my friend, I was responding to gutreations post about other parts of the world eating whole fish. It is very rare to find whole fish served in a seafood restaurant (at least in the 'American' sense). Anyways, my friend did freak out, would not touch the fish and I had to cover it/hide it from her as she had difficulty eating anything else w/the fish looking at her (LOL). She is one that grew up on fillets and fried fish.

                              1. re: justagthing
                                Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2008 04:49 PM

                                Whole fish is common in the US in sea coast cities. Wife knows to ask, and then usually orders a filet of fish, instead. In the UK, her sole is always de-boned, tableside, but she has no problem with removing tiny bones from most fish. The species of fish can make a major difference, to how many, and the type, of bones likely to be found.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                  Gio Jan 2, 2008 07:46 AM

                                  Once, having ordered sole at Raoul's in NYC , the waiter before serving it to me asked if he should debone it...I said "No, Thank you" because I was so used to doing it at home. My family are great lovers of seafood of all kind, named or not. Gosh, it's not as if they're pets.

                              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                jfood Jan 2, 2008 07:30 AM

                                jfood is with you Ruth. He is a huge lover of whole fish. There is a local fishmonger who has a fish bar in the back of the store with lots of choices on ice. Go to the bar, grab the tongs, pick the whole fish and throw it in a plastic bag to get weighed. Go home and throw on the BBQ with a beutiful side salad and it is a great meal..

                              3. re: justagthing
                                drramin Jan 1, 2008 04:00 PM

                                i couldn't agree more. i absolutely love a whole fish any day. it's so much tastier and more flavorful. literally requires minimal preparation time, just proper seasoning and broiling and of course the freshest fish.

                                1. re: drramin
                                  justagthing Jan 1, 2008 04:16 PM

                                  also love to cook my fish in the microwave, little mess to clean up and taste like steamed fish, I do it Chinese style.

                                  1. re: justagthing
                                    Bill Hunt Jan 1, 2008 04:52 PM

                                    You have been more fortunate, than I. About all that I find, that I can stand the taste of, from the mic., is rice, and a few non-meat leftovers. Something transpires with those radio-waves, and I do not like the taste afterwards. I never purchase anything, semi-prepared, that is ONLY for the mic. If I cannot cook it in a pan, the oven, or the toaster-oven, I'll pass everytime. This has been with four different mics., and is probably a very personal taste thing. I wish that I could "nuke" some things, and still eat them, but I cannot.


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      spellweaver16 Jan 3, 2008 01:47 PM

                                      The way I understand it, microwave cooking is more like boiling. The water in the food is heated. That could explain your aversion, and I do agree that the microwave does unforgivable things to protein.

                                      1. re: spellweaver16
                                        Bill Hunt Jan 3, 2008 04:48 PM

                                        Yes, that sounds about right. I've had "boiled beef" in London, several tiimes, and I have to agree that the "flavors" were about the same, and not to my liking. Maybe I should have typed "flavours?" For us, a toaster oven was the best investment, ever, so we do not have to heat up the regular ovens, just for a small leftover. I cannot stand the taste from the mic.


                                    2. re: justagthing
                                      RealMenJulienne Sep 13, 2013 12:51 PM

                                      Chinese style fish in the microwave is great. It's not boiling, more like quick-steaming. This method seems to allow the fish to soak up strong flavors like black bean sauce and sliced ginger.

                                      To the OP, I would find it very hard to be good friends with people like that.

                              4. Quine Jan 1, 2008 04:05 PM

                                Myself, I have a severe gag-reflex to fish bones and eggshells in my food. If I get one, I am off food for the night (and ain't a pretty sight if I find it cause it is in my mouth!). But that is me, my personal phobia/gag-reflex. I am embarressed if others at the table know this, or worst, experience my reaction. Bad manners!

                                I know my reaction is irrational, on the personal level. To try to make it a fault of the resturant is just plain silly...and smells of pompous ass.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Quine
                                  Deepster Jan 2, 2008 11:54 AM

                                  I agree with you, Quine. To say the least, a person who will not eat fish "bone-in" is certainly not a "foodie" in any sense of the word. Speaking of words, as another poster noted the word that comes to my mind is "silliness". 'nuf said.

                                2. s
                                  smartie Jan 1, 2008 05:26 PM

                                  good grief. It's a fish, it has bones or it wouldn't be able to swim. No kitchen can guarantee total bone removal. If I was that restaurant owner or GM I would refuse to serve that customer fish and suggest nicely that they order something else. It would be a total waste of money to throw out a perfectly good piece of fish due to a bone that the customer couldn't remove himself. Some people are impossible to please and really need to chill out.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: smartie
                                    jfood Jan 2, 2008 07:32 AM

                                    Agree with you Smartie. How can any resto guarantee that a fish is completely and totally boneless.

                                    No one likes the bone in the mouth but to have a single bone cause a return is waaay too over the top. It happens, take it out of you mouth.

                                    1. re: jfood
                                      scubadoo97 Jan 6, 2008 08:41 AM

                                      They can put a disclaimer on the menu. Fish may contain bones, eat at your own risk. Some people can't seem to take responsibility for their actions and need these warnings to live safely in our dangerous society. Helps to placate the tort attorneys as well.

                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                        vonwotan Jan 6, 2008 01:35 PM

                                        For some time we had been joking about having customers sign releases that cover all of the "risks" that used to be considered "common sense" when eating out - bones, "under"-cooked meats, etc. I was quite surprised, and laughed hysteically, when we moved to Boston (perhaps it was just the timing) and found some of these warnings printed on the menus in the restaurants.

                                        1. re: vonwotan
                                          smartie Jan 6, 2008 02:45 PM

                                          see those warnings here in Fl too, a sad sign of the times that we live in such a culture.
                                          Contents are hot - this is now a well known label on pie packets from take out places, and on coffee cups. Will we ever see 'crossing the road can be dangerous'?

                                          1. re: vonwotan
                                            Bill Hunt Jan 7, 2008 03:33 PM

                                            I wonder how this group will handle the prospect of falling of one's chair, or jabbing themselves in the eye with a fork?

                                            Many decades ago, when OSHA was formed and began to decree how to make the workplace "safe," someone drew up OSHA's plan for a cowboy. Wish that I had that sketch today, as much of it would work for "diner, " as well.

                                            Back to the OP,

                                            I would guess that these same folk have "issues" with most things in their lives, and do not limit their phobias, etc., to just food. Personally, I'd have to bid farewell, or I'd be a nervous wreck, worring that something was bound to go wrong.


                                    2. c
                                      Clarkafella Jan 2, 2008 05:30 AM

                                      "1) The restaurant tries to save money and they would take a cut of the fish too close to the bone which according to them is undesirable part of the meat"

                                      You know, with fish you don't usually have the option to buy different cuts like you do from a pig or a cow. You can't really buy a fish shoulder or fish porterhouse, you just have the choice of buying whole fish or filets. Maybe there are exceptions to this, like with some types of sushi, but for the most part restaurants either buy one or the other. Don't think that I have ever seen a fish market that had different grades of fish dependant on what part it came from!

                                      Tell your friends to just eat steak and fish sticks!

                                      1. MSPD Jan 2, 2008 06:00 AM

                                        Yikes. Don't ever take them out for soft shell crab or mackerel sashimi.

                                        1. c
                                          chefstu Jan 2, 2008 06:25 AM

                                          As a friend of mine once said, "if you want fish with no bones, order lobster"
                                          I don't think anyone likes finding a bone or bones in their fish filet but since all of us chefs are human( I think), it is possible that we may miss a bone. I think that when eating fish its buyer beware. If you feel a bone when eating, spit it out and quit whining.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chefstu
                                            drramin Jan 2, 2008 06:53 AM

                                            i couldn't agree more. it seems to me some people are just looking fro a dramatic effect. tiny bones in a fish are normal and can't expect the chef to use a microscope to remove any semblance of bone it the fillet.

                                          2. jfood Jan 2, 2008 07:27 AM

                                            Absolutely precious is all jfood can say and jfood would recommend a non-fish resto if you ever go out. This friend is waaaay over the top on requirements. Lat time jfood check fish were still part of the vertibrae sect so bones seem to be a part of their culture. Gotta love people's indiosyncracies. Do they also send back oysters if there is a piece of shell, meat if there is sinew, chicken if there is a feather and sorbet if there is a tiny pit?

                                            Jfood would add embarassing to your comical description. Maybe they should order some deep fried amoebae.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jfood
                                              smartie Jan 2, 2008 07:34 AM

                                              I think many people have become so used to processed foods that they forget the source of food. Maybe they should still to fishsticks and frozen fries and peas.

                                              1. re: smartie
                                                jfood Jan 2, 2008 07:40 AM

                                                Yeah but then they will forget to cook them and break a tooth, or complain that the microwave is causing harmful radiation, or the mercury level in the fish sticks is too high, or the farmers are not getting subsidies and the big businesses are making oodles of profits on the fries, on and on.

                                                Bottom line as Roseanne Rose-anna-danna said, "If it's not one thing it's another" and people will always find something to complain about. People make their choices on outlookand food. Jfood likes to stay positive on both. Worked so far.

                                            2. g
                                              gloriousfood Jan 2, 2008 07:42 AM

                                              I have a friend who is repulsed by bones in fish AND pits in olives. Good god. I'm more concerned about the air we breathe, but that's another topic altogether.

                                              1. s
                                                Steve Jan 2, 2008 11:33 AM

                                                Ordering whole fish is a wonderful part of any celebratory meal. We often do that when we are in a group. Many consider the cheek meat to be the best.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Steve
                                                  justagthing Jan 2, 2008 03:04 PM

                                                  I so crave halibut cheeks and always bring some back home when I visit Seattle.

                                                2. Sam Fujisaka Jan 2, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                  I've been following this thread. I wouldn't eat with those friends again. The fish thing would drive me bananas. The banana thing (see drramin's second reply above) I would find really fishy after the fish thing.

                                                  I catch, cook, serve, and eat fish: fillet some (with a couple of pin bones not uncommonly escaping), cut cross-wise in steaks, and cook whole. Fish do have parts. For tuna (maguro), I cut o-toro (front lower and oily), chu-toro (middle lower), and back (akami) and use for different applications from sashimi to sushi to cooked.

                                                  For whole fish, I think all of us who grew up eating with chopsticks have never been botherd by fish bones: Its super easy to separate bones from flesh with chopsticks while eating.

                                                  1. b
                                                    BlueHerons Jan 2, 2008 07:51 PM

                                                    Your friend is missing out on a lot.

                                                    I can't think of many things more delicious than the Crispy Fish at SNOB in Charleston, South Carolina. It is the whole baby flounder pan fried and simply delicious.

                                                    Your friends could always order the McFish sandwich from MickeyDs if they ever get a craving!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: BlueHerons
                                                      rebs Jan 3, 2008 07:31 AM

                                                      according to the OP's friends, because there are no bones in a McFish sandwich, McD's must be serving a higher quality cut of fish so they are all set!

                                                      1. re: BlueHerons
                                                        TexasToast Jan 3, 2008 02:37 PM

                                                        TT's been to SNOB!

                                                        I'd forgotten about that. So many restaurants, so little time!


                                                      2. monalisawoman Jan 3, 2008 01:58 PM

                                                        Hamachi Kama (yellowtail collar) is one of the most savory & delicious cuts of fish. It's served right on the bone, & there are few pleasures that match licking that bone clean. meow.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: monalisawoman
                                                          Sam Fujisaka Jan 3, 2008 02:26 PM

                                                          Oh yes! When we worked in southern Mindanao, we got off the plane (from Manila), went directly to the market in General Santos and bought a yellowtail, traveled to where our field station was in South Cotabato, grilled that collar and sashimi'd the rest!! The fat richness of the collar! Later we'd go out for more beers plus BBQ chicken feet and balut.

                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                            hannaone Jan 3, 2008 08:00 PM

                                                            I can just imagine the people described in the OP reacting to balut.

                                                            1. re: hannaone
                                                              Bill Hunt Jan 4, 2008 06:30 PM

                                                              Or to Vietnamese, fried, live, baby birds...

                                                              Not that I am a fan,

                                                        2. r
                                                          ricepad Jan 5, 2008 10:48 AM

                                                          Perhaps you can suggest that your friends limit their seafood intake to squid (yum), octopus (yum!) and the safest and best of all (by their standards)...jellyfish (double yum!).

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: ricepad
                                                            TexasToast Jan 5, 2008 11:55 AM

                                                            And scallops!

                                                            1. re: ricepad
                                                              drramin Jan 6, 2008 06:54 AM

                                                              hahahaha.that is so funny. i'll suggest all the spineless creatures to them

                                                              1. re: ricepad
                                                                KaimukiMan Jan 12, 2008 10:11 AM

                                                                no doubt they would end up with the beak of the squid somehow.

                                                              2. Megiac Jan 7, 2008 04:45 PM

                                                                "The restaurant tries to save money and they would take a cut of the fish too close to the bone which according to them is undesirable part of the meat"

                                                                I don't understand this at all. Many fish that we eat are small with only one filet on each side. There are no cuts closer or further from the bone, just a single cut. I think that is the case with most cod.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Megiac
                                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 11, 2008 04:28 PM

                                                                  Along those very lines, we ordered the "Catfish Filets" at a restaurant, upon arriving in PHX. The platter came out with the backbone of the catfish, deep-fried - no meat, whatsoever. I called the server over and inquired as to what this was supposed to be. His comment was, "well, that's the way they eat them in the South." Unfortunately for him, I was born and raised in the Deep South. I have eaten catfish from Mississippi, to Louisiana, to Alabama, to Texas, to Arkansas, to Tennessee - you get the picture? I have never had the backbone of the catfish deep-fried, with the filets removed! Nowhere!! I returned the dish and asked if they had any real "Catfish Filets" on hand. The answer was "No, this is all we have... " I ordered something else (forgot what), and it was not much better. Only high-point is that the restaurant mentioned closed shortly afterwards. Still, it showed me, that some restauranteurs, or restaurant suppliers, were not above selling the unsuspecting clients, what should have been tossed to the cats in the alley, and charging US$12 for it. I assume the practice still exists, but have not run across it, in the next 10 years - anywhere.


                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    vonwotan Jan 11, 2008 06:42 PM

                                                                    I can't speak to deep fried catfish spines being served in the South. I have however had the bones of other fish deep fried, and once in a soup/stew. The little bits of meat between the bones is prized by some folks and is quite tasty - although not that satisfying if you are looking for a full meal.

                                                                    1. re: vonwotan
                                                                      Bill Hunt Jan 11, 2008 07:15 PM

                                                                      I've done my share of fish stock, from the remains of different fish, but had never had the backbone, alone, served to me as a main. In my case, there was less fish meat, than one is likely to find in one, Mrs. Paul's fish stick, and it was not priced as would one MP's fish stick. Bad choice to try and serve it to me, as a "Son of the Old South," and then try to pass it off as "how they do it in the South." Stock is one thing, mains is another.


                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                      scubadoo97 Jan 12, 2008 02:41 PM

                                                                      That's so funny. I could see if the backbone was served in addition to the fillets but the vertebrae only and no flesh? That's bizarre. Calling Chef Ramsey. This is a kitchen nightmare if I ever heard of one.

                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                        Bill Hunt Jan 12, 2008 05:03 PM

                                                                        When I got through lambasting the server, it seemed like an episode from "Kitchen Nightmares!" Now, this was in PHX, and maybe catfish are little known here. Also, what were the chances, that a guy from Mississippi would be dining there, and know the difference? Wife, and I, still laugh at the look on the server's face, when I told him, "what for." [old Deep South expression, sorry.]

                                                                        Still, some packager of food, convinced someone, that this was a real dish, and probably no one commented, until I arrived.

                                                                        I feel the same way about various "wings." If anybody wanted to eat them, the first tiime around, they would not have to be packaged, as they are - but that is just my take on it. I still see CH topics, on "Where are the best wings?" I guess that I have missed something, or not fallen victim to the hype.


                                                                  2. h
                                                                    Hue Jan 12, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                    Grew up living next to the Chesapeake Bay, and it was a source of many a meal, especially on Fridays, mostly rockfish(striped bass) and perch. The fish was just gutted,scaled,the head cut of fand pan fried Didn't know what filleting was until I was about 16. Always had to watch out for bones, my mother made all us kids have a slice of bread at hand in case we swallowed a bone

                                                                    1. m
                                                                      Minskore Sep 13, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                                      Yes restaurants try to save money, they do that by buying the whole fish from the fisherman and gutting/deboning/scaling it themselves at the restaurant, the problem with that is: restaurant staff are not trained in how to proper;y gut, debone, and scale a fish, the only people who should be doing that are the fisherman, but restaurants don't like to pay for that added service. I am the daughter of a fisherman and have lived off fish, and I hate bones in my fish. Properly cleaned, scaled, and deboned fish should never have smaller fine bones left behind, if you find those, it's because the fish was deboned by someone who didn't have the skill to do it right. Some people may not mind having bones in their fish, but the when a restaurant is serving the fish deboned/filleted then it should/must be completely free of bones. Unless they're serving the fish whole, or as a fish steak, in which case it's not deboned or skinned, etc.

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