No Fishing

No, I Do NOT Eat Fish

Dear fellow food bloggers,

If you post a recipe on your blog that has fish in it, please do not tag it at ‘vegetarian’. Because it’s not. It’s pescetarian.

The other day, I was browsing the Reader and someone had posted a recipe for grilled roughy and tagged it as both vegetarian and vegan. I had never heard of roughy, so curiously clicked on the post and low-and-behold, a great big slab of fish was strewn across a plate. Sigh. Now, it’s bad enough that this was marked as vegetarian but vegan? What?! And it’s not as though the fish was an optional ingredient; it was the star of the show!

Those fishy fiends aren’t always so glaringly obvious at first; sometimes I click on a recipe to find that some form of fish product has sneaked its way into the ingredients list. If your Thai curry uses fish sauce or your soup uses fish stock, at least I can leave out or replace those ingredients (however, chances are I will hurriedly close the tab with your blog on it out of protest). But if it’s a fish-based recipe, please tag it as ‘pescetarian’ or not at all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t care if other people eat fish. (Or chicken. Or lamb…) But if you do, you are not a vegetarian. If you eat fish/seafood but no other meat, you are a pescetarian. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I just wish that this little P-word would make its way into more people’s vocabulary.

About 99.9% of the time (a well-researched statistic, I assure you…) when someone asks if I am vegetarian, they follow this up with, “Do you eat fish?” No. I do not eat fish. I am a vegetarian.

No Fish

Why don’t I eat fish, you may ask? In a nutsehll, because I don’t believe it’s any different to eating mammals or birds. So a fish may not be as cute as a fluffy little lamb or a wobbly-legged calf but for many reasons – morally, ethically, environmentally and more – I choose not to eat any animals. Fish do feel pain like any other animal, and the seafood industry is not one I want to support any more than I do the ‘meat’ industry (The Vegetarian Society sums it up well). When I became a vegetarian, the thought of fish never even crossed my mind – I just gave up all animals non-discriminantly!

I was never really a fan of fish anyway. I ate the odd tinned salmon sandwich and was partial to fresh prawns (contrary to popular belief, Australians do not call them ‘shrimp’) or calamari rings as a child but now just the thought of those things make me feel squeamish. I can’t believe I used to eat something where I had to rip the head of myself! Gag.

Again, if that’s your kind of thing, I have no problem with it. For you. Just please don’t upload a seafood salad and label it ‘vegetarian’!

Working in the travel industry, I have to deal with dietary requirements on bookings on a daily basis. Every time I see the requirement “vegetarian – will eat fish”, I cringe. But I leave it there for the resort staff because I know that if I change it to ‘pescetarian’, the majority of people won’t know what I mean. Probably not even the pescetarian themselves. At least it’s not as bad as the person who wrote “Fish-eating vegetarian (do eat free range meat)”. THAT’S NOT VEGETARIAN! Good job on being a conscientious omnivore but trust me, you’re not going to be served free-range meat in the Alps.

Yesterday I legitimately had “vegan – eats fish”. Where do I even start?

So all I ask, trusty readers, is that you all spread the word ‘pescetarian’ far and wide so it becomes as well known as ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’. Then I won’t have to explain every time I’m out for a meal, or bring my lunch into work, or get given my ‘special meal’ on an aeroplane that no, I do NOT eat fish.

See any fish on there?

26 thoughts on “No, I Do NOT Eat Fish

  1. Thank you for your rant. I agree completely! Like you, I don’t care where people fall on the continuum, but I bristle when the incorrect term is used. I do; however, giggle when people ask, in all seriousness, if I can eat animal crackers:)

  2. I’m totally with you on this one. I do not eat fish either! I must say, though, that I wasn’t familiar with the term pescetarian for those that do. Thanks for teaching me something new. :-)

  3. I had to laugh. I don’t think it is funny because ti causes problems, but I still laughed.

    It was more than 20 years ago that we first met pescetarians on a cross-country skiiing holiday. It’s always stuck in our head as a good term. At the time we were pointing out to the hotel that no, picking out the ham from the peas didn’t constitute a vegetarian meal.

    I did like fish, but decided they needed a life too. I also spend a lot of time trying to explain that vegetarians don’t eat fish, even if people say they are vegetarian and they eat fish – er, they are wrong.

    But hey, my last post was about a menu that offered a chicken and anchovy vegetarian salad :) Beat that!

    1. Haha, that’s okay! I wanted the post to be an informative rant as well as an entertaining one. ;-)

      Ohhh, how I hate when people ask me to pick the meat out. Had a work function the other day at a bar/restaurant and loads of food platters got brought out but NOT ONE vegetarian thing. One girl piped up, “Why don’t you just pick the ham off the pizza?” Nearly hit her.

      Definitely off to check out your post – that sounds ridiculous!

  4. One of my biggest pet peeves. I’m all about you do your thing, I’ll do mine, but using the term “vegetarian” incorrectly just confuses people. I’ve had well-meaning folks offer me matzo, saying “It’s just in chicken stock, but the balls are dough.” I’ve even had medical professionals ask me if I ate chicken or fish It’s like, clearly something crucial was misunderstood here. I do explain the pescatarian/lacto-ovo/vegan etc. spectrum when appropriate, but it very rarely goes over well, even when said with a smile.

    1. Yep, get the chicken stock thing all the time too! And you’re right, when I explain the difference, it doesn’t go down well – people think I’m being defensive. No, I’m just clearing things up because people get it so very wrong! =P

    1. Thanks! I know, you’d think that in this day and age where different eating habits/lifestyles are so common, it would be better understood!

      And wow – two nominations? Thanks SO much. It’s really nice to know that people appreciate my blog. Thanks again! =)

  5. Cheers to that, sister-friend! I get the “But do you eat fish?” ALL the time. I thought I was the only one annoyed by this. Good to know I’m not alone :)

  6. This annoys me so much too! And I’m not even vegetarian!! But my boyfriend is and he ALWAYS gets asked ‘but do you eat fish?’ and it’s like no!! No vegetarians do!! Sometimes he calls Pescatarians, ‘Wishyouwereatarian” hehehhee :D Fabulous post, sums up exactly how I feel :)

  7. To the ubiquitous “But do you eat fish?” question, I usually reply, “No, I’m a real vegetarian.” I like how the start of the word pescetarian sounds like “pesky”. If all those pseudovegetarians would stop eating fish, maybe we wouldn’t have to answer as many pesky questions about our dietary preferences!

    1. Haha, I say I’m a “proper” vegetarian! I personally don’t understand why people give up meat but continue eating fish (unless it’s a dislike of the real meaty taste, I suppose) but that’s okay. I don’t really care that they do, I just wish they wouldn’t refer to themselves as vegetarians and leave us “real” vegetarians answering those pesky questions!

  8. Drives me batty. It is not uncommon to be asked if I eat chicken, either (and I once heard someone refer to herself as a “strict poultretarian,” which caused me to nearly choke on my own giggles). I don’t know when the “vegetarian” label became so desirable that meat-eaters started claiming it!

    1. “strict poultretarian”? Haha! The chicken question irks me even more than the fish! I don’t discriminate… I don’t eat ANY animals.

      Often meat-eaters think vegetarians are weird so no idea why they are claiming our word! Ha!

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