Sardine rillettes: when things aren’t quite what you hoped

I have to admit, when I saw this week’s French Fridays with Dorie, I wanted, more than anything to really like it, to be pleasantly surprised, to find a new gem to add to the menu.  I have never eaten a sardine, and when I peeled back the tin top, my reaction should have warned me about what was to come.  The scaly, biology-experiment looking floaters in olive oil surprised me, but I soldiered on.  My faith in Dorie is complete, and I figured there had to be a reason that people would voluntarily eat this stuff.

I deboned (thank you biology dissection classes), and even scraped off some of the scaly skin.  Just before I added the fish, I tasted the base of minced onion, pepper, lemon juice and cilantro combined with cream cheese.  It was lovely, so I hoped that sardines would boost the flavor, add some saltiness, round out the dish.

I wasn’t prepared for the color — a rather intimidating gray — or the smell, once the fish was mashed and stirred into the rest of the spread.  Even more, after the evening of chilling, the aroma of fish that engulfed my kitchen about knocked me out.  I was a good sport, and spread some of the rillette on my homemade whole wheat honey bread.  I raised the bread to my mouth, took a bite filled with hope and gusto, and did my best to chew and swallow. After one bite, I hoped that someone else might be pleasantly surprised, so I wrapped it and put it back in the frig. I was reminded of the days of forced liver-eating.

How do we react when things aren’t quite what we hoped? I suppose it is good that we try. Good that we are optimistic about the outcome, wanting to enjoy, partake, be fulfilled. Sometimes, though, as I have recently been telling my students, things aren’t quite what you hoped or planned, and you have to make the best of a challenging situation.

Our girls soccer team has recently faced such a struggle.  Unfortunately, the lesson they learned is NOT one of resilience in the face of “things not quite being what they hoped.” They essentially ran out an experienced and solid coach, mostly because they couldn’t deal with his tactics. He is an old school yeller kind of coach.  When I coached, I was not a yeller, and I didn’t subscribe to that philosophy, but I also know that if you want to be involved in athletics, sometimes, you have to deal with the yellers and make the best of it.

I am dismayed that like my sardines, which after all, are just a bunch of dead fish, the coach of this team was tossed aside.

The sardine rillettes reminded me that sometimes, we just don’t like things, and that it is okay, as long as we are willing to make the effort, to give new things a chance.  We should be resilient about the real challenges in life, but perhaps tossing the sardine rillettes was really the only option once it was clear that no one in our family could stomach the stuff.

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15 Responses to Sardine rillettes: when things aren’t quite what you hoped

  1. heidi1169 says:

    Great blog, I really like your real life analogy, very clever. Next week will be better, it involves sugar!

  2. Good post….resilence and giving things a chance are essential in life. You also need to know when to fold them in the words of Kenny Rogers.

  3. ”The sardine rillettes reminded me that sometimes, we just don’t like things, and that it is okay, as long as we are willing to make the effort, to give new things a chance.”

    Yes, THIS, exactly! I could not have said it better myself.

  4. I’m glad you brought up the smell because it literally permeated through my kitchen for hours. I forgot to mention that in my post.

  5. Betsy says:

    Kudos for trying it. You never know until you try. And also knowing to cut your losses when it’s has no chance of working out. Who knew there were so many life iessons in a little tin of sardines.

  6. Cher says:

    Oh, the smell was just atrocious, wasn’t it?
    I think a twist on the old adage “it isn’t you, it’s me” applies here – in this instance, I am pretty sure it is safe to say “it isn’t me, it’s you”…

    Fun post 🙂

  7. I didn’t think much of the smell, then again, I chickened out and used the boned and skinless sardines. Beautifully written post – sometimes food just turns into the vehicle to get heavier things off our chests.

  8. I am totally with you, I wanted to like this and be surprised but it just wasn’t to be. I’m hoping next week’s friands make me change my mind about coconut.

  9. Mary Hirsch says:

    Sometimes you just have to “turn the page” in Recipes and in Life. That’s what I did with the sardines. Turned the page and tried Rillettes de Thon —— which were delicious. After this week’s recipe choice, I “know” rillettes, I just don’t like Sardine Rillettes. As for the coach. I am not a yeller either. I don’t think yelling is an effective way to teach but……… if he was a good coach, perhaps compromises could have been made, lessons learned and there would have been a Win Win situation. Unfortunately, compromise is not in out country’s vocabularly anymore. If adults cannot compromise, how do we expect our children to ever learn to. (Okay, rant over.) Mary

  10. Alice says:

    AWWW…. well at least you gave it a shot! : )

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