“I can’t stand them; they’re of a different class. I arrived at their house last weekend and they were sitting around having lunch, I couldn’t believe my eyes; tinned sardines and brown bread!”

Thus spoke the wife of a man for whom I once worked. I refrained from commenting, the slated tinned sardine having been a grocery cupboard staple throughout my life. Mashed with chopped onions and a bit of pepper, on lightly toasted rye bread … With fresh chillies on a chunk of ciabatta, or – like today – in tomato sauce with plain brown toast; a taste of summer sunshine.

Our Kwa Zulu Natal coastal region is experiencing the annual sardine run which heralds the arrival of our summer. I sit here at my desk with my simple lunch and dream of having fresh sardines to drench in lemon juice and grill on a beach fire. Bliss.

A different class, what an ass…



  1. yumm and you know what my best is about tinned sardines – the graat in the middle!! dunno why but since I was little i loved that! (i eat chicken bones ok – maybe that explains a bit!)
    the other favourite from way back when which would probably also be classified as nether class is bullybeef on brown bread with onion and loads of vinegar – yum!!!!

  2. Sardines are a noble little fish that have staved off many hunger pangs in those less blessed with bulging purses. For that alone, it deserves our accolades.

  3. My late mom used to love sardines, eat them jus sommer out the can…I am not too partial to them, think it’s the silver skin that puts me off….although you seem to make them sound like a gourmet dish with the lemon and crushed onion …..

  4. My parents served them on occasion. I never much cared for them.

    Once, I took my unwanted sardine and stuck it in my brother’s glass of milk (while my sister and older brothercheered me on)

    He drank it!

    We roared with laughter.

  5. Mashed sardines, mixed with chopped onion and tomato on rolls or toast were my staple diet both times I was pregnant and about all I could eat! And I still love it… We had a chef at work once who made the most delicious fishcakes with chilli sauce! I really would like a recipe for the fishcakes – they were made with mashed potatoes – if anyone can oblige…

  6. I personally despise sardines, don’t really deal well with most fish, but that is just a personal taste-bud preference. I agree with your point completely. What an @ss – and I might add – pompous. Good for you for writing it up.

  7. Good heavens… Eating Sardines put you in a certain class? Some people are in such need to stand out that they actually use sardines as a measuring stick? I hope some sharp tooth little sardine bites her pretentious butt when next she swims in our ocean!

  8. Mmmm, mushed up with lots of onion and dolloped on Melba Toast. Now that I love!
    They were still netting off Addington Beach on Friday – much excitement when 4 sharks entered the shallow water just off the shore.

  9. Sounds like a perfect breakfast treat. At the risk of appearing highly impressionable I think I’ll buy some sardines today….I have one of those wonderful breadmakers so there’s bread already on site.

    Thanks for this fabulous tip. Especially the ‘tastes like sunshine’ bit.

  10. These days I keep some of the canned in the pantry and have them on top of a salad when I don’t feel like cooking. (Good for my youthful figure!*#@$#!!!)

    They were a real stapple when I was growing up. Even restaurants had them on the menu: Usually bacon and sardines with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on bread of choice.

    Now fresh sardines … yum! … I rarely see them at the market any more.

  11. Pingback: THE KEY TO A TIN OF SARDINES « The only Cin

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