I Still Love Sardines. What About You?

If not sardines, what “quirky” food do you like?

I grew to love sardines in my first year of medical school. I’m not sure why, but my guess is because it was convenient and easy to make a sandwich.

I rented a room from a psychiatrist (good idea at the time) on the faculty at Albany Medical College. It was just that … a room, a bed, a window, a desk and a door outside of which was a communal toilet.
That’s all I thought I needed.

Because it was grind away… study for hours, afraid to miss something or fail a test.
And oh yes, there was something else I needed… food. I was not one to cook. There was no place to cook anyway.

On occasion, I went to the Greek Restaurant nearby for “One cupsz cuffee, one rust beef samich and smush pudado.”
Otherwise I ate in the room or the hospital cafeteria that first year.

One of my favorite foods was the sardine sandwich. It was easy. Use the key to open the can, wave off the smell, pour the oil on the Italian bread, spoon out the sardines, layer them on the bread, open a Coke and that was it. Eat with no study time lost.

“What the hell is that smell,” is an oft refrain I heard from outside the door.

“I’m eating brain food,” I replied. I liked them then, I like them today.

Now, when I have them, Diane lights a candle, not to the food but to cover the smell.

Oh well.

By | 2018-01-21T18:53:08+00:00 January 22nd, 2018|Food, Medical School|30 Comments


  1. Dora Waters January 22, 2018 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Mi piacciono moltissimo anch’io ed anche il tonno……….esattamente-cibo per il cervello! Non mi importa l’odore………

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      Daverro! Spegna la candela. Vale la pena.

  2. Helene Capraro January 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    I ate sardines as a child, but as a grew older I had one word to say about them “disgusting”. Now I have a granddaughter who eats them as a snack and dips them into some sort of concoction. My son joins her in the snack. This coming from a guy who refuses to eat squash, peas, sweet potatoes and beans. Go figure. Helene Capraro

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Helene. I cannot tell you how many things I did not like as a kid that I love now. Seems to me that your son, granddaughter and I are kindred spirits in sardines.

  3. Vin DiBiasio January 22, 2018 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Almost every week I eat a can of 5 oz. sardines. The ones without the skins. I toast a few long slices of whole wheat bread and enjoy my meal. I have to rinse out the sardine can a place it in the recycle bin in the garage. My wife Jeanne can’t stand the smell of sardines however she likes the idea I eat sardines because they are healthy for me and she cooks healthy low salt, low fat meals for me.

  4. Howard Weldon January 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    I have liked sardines since I was a child but my favorite is King Oscar or Brunswick Kipper Snacks. Kippers are herring fillets and always have a supply on hand.I have them on Saltines or in a salad along with a few anchovies for a salty fishy taste.

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      Ah … I have never gone the kipper route, Howard. I forgot about the herring, another favorite snack. Thanks.

  5. Diane January 22, 2018 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I need the candle just reading this!

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Look at all the compatriots I have.

  6. peter voccio jr January 22, 2018 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    DR. ED ,

    Sardines , Sardines , Oh please. Brain food , I shall remain at the bottom of the class.
    Ill have another piece of apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
    Diane you have my sympathy!

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Aha, siding with Diane, Eh? I just had a sardine sandwich, and she just lit a candle.

  7. Bob Tyzbir January 22, 2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Eggplant. When I was a kid my Mom would try to get me to eat eggplant. “It is just like veal cutlets” (which I liked very much). But just the name, eggplant, turned me off. Now I can’t get enough of the stuff. I even eat left over eggplant right out of the refrigerator, cold but yummy! If I knew then what I know now, I be a bigger blimp than I am.

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      You’ve come a long way from the days of “Macaroni only,” Bob.

  8. Mary Jane George January 22, 2018 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    My Dad taught me to like the ones in mustard on saltines, still a treat today.

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Yes, and another thing for me to try. Thanks

  9. Mel Zurier January 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm - Reply


    Obviously you haven’t had the opportunity yet to savor gefilte fish.

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm - Reply

      Correct, Mel. I just put it on the list. I have a lot on that list after publishing this rather simple blog on sardines. I never knew how much of a nerve they would touch … a pleasant one at that.
      I’ll have to return to one of my Classical High English assignments and read “Cannery Row.”

  10. John Ruscito January 22, 2018 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Boneless skinless sardines packed in olive oil along with thinly sliced onion makes a terrific sandwich. Was one of my mom’s favorites. Became one of my favorites too.

  11. Lou Fink January 22, 2018 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I roomed with three other guys 20 New Scotland Ave. and we ate anything that wasn’t roadkill .
    My roommate Bob McDonald shot a deer and we ate venison quite a bit . Another roommate zoo here

    Another roommate Zouhair Attassi Was a post stock at the New York State labs and worked on whale myoglobin so we ate whale blubber.
    eating at the cafeteria was like going out to dine.

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Hysterical, Lou. And I thought I was venturesome.

  12. Mike Montigny January 22, 2018 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    I always ate them right out of the can..
    Sandy also use to light a candle or spray the house until I took out the garbage containing the empty can. I could not kiss her until I brushed my teeth or chewed on some mints.

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      Sure, right out of the can. No surprise, tough guy!

  13. Paul Darling January 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Dear Dr. Ed,
    When I was a little boy, my parents were hosts for their friends, Harold and Delia Daniels,
    My mother (who was Irish) always served sardines, along with beer for the men, plus
    other refreshments, I always strolled around the card table to sample food, while
    my parents and guests played cards. (they always played cards – these were the 19302
    and 1940s.
    I liked sardines but when I recently sampled some that Fay had placed in the fridge, I thought that
    the taste was rather strong!
    Happy New Year,
    Paul Darling

    • Ed January 22, 2018 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Paul, until I wrote this simple story, I never knew how passionate were so many for sardines. Thanks for sharing.
      Yes, Happy Healthy New Year.

  14. Bill Aquilante January 22, 2018 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    My mother in law tiaught me how to eat sardines. Sardines, mustard and onions on Italian bread or saltines

  15. joe callaghan January 23, 2018 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Hi ED,
    Love sardines especially cooked on the grill. Best I’ve had were at Portimo on the Algave in Portugal. On the docks they have rows or 1/2 steel barrels used as grills and served at picnic tables with pitchers of beer or wine. Must be what heaven is like.
    If you go however, someone else has to drive home
    Best regards, joe Callaghan

    • Ed January 23, 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      Funny, Joe. Yes, I had them in Portugal. They were huge and delicious. Have never had them grilled, however.

  16. Natalie McKenna January 23, 2018 at 3:04 am - Reply

    I have only one thing to say – YUK!

    • Ed January 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      Ya gotta think outta the Can, Natalie

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