Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Soybean Oil

Country: Canada
Calories: 130

I like a can not fussed up with sustainable b.s. Just good, honest fish.

Nose: A bit fishy. A bit oily. To me, this is the classic way to eat sardines at the office. A good solid lunch.

Eye: So pretty. An honest look. Not mishandled. Not stripped of flavor giving bones or skin. They aren’t tarted up with mustard or tomato sauce or spices. Just fish and a bit of oil.

Shiney, happy fishes.

Fork Feel: Firm but giving. Not tough. I think the soy oil softens the fish just enough. It’s a nice texture.The bones give it a nice crunch

Highly forkable fish

Tongue: The honest taste of the fish is nice. Not overwhelmed or covered up with anything else.

Mouth Feel: Oily and filling.The taste lingers in the mouth. You only eat 130 calories but you won’t feel like eating the rest of the day. Some crackers might complete the meal with some extra texture. I’m happy.

War and Peace – Book two My 2019 Reading Project

After Book One’s endless round of cocktail parties and personal politics and kisses in alcoves and fights over wills. I was beginning to wonder where the ‘war’ in the title came into this novel but then Book Two ended up being twenty chapters of nothing but war.

And Tolstoy gives us the full gamut from buck privates to Emperors. From field tactics to international relations. Wow. The characters we met at parties in Petersburg and Moscow in Book One are now throw on the fields of battle in Austria where they are moved around to witness history and as their stories unfold we get to see it also.

And the amazing thing is that Tolstoy can keep this up over twenty chapters. It’s quite amazing. And exhausting to read.

One thing I do like about Tolstoy that I thought I might not is his minor characters. I’d recently watched a video essay on the Cohen Brother’s minor characters. Tolstoy does much the same thing. They are wonderful, unforgettable editions that added pepper to the story. They are little distractions that play off of the main characters, maybe even elaborate on them.


This is a brilliant guide, btw: https://medium.com/@BrianEDenton/a-year-of-war-and-peace-cc66540d9619

Northern Catch Sardines in Mustard Sauce

You know it’s mustard because the can has yellow!

Country: Canada
Calories: 140

Notes: This is the Aldi store brand. My college student daughter like Aldi so I have high hopes.


Nose: Mustardy. The last sardines in mustard I had were more vinegary while this has that the mustard carries through more..

Eye: The fish looks a bit beat up. And they don’t fill the can. It says it’s the same (3.75 oz) as other cans but….. Oh, and the mustard is all on one side of the can. Maybe someone tossed the box around a bit in shipping.

Fork Feel: The fish are crumbly. Maybe the mishandling got to them. Every time I try to stab a fishy with my fork it falls apart so there’s lots of scooping and when I scoop there’s the chance of mustard covered fish falling onto my shirt. I don’t appreciate that.

Tongue: I’m not a mustard guy but this has a brown mustard flavor to it which I do appreciate. It compliments the fish.

Mouth Feel: They are dry, unpleasantly so.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Water with Sea Salt

Country: North Pacific
Calories: 140

Nose: Nothing but the smell of sardines from this can. Open this up on your front porch and the neighborhood cats will come running.

I find the blue package calming.

Eye: Oil does give it a bit of a sheen but otherwise, they look like little fishes. And I like eating little fishes.

I love that dirty water…..

Fork Feel: I thought the salt water would soften them up but not so. They are meaty little guys.

Tongue: They aren’t as filling as ones that come with oil. I miss the umami but I could see using these in a recipe where I was adding my own fat.

Mouth Feel: Not too salty at all. As I’ve been told, salt makes things taste more like themselves and it’s true. These sardines taste very sardine-y which I like.

Season Brand Sardines in Tomato Sauce Salt Added

Country: Morocco
Calories: 194

Nose: Smells of tomato paste and nothing but. Read the ingredients. Yep, that’s what it is.

Wow! Look at all those certifications!

Eye: Kind of ugly, no? The can came with this flimsy paper-ish lid that reminded me of a yogurt top. I want something a bit more solid on my fish, especially from a hot place like Morocco.

Flimsy top.

Fork Feel: Very firm. They are also tightly packed in which seems to stiffen them up a bit more. A bit too solid feeling

Tongue: The tomato taste just lays on top of the fish. It’s not marinated at all so you have to swirl it a bit but once you do you get a descent taste. If you have some pepper or other seasoning laying about the office, give it a try. And if you like the taste of sardines as I do, you will find it smothered here so there’s that.

Mouth Feel: They didn’t dry out the fish and the aftertaste is that of spaghetti-os.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Marinara Sauce

Country: North Pacific (processed in Vietnam)
Calories: 157.5 (the nutrition label is a little different on this one)

I never noticed the little fishing line with a hook off the boat before. Not a nasty net for Wild Planet!

Nose Open it up and it smells like discount spaghetti sauce.

Eye: It doesn’t look bad but could be improved by cooking up some pasta and tossing it in. Not a bad lunch at all.

Fork Feel: Very firm. It doesn’t’;t feel like the tomatoes were too acidic and cooked the fish too much. That’s nice.

Tongue: The sauce brings some sweetness – maybe it’s the added sugar – to the fish. Not in a bad way. One small detail: I’ve noticed a metallic understate – just a hint – about half way through eating the can.

Mouth Feel: The sauce seems to give a fresh after taste after eating the fish that the oil or lemon based cans of sardines do. That’s a pleasant change up.

I do like the little finger divot they put in below the pull tab. That’s considerate.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Lemon-Lightly Smoked

Country: North Pacific (processed in Vietnam. Hey, so was my dad!)
Calories: 170

Nose: None whatsoever. The office grumps are not going to yell at you for this one.

Eye: A slice of lemon right on top. That’s nice. These Wild Planet guys just look healthy and fresh to my untrained eye.

Beauty shot!

Fork Feel: A little soft, actually. As in other tastings, I think a bit of acid/lemon does that. But it’s not too bad. I prefer it to be meatier and oiler so I’d go without the citrus but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered.

I eat well.

Tongue: I’m not getting too much of the lemon. Maybe just an overall lightening of the taste but that’s it. There’s no citrus taste to it.

Mouth Feel: A slight amount of mealiness which I sometimes find it lemon flavored sardines. It’s bordering on dry but not there at all. Just flirting with dry.

Handled with such care I had to take it out of the can.

King Oscar Kipper Snacks Lightly Smoked Herring Fillets

Country: Canada
Calories: 160

Old Beardy is Back!

Note: Man cannot live by sardines alone. I usually go for sardines simply because I try to eat fish at lunch every day. While I’m not one to be afraid of my food, mercury is a thing and sardines are at the bottom of the mercury chain (and cheap!) so they are my normal go to.

Nose: Fishy! Not really office friendly. Then again, neither am I.

Eye: These are some pretty fish.I like it when fish look like fish. These do. They aren’t tarted up to look like something they’re not.

Apparently the Brits eat with eggs. I’m going to have to try that.

Fork Feel: Packed like Marie Kondo had a go at them. Very tidy.

Tongue: Kippers taste like kippers. These taste like kippers. I don’t have much kipper tasting experience however. I like how these taste. It seems a good honest working man taste. I like that for lunch.

Mouth Feel: Very pleasant to the mouth. Almost meaty which is pleasing. I don’t appreciate a wimpy fish.

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Lightly Smoked

Country: “Sustainable caught in the north Pacific” it says on the front. But then on the end in small print the box says “processed in Thailand” which isn’t the north Pacific. Whatevs.
Calories: 170

Ok, ladies, smile for the camera.
Hey, cute can.

Nose: A healthy, fresh fish smell hits you upon top popping. Nice.

These are some pretty fish. No really. Vitiligo aside, they look nice.

Fork Feel: They hold together well. They aren’t over packed and thus crushed into mealiness.

Tongue: I don’t get the smoke flavor that’s advertised on the box. Nor much flavor at all. They’re somewhat bland. I guess you could call it mild. Or you could call it boring.

Mouth Feel: I’m getting dry. How is an oily fish packed in oil dry? I’m disappointed.

Note: I’m always a bit leery of products that have the words “Planet” and “sustainable” and the like highlighted on them. I never know of they mean anything or are just marketing. For instance, why the paper sleeve for the metal can here? Other companies don’t need it.

All our cans get a special marketing wrapper that makes the mark up worthwhile.

War and Peace – Book One My 2019 Reading Project

I remember reading somewhere, likely about his novel Man in Full, Tom Wolfe wanting to write a great, sweeping novel like Tolstoy. And then he did. Man in Full impressed me and impressed upon me. It will never leave me.

Tolstoy at War

My own writing has been quite different. It’s straight forward. Narrow. Very direct. Sparse. For years this was my ideal. Go for Hemingway. But it’s a limitation, I think, of youth. Impatience, maybe. I just want to get on with the story. And I’m no longer a youth.

It may be time for me to write a sweeping novel where I can reflect on reflect and explore sweeping themes.

Book One of W&P is definitely tempting me further into trying it.

Yes, I struggle with the names and I struggle a bit with the French and I struggle a bit with the culture and the history. But with a decent guide and some patience the novel’s first of fifteen books – consisting of 25 shortish chapters – sucks you into the the coming narrative.

Tolstoy at Peace

I’ve honestly no idea what that narrative is about – obviously some war, right? – but what happens to Pierre, Andrey and Boris (I’ve simplified them to Pete, Andy and, well, Boris, in my head) and those around them? I’m a cultural nincompoop.

Yet, I’ve run ahead of my commitment to one chapter a day. The writing is not nearly as ponderous as I was expecting – maybe that’s the translation – the narrative is fairly light. Why was I expecting it to be about soldiers sitting in dirty snow eating potatoes talking about death? Heck, the first five chapters were set at the same party. Pierre is a dork. Boris’ mom is a pain in the ass hoot.

I’m sure things get a bit dark from here. The last couple chapters are hinting at it with deaths, fights over wills, guys hating on their sweet wives and what not but I feel like a jerk for not reading this sooner.


This is a brilliant guide, btw: https://medium.com/@BrianEDenton/a-year-of-war-and-peace-cc66540d9619