Chicken on the Sea Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce

Country: Product of Poland
Calories: 120

Note: I go into this with some trepidation. I’m not a ‘hot sauce’ guy. This is due to two facts. One, I just don’t get ‘hot’ when it comes to food. What’s the point of heat? I never got it. Two, I always identified “hot sauce” with a certain chicken wing sucking, overbearing, frat boy, Midwestern backward baseball cap wearing, obnoxious aesthetic that I’d always found a bit off-putting.

But I saw this in the store and figured it was time to get past my bigotry. Plus, I’d garnered some courage recently at a Chinese hot pot restaurant when I survived some spicy broth. So here I go.

Nose: A touch of vinegar in the air but not as heavy as I was expecting.

Eye: Uh-oh, there’s red in my sardine can! And what looks to be a slice of onion and bits of…spicy. After a few bits I realize I’m just not a fan of red sardines. I just close my eyes and tuck in.

Fork Feel: They seem little softer. Maybe it’s the use of vinegar over oil. They’re still the same as my favorite can from yesterday. And thick feeling.

Tongue: They are not nearly as hot as I was fearing. I’ve changed my diet recently in a few ways and my taste buds have changed with it. Maybe it’s part of that. But I’m able to endure ‘hot’ better but this doesn’t seem that hot. It’s reminiscent of the taco sauce they used to give us back in middle school (when tacos were considered ethnic food) – a watered down, vinegary pepper sauce.

Mouth Feel: The sauce flavor lingers much longer than the sardine flavor. It repeats on me which is not office friendly. Thankfully I have no afternoon meetings today.

Chicken on the Sea Sardines in Oil and Lightly Smoked

Country: Product of Poland (why can’t they say caught in Poland?)
Calories: 150

Hello, old friend!

Note: This has been my go-to can of sardines for the past year. I’ve eaten it every week day. So it should be familiar but I’ve also eaten them mindlessly so paying them some attention will be new.

Nose: The oil is soybean – that stuff they grow in Indiana – so not much smell. There is a smokiness to it but it’s not like these went over a romantic smoldering process. It’s a “smoke” flavoring. Still ok.

Eye: Some good, honest looking cuts of sardines. Nothing too fancy. Skin and bones. They whacked the heads and tails for ya but otherwise, thems good, healthy eatin’.

A good, honest can of sardines.

Fork Feel: I like these because you can fork through both sides of the fish and there’s no risk of it falling off from can to mouth.

Tongue: This probably isn’t a good introductory sardine for most. You are eating and tasting the fish. The smoke highlights it and lifts it a bit. A touch salty which brings the fish forward even more. There is no other seasoning in the can.

Mouth Feel: The soybean oil helps me on the mouth feel as well as feeling full. A 150 calorie lunch only goes so far. They also don’t clean up this fish for those with delicate sensibilities so you get the complete sensory experience, which is nice.

Chicken of the Sea Sardines in Mustard Sauce

New and Improved Quality, it says!

Country: Packed in Poland
Calories: 130

Nose: Vinegar! I mean, it says mustard on the can so you expect a bit of mustard but this is Vinegar!

Eye: Splat! The machine splats some mustard in there. It’s Chicken of the Sea, decidedly mass produced/canned sardines so I’m not expecting hipster-y delicate touches. But maybe you can tune the machine to do more than just Splat! the mustard.


Fork Feel: These were good swimmers. Firm fish. They feel a bit dry however.

Tongue: I’m not a mustard guy. I put ketchup on my hotdogs. But this isn’t too bad. It’s vinegary but the mustard does come through. And neither overpower the fish.

Mouth Feel: Dry. Maybe the mustard/vinegar dried them out. Do mustard people like dry things?

I love a dangling spine!

King Oscar Wild Caught Sardines Mediterranean Style

I like how “Wild Caught” is in a “Wild” script.

Country: Packed in Poland (something I’ll avoid in life)
Calories: 260

Nose: I’m a bit stuffy today so I’m not getting much. I think even with a clear nose, it’s underwhelming.

Eye: Oh so pretty when you pop it. Black olives piled on top with a tapenade of crushed/diced bits of other Mediterranean bits below it. Skin, fins and bones all lined up in pretty little rows.

I feel pretty, oh, so pretty!

Fork Feel: Nice.

Tongue: For a canned meal this is seasoned well. Lots of bits of seasoning are left in the bottom of the can when I was done. They weren’t stingy.

Mouth Feel: I think the only honest way to eat a sardine is with skin, with fin and with bones. It’s the whole textural and flavor package.

Season Brand Sardine Fillets in Lemon Garlic Sauce Salt Added

Country: Morocco
Calories: 182

Nose: Although I don’t see any bits of either, it’s more lemony smelling and not a bit garlicly.

Eye: I came across a piece of lemon (tasteless) but the color of the fish was a touch yellowish which is nice when you see a fish labeled lemon.

Lemon gives it a yellowy cast. I like it.

Fork Feel: Perfect for me. Yielding but stays whole up to my mouth.

Tongue: It’s neither overpowering in garlic or lemon but a very nice, understated balance of both flavors and the original sardine flavor. They don’t try to cover up the glorious fish. That’s nice.

Mouth Feel: A bit soft in the mouth but I think that’s justified with the lemon doing it’s citric acid dance on the fish flesh. The olive oil, as olive oil does, brings it together nicely.

A ate the big slice of lemon before taking a picture.

December’s Poems-End of the year of poetry.

This is it. The last month of poetry I read in 2018. I started a poetry noob and finished up a poetry lover….well, a lover of some poetry. Wallace Stevens is still a hard nut to crack for me.

This month I took is easy with some Blake and other more accessible poetry but not necessarily simpler poetry. It’s all in how you read it, I guess.

I’ve already started next years’s project – Tolstoy. It may just be War and Peace or it may also include Anna K. W&P has 360 chapters so that seems like a nice one year goal – but the chapters are so short…..

December 1, 2018The Little Boy LostWilliam BlakeI like these bookmatched poems.
December 2, 2018The Little Boy FoundWilliam BlakeEven though in “experience” it’s sweetly childlike.
December 3, 2018Infant JoyWilliam BlakeI see the “joy” with kids 20 years behind me.
December 4, 2018Infant SorryWilliam BlakeBut I remember this. The worry.
December 5, 2018August 1968W.H. AudenSimple like a knife in the gut.
December 6, 2018Lessons of DarknessClive JamesA poem to keep around for a while.
December 7, 2018Flanders FieldsJohn McCraeThe final stanza isn’t my favorite.
December 8, 2018If I Can Stop One Heart From BreakingEmily DickinsonSImply, direct, brilliant, American. Dickinson
December 9, 2018In the Bleak MidwinterChristina RossettiA nice christmas poem that’s not done to death.
December 10, 2018Mad Girls Love SongSylvia PlathShe leaves me cold.
December 11, 2018He Wishes for the clothes of heavenWilliam Butler YeatsI like these simple, intense poems.
December 12, 2018Caged BirdMaya AngelouI enjoyed more than I thought. Quibbles but only quibbles.
December 13, 2018Tell All The Truth But Tell It SlantEmily DickinsonShe is gloriously good.
December 14, 2018Sonnet 30William ShakespeareIt’s a hit!
December 15, 2018When I Am Dead, My DearestChristina RossettiNow my favorite Rossetti.
December 16, 2018The FlyWilliam BlakeI need to buy this collection and give it.
December 17, 2018General Review of the Sex SituationDorothy ParkerIs this trite? True?
December 18, 2018When I Was One and TwentyA.E. HousmanAnd not just 21 either. Ugh.
December 19, 2018To A Poor Old WomanWilliam Carlos WilliamsNot as powerful to me as his others.
December 20, 2018A Visit from St. NicholasClement Clarke MooreIt’s almost Christmas!
December 21, 2018Neither Out Far Nor In DeepRobert FrostI may have to come back to Frost again.
December 22, 2018The Author to Her BookAnne BradstreetMaybe a preface to my next novel.
December 23, 2018Cradle SongWIlliam BlakeBlake…he’s another poem by the same name. Again.
December 24, 2018The Fire of DriftwoodHenry Wadsworth LongfellowI like the practicalness of Longfellow’s poems.
December 25, 2018The Flea John DonneKind of gross.
December 26, 2018Inaugural PoemAngelouI don’t hate this.
December 27, 2018Tonight I can Write the Saddest LinesPablo NerudaLovely.
December 28, 2018Provide, ProvideRobert FrostOr don’t give a damn about people’s opinions.
December 29, 2018The Tide Rises the Tide FallsHenry Wadsworth LongfellowI really like this one. Maybe finish with the accessible hits.
December 30, 2018A Daughter of EveChristina RossettiA warning we can all take.
December 31, 2018Glory of WomenSiegfried SassoonEnd this project how I began it. With a gut punch war poet.
Extras I readFrom The Very First Coming DownW.H. AudenLIke a coded/vieled message to a lover.
Extras I readSpainW.H. AudenEh, politics but I like the contrast of “Yesterday….But to-day the struggle.” bits
Extras I readSeptember 1, 1939W.H. AudenI really like the last stanza, a personal motto maybe?
Extras I readThis Lunar BeautyW.H. AudenThis left me cold as the moon. (rimshot)
Extras I readLullabyW.H. AudenWent over my head. Which makes me feel dumb. I’ll read more about it.
Extras I readIn Memory of Sigmund FreudW.H. AudenAuden is good at these Elegies. I like.
Extras I readIn Praise of LimestoneW.H. AudenSupposedly one of his best to lacks grace to me.
Extras I readThe MapElizabeth BishopAnother impersonal word-salad modernist poem. Ugh.
Extras I readThe Gentleman of ShalottElizabeth BishopSometimes I find these modernist poems insulting? Is that me or the poem?

Season Brand Sardine Fillets in SWEET & TANGY Spanish Style Sauce Salt Added.

I’m not sure they could squeeze much more onto this package.

Country: Morocco
Calories: 186

Nose: I wouldn’t say sweet like the package says but aromatic and light smelling wave hits you nose after popping the top.

Eye: Very pale. Yes, I know it’s fish but again, no skin bugs me.  Except for a sad looking grey oregano leaf wilted and drained of color and flavor floating on top.

Fork Feel Positive!

Fork Feel: Oh, very nice. Firm but not as hard as the can of the same brand from a couple days ago. And all the skin is facing the bottom. Maybe folks don’t appreciate seeing the skin. The visual is better once you mix it up.

Tongue: I think it’s the cloves that really bring out the unique and nice flavor of this can. I really like it. The label says sweet – it is. Tangy? Not so much. However, I do think it would be accessible for the first time sardiner.

I had to look up Bishul Yisroel….now I know.

Mouth Feel: Firm but flaky. I wonder how much is the packing/manufacture versus the pil/flavor mixture. Or the fish itself.

Fishy was swimming in the Atlantic will soon be swimming in my belly.

King Oscar Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil



Country: Morocco (not Norway?)
Calories: 210

Nose: Heavy waft of tuna fish when you pop the top.

Ugly. I like the visual variety of the skin and bones.

Fork Feel:
Firm, almost too firm. It feels hard-packed.

Honestly, my nose impression is carrying

through, tastes like tuna fish to me. It says it’s packed in olive oil but I don’t pick up much of that. I thought the higher than normal calorie count for a can of sardines would suggest a lot of oil I realized it’s just a bit more fish – not a bad thing. However, I think I would prefer flavor – either from oil or skin and bones.

Mouth Feel:
It’s still very firm. And dry. The inner suburban kid in my is dying to add mayo. Maybe it should be flaked with a fork more that just devoured out of a can.


Season Brand Sardine Fillets in Lemon Pepper Sauce Salt Added


Country: Morocco
Calories: 184

Nose:  Pop the top and it’s not too lemony or peppery. Fairly office safe.

Eye:  No skin viewable. I like skin. Does filleting mean take off skin? I’ll have to look that up.

Fork Feel:  The fishies are solid and chunky on the fork. I like it when you can stab the little bits and it doesn’t just squish. It helps it feel like a meal.

Tongue: I get a lot of pepper but not much lemon. Not much fishy either. A few bits in I get some lemon but it’s more of a bitter lemon.

Mouth Feel:
Solid flesh on this fish but fishiness doesn’t hang around. Not too oily. I miss the bones. I like to feel the bones of small creatures nash between my teeth. It boosts my confidence.


November’s Poems

In November I finished with the 100 best loved poems book I was using as a guide and switched over to a youtube series on the Romantics. As I write this I’m learning to appreciate and falling for William Blake. He’s a bit mystical which is not my normal thing but seems to in an intelligent and, more importantly, imaginative and almost rebellious way.

I’ll have to read more about him.

November 1, 2018 You Can Have It Philip Levine This kicked me in the heart this morning.
November 2, 2018 Ariel Sylvia Plath I’m unsure if she’s erotizing this horse or uncontrollable life.
November 3, 2018 The City in the Sea Edgar Allan Poe I don’t enjoy his overwroughtness.
November 4, 2018 Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter John Crowe Ransom This poem seemed to be reaching to me. Maudlin.
November 5, 2018 A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning Adrienne Rich I just can’t stand this type of stuff.
November 6, 2018 Peter Quince at the Clavier Wallace Stevens I ‘get’ Stevens after the 10th read. Worth it most times.
November 7, 2018 Of Mere Being Wallace Stevens
I’m tempted to go all in on Stevens. Other times I want to toss him.
November 8, 2018 The Snow Man Wallace Stevens With Wallce, It feels like there’s a there her out of my reach.
November 9, 2018 The Prediction Mark Strand A moment or a sense, nicely done.
November 10, 2018 Reapers Jean Toomer Nice picture of the violence of work.
November 11, 2018 A Far Cry from Africa Derek Walcott Better after reading some history. A bit scientific for me.
November 12, 2018 Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio James Wright Football sadness. Examined many times.
November 13, 2018 Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s James Wright Doesn’t everyone feel that way?
November 14, 2018 Queen Anne’s Lace William Carlos Williams Now this is an erotic poem.
November 15, 2018 Landscape with the Fall of Icarus William Carlos Williams I like the painting. I like the Auden. I like the Williams.
November 16, 2018 The Yachts William Carlos Williams Not my favorite WCW
November 17, 2018 No Leaders Please Charles Bukowski A good one to keep in the office to read.
November 18, 2018 Aunt Helen T.S. Elliot When the cat’s dead, the mice will enjoy life.
November 19, 2018 Strange Fits of Passion I have Known William Wordsworth Maybe I’m a 19th century Romantic
November 20, 2018 She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways William Wordsworth
Yeah, I think I am a 19th century Romantic. I like their poetry more
November 21, 2018 I Traveled Among Unknown Men William Wordsworth Sounds almost like a Frank Turner song to me.
November 22, 2018 Mont Blanc Percy Blythe Shelley Maybe just too verbose for me. Or too philosophical.
November 23, 2018 Ode to Autumn John Keats It makes me feel as if I miss so much-I don’t see.
November 24, 2018 Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower William Wordsworth His poems make me want to learn about him more.
November 25, 2018 Surprised by Joy William Wordsworth I feel inadequate sometimes to even comment on these.
November 26, 2018 A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal William Wordsworth Good vocab words. Tragic and sweet.
November 27, 2018 The Blossom William Blake Trite at first but then realized it’s what I need to hear.
November 28, 2018 The Chimney Sweep William Blake Wonderful-nice but loaded with meaning
November 29, 2018 The Little Girl Lost William Blake Erotic? Or just sexual maturing? Or maybe something Christian.
November 30, 2018 The Little Girl Found William Blake Comforting.