It’s Not Repulsive…to me


Have you ever had an unnatural obsession with a certain food most people find disgusting?

I do.

Because I can’t get enough, I purchase it in a large, bulk size jar from Costco.
 
It’s pickled herring. 

Most folks are grossed out by its silvery, glistening flesh…but I love it.  Love it.

I love the salty-tangy taste.  My mouth puckers when I think of it.  I crave it.

I grew up in an Eastern European household where herring was a treat.  Weird I know.

When people see the very large jar on the top shelf of my fridge, I can see them throw up a little in their mouth.

Sorry folks, I love herring almost as much as I love sardines.

It’s my life.

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93 Comments and 3 Replies

  1. Deeba 1

    Yes, I know what you mean & that’s coming form a non-fishy type of foodie. having said that, repulsed is a word I have banished from my foodie vocab, because one man’s meat is another man’s poison!! Live & let live me thinks…you’re right Cathy! It’s your life…enjoy it & the puckered mouth feeling too…LOL!!

    Reply
  2. ooooh, they’re all yours. I’m not against trying new things, but this one definitely makes me shiver (but I’d still try it if it was in front of me).

    Reply
  3. Eastern European ? Are you sure, because Ya and sure, this surely does seem to be a bit Scandinavian to me !My family and my Hubby’s family would claim this as their treat of choice.

    By the way, we passed through Noble Pig country in Oregon this weekend and were again so blessed by the fall color the vinyards and hills offered up. You do know you will be residing in Paradise don’t you ?

    Reply
  4. snowmoonelk 4

    I want pictures!

    Reply
  5. Laura 5

    Herring shows up in a lot of historical fiction for children. In “Letters from Rifka” a little Russian girl’s herring sandwich is stolen by a peasant.
    I know I have read others too.
    I don’t even know what herring looks like but I am guessing that I might like it since I like anchovies and they are kind of long, silvery slimy things.
    Munch away.

    Reply
  6. Debbie 6

    Herring? Can’t say I’ve ever tried that. However, I do love fried chicken gizzards!

    Reply
  7. I love herring too, and grew up in a family where when my mother cooked it was all about sardines with mustard on toast. My partner cannot STAND fish which is pickled, smoked, cured, or anything other than baked or fried. It’s a bit heartbreaking, really. So….so sometimes I get passive aggressive and when he’s pissing me off I’ll eat a good mouthful before going to give him a kiss. I know. I’m a bad, bad girlfriend.

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  8. Philly 8

    I’ll try anything !!

    #1

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  9. I love anchovies. Maybe it’s the Italian blood, but when I’ve gone to restaurants that have Ceaser Salad, I always ask for extra anchovies on top. And my favorite pasta sauce is Puttanesca which starts with anchovies.

    Reply
  10. Barbie with a T 10

    I love herring too! All sorts of herring. My dad used to eat what they called Rollmops, which was a pickle and onions rolled in a filet of herring, came in a glass jar, and it was sort of pretty in addition to being tasty as all get out. So when I was a very young child, I started eating herring. These days I love the herring that is pickled in sour cream. There is also a very salty dried herring that my dad used to eat, but I do not see it anymore in the grocery stores. It was not all that pretty…dark brown, dried, with little white bristles sticking out of it…salty as all get out too. So you are not alone. I crave that taste and nobody else in the family likes it but me! We do eat a lot of canned salmon and sardines as a lunchtime snack. They go well with a little thinly sliced onion and a dash of Frank’s hot sauce, on a saltine cracker. YUM! Again, nobody else that I know of likes sardines or salmon like we do.

    Reply
    • Elly 11

      Yes we are people that like fish as much as you !! love Rollmops—learned that from a Dane—-Toasted sardine, onion and peanut butter sandwiches and the only sushi I can not eat is sea urchin!!!!

      Reply
  11. melissa 12

    I think I might have thrown up a little in my mouth. I can’t tell though because I was eating a banana muffin.

    Reply
  12. Ali 13

    If I am remembering correctly, I think a lot of grocery stores carry a sour cream pickled herring (with some onions in it). I grew up on that stuff — it is so delicious! YUM.

    Reply
  13. Cassie 14

    As long as you don’t start with the pickled herring recipes, we’re all good.

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  14. Jodie 15

    Be proud! Sardines are one of the best foods that come in a can. Put them on a saltine cracker with a little hot sauce and I’m in heaven.

    Reply
  15. Suzette 16

    I’ve never tasted pickled herring – and probably never will. But, the thing I buy in bulk at Costco’s? Anchovies. I love me a fresh, made-to-order Caesar Salad. People really look at you strangely when you check out with a bunch of anchovies! :)

    Reply
  16. Bunny 17

    Sorry I’ve never sardines or herring, I put that in the same catagory as liver…never had it and don’t want to! But I’m glad you all enjoy it!

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  17. You’re right. That is repulsive.

    😉

    I don’t know why, but I have an aversion to most kinds of fish. In fact, I just started eating fish at the age of 36. So far I like Cod and Halibut. I don’t think I’m brave enough to go beyond those two right now, but down the road, who knows? I doubt I’ll ever be brave enough for the pickled herring though.

    Reply
  18. Well I love sardines! I’ve only had pickled herring a few times and I like it–though not at your level of cravability! I do crave sardines though and so do my kids!

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  19. Becky 20

    To each his own. I’ve never tried pickled herring. But, I’m game. I’ll try anything, once. Well, almost anything.
    People always curl their nose when I’m eating my favorite sandwich.
    Peanut butter and dill pickle.
    Don’t knock it till ya try it, is my response.

    Reply
  20. OH yes. When I was in 5th grade, I started to love eating preserved lemons straight from the jar with rice. I had seen them on Jeff Smith’s show and become obsessed. Alright, I was a weird kid.

    Then there are pickled eggs, urchin…etc.

    Reply
  21. Louise 22

    This is like a food therapy session! While there are several foods I will not search out to try, your beloved pickled herring being one of them, I also realize I’m consciously missing out on some good stuff.

    Reply
  22. HoneyB 23

    I remember my poppy eating sardines with saltine crackers. I would eat them, but I don’t remember ever loving them and don’t eat them now!

    Reply
  23. Rayrena 24

    Ooh, I’ve never had pickled herring before but I want to try them! Growing up in a Korean house, half of what we ate my friends thought was gross. Their loss!

    Reply
  24. Teri 25

    Well, I’ve always tried to hide my food oddities because when people saw them, they would always gross out and make such a darn scene! Eastern European as well… my parents had me eat some really strange stuff that brings me back to a comfort zone. Herrings aren’t so bad… but I guess I see what you mean, if you have a giant jar in your fridge. Some people don’t get it.

    Reply
    • Elly 26

      know what you mean —-as a kid I would take a tin of sardines and 2 slices of bread with butter and sliced onion, as my school lunch. When I opened the sardines the whole table would clear! One teacher actually asked that I not bring
      them again—–My Dad straightened that one out—–

      Reply
  25. Kristen 27

    Oh my gosh – my father-in-law loves that stuff. It makes me shiver. I am so grateful that you didn’t take a picture of it. :)

    Reply
  26. I believe in trying stuff multiple times, but the pickled fish thing has never worked for me! It falls into the catagory of tomatoes and cucumbers, unfortunately.

    But I’m happy you’ve got a treat that works for you!

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  27. snowmoonelk 29

    but I WANT a picture!!!

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  28. Pam 30

    Not a fan of pickled herring, however, I did grow up eating canned sardines with mustard.

    Reply
  29. My husband likes peanut butter & dill pickle. I tried it, but it wasn’t right for me. He also claims he likes peanut butter & mayonnaise. I don’t think he has made that around me yet.

    While we were on vacation he ate pickled herring 8 of the 12 days we were on the ship. I will sometimes have a small bite on New Year’s Day, shortly after midnight since it is supposed to bring luck or wealth or something for the New Year (says my half Hungarian father)

    Reply
  30. Trisha 32

    I have never tried them – or sardines. They just look nasty but . . . to each her own!

    Reply
  31. ntsc 33

    It is also good in cream sauce. I’m Scandanavian, but it shows up in lots of Northern European, Slavic and Jewish foods.

    I got my wife eating sushi and she has gotten me eating non-fried, non-raw fish.

    Reply
  32. ELRA 34

    Cathy,
    I like pickle herring as well, in fact I always have it in my cupboard, but mine is in a can. I never seen it at Costco, maybe I should look for it. It must be very big jar, and I probably wouldn’t buy it, as I am the only person who will eat it. The other think I really like is, canned sardine. The one that I am (you can say “repulsive”) is the Indonesian sambal. It is made by grinding fresh Thai chilies, tomatoes, toasted shrimp paste, and salt in a mortar and pestle. My husband couldn’t understand it!

    Reply
  33. I must say the thought of that does give my mouth the pucker factor… Pigs feet is another one that does the same thing to me….

    Reply
  34. Nicole 36

    My mother and her family are 100% Ukranian, and whenever I was at my grandparents house Grandpa and I would eat a tin of sardines with club crackers and I think I’m going to have that for lunch cause I am drooling just thinking about it! I will have to try those herrings. :)

    Reply
  35. Marlene 37

    I love marzipan even though alot of people think it is yucky. I also crave rare roast beef sandwiches with peanut butter on rye bread.

    I know, totally wierd.

    Marlene

    Reply
  36. Katrina 38

    To each his own, I say! Never tried it. But the only seafood I like is halibut–not too fishy, so I probably won’t like it. I’d try it though. Do you just open the jar and eat them just like that? Or do you cook with them in dishes?
    Happy you have something you love. And thanks for sharing, I guess. 😉

    Reply
  37. Laura 39

    I was reading a book the other day where they referred to fish sauce as “universally abhorred by people of the west” and thought Huh? Am I that unusual? We are obsessed with fish sauce, and I guess for Americans not of Asian descent that appears to be a little odd.

    Reply
  38. jean 40

    i like to have sardines on ritz crackers but i can’t say that i have ever tried the pickled herring.

    Reply
  39. Marjie 41

    My dearly beloved loves pickled herring. With crackers, it’s his favorite snack. Sick and twisted pup, what’s wrong with a nice piece of cake or brownie?

    Reply
  40. Haha….I grew up with herring around, but still am too grossed out by it to try it.

    Reply
  41. ALF 43

    Ew, gross. Well, I’ve never actually had a pickled herring so I guess I can’t judge but it sounds gross and I’m not sure I’d be willing to try one.

    Although, when I was younger I used to eat doritos and pickles together. Most people were repulsed by that.

    Reply
  42. I have tried it and just can’t get into it but then again I don’t care for tomatos,coffee, mayonnaise or eggs(unless in something)

    Reply
  43. I don’t have a craving for any weird foods but my dad used to eat pickled pigs feet. Now that’s gross.

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  44. Cheryl 46

    ADORE pickled herring! Never even tried it until my mother-in-law had some at a family vacation, and DELISH!!!!!

    Also a huge fan of circus peanuts though, too, so maybe my opinion is not the most respected in culinary circles…. 😉

    Reply
  45. shonda 47

    No judgment here.

    Reply
  46. tipper 48

    The girls favorite teacher-brought pickled herring for his lunch each day-grossing out all the other teachers!

    Reply
  47. I am sending husband to your house.He loves pickled herring. I only get it for him, Thanksgiving and Christmas. His mom gets the left overs and he gets no kisses after eating it. Not that he gets many anyway but…what a great excuse.

    Reply
  48. with sourcream!
    hell yes!

    Reply
  49. Biz 51

    I’m sorry, just reading that made me throw up a bit in my mouth.

    My husband LOVES anchovies, and frequently requests them on pizza party Friday. Just the feeling, the “hairs” the smell is enough to make me gag!

    But, dutiful wife that I am, I happily add them to his pizza!

    Reply
  50. Barf city.

    Reply
  51. pam 53

    I love it too! We always ate in on New Years Eve, and I always wondered why we only had it once a year.

    Reply
  52. krysta 54

    as i always tell my kids, if you don’t like it there’s will always be more for me!

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  53. Liz C. 55

    I have an obcession with beets (with their greens) and no one I know nor anyone in my family will eat beets. Everyone thinks I’m gross because I eat them. Only fresh, of course. I’d have to be on Survivor to eat them canned or pickled, lol.

    Reply
  54. Ali 56

    Peanut butter and bacon is delicious! :)

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  55. Lo 57

    I’m so glad there are other souls in the universe who enjoy herring. I’ve been eating it since childhood. Not sure I liked it at first, but my Dad was a HUGE fan. So, I became determined to love it… and these days, it’s a highlight of my holiday memories.

    I can also get pretty excited about a can of anchovies with capers. I’m a hairy fish girl, what can I say?

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  56. Yes sardines! The other thing I don’t know what it is…

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  57. Maria 59

    Makes my mouth water! And reminds me of my grandfather, who ate it straight out of the jar. I’d always beg him for some. (He was Russian. He loved caviar too.)My son inherited this love of fish. He’ll eat a whole can of sardines for a snack!

    Reply
  58. I’ll trade you a pucket of pickled herring for the apple cheese pie below. Meet you behind the old barn at nine tonight. Snort like a pig, and I’ll quack.

    Reply
  59. dawn 61

    girl you can have all the herring….that stuff is… :::quiver:::

    Reply
  60. Sarah 62

    In my family, the herring comes out every year at Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and New Year’s. Usually for Christmas Eve we have dinner at my grandparents’ house, and we have cold cuts, bread, and side dishes (like cole slaw)… it wouldn’t be Christmas without herring on a Triscuit!

    Reply
  61. Shirley 63

    That is a really good food for you. I don’t do herring or sardines … for me, it’s chicken livers, which grosses most folks out. I love fried chicken livers!

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  62. Cathy,
    Your body must crave the salt in the herring. I find there is always a reason why people love certain foods. Either it affects emotions or is necessary physiologically.

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  63. I always looked a them and though “ugh” but then we had a Swedish night and someone brought some and I tried them and loved them! Now whenever I go to Ikea I grab a jar (or two) :)

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  64. Erin 66

    Cathy, I heart you dearly, but EWWWWWW!!!!

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  65. Do you eat it mixed with sour cream? We served it that way in a restaurant I worked in for years. I like fried calamari which grosses some folks out.

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  66. Jamee 68

    I think that sounds extremely gross! yuck! Really, “pickled” anything besides plain ol’pickles is just nasty…

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  67. My grandparents (the German and Swiss ones) loved pickled herring. Me, not so much. But sardines!! Ah I LOVE sardines. My husband cannot abide them so I don’t indulge much, but love them I do.

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  68. Sandie 70

    I don’t think it’s so repulsive. We all have those out-of-the-ordinary things that we crave. To each their own!

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  69. medstudentwife 71

    rollmops, sardines AND anchovies…

    YES !!!

    So I’m not the only one with quirky fish tastes:)

    Now I’m drooling thinking about its all.

    Reply
  70. Paula 72

    I think it sounds neat! I’ve not tried herring in any form, but I’m game. Foods that keep us connected to our ancestry are worth the odd look now and then. I love anchovies … and liver pate. I don’t get asked to share much! :-)

    Reply
  71. Flea 73

    I had never had herring of any sort till I visited Minnesota while in college. There I had smoked herring and LOVED it. Haven’t had it since.

    Now, is pickled herring anything like sardines? Because that just ain’t happenin’.

    Reply
  72. you and my Danish family, who like the sourcream version on a good danish rye and pickled beets on the side. Wash it down with a cold beer or a Manhatten and your a real Viking.

    Reply
  73. Amber 75

    Mine would be plain yogurt with lots of fresh crushed garlic. No I don’t keep it around but when I am at my Assyrian side of the family and there is grape leaf dolma, then I am searching with my nose for the yogurt with garlic. Yeah it is real easy to smell which bowl is plain yogurt and which is the good stuff. You probably would have to grow up with it to understand.

    Reply
  74. Egghead 76

    My Hungarian father loved pickled herring as well as sardines. The herring I can eat once in a great while but the sardines make me yak. However, he did teach me to eat onion sandwiches which I adore. Yum!

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  75. I’ve never had pickled herring before, but you are certainly making me want to try it. Not disgusting to me!

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  76. snowmoonelk 78

    Hi Amber, I am British and I, too, have a thing for plain yoghurt with crushed garlic in it. In fact, that’s what I had for lunch yesterday, along with homemade falafels! I grew up with bacon and eggs, custard and mince! Not altogether, thank goodness!

    Reply
  77. grace 79

    hey, no problem–the more jars of it that you take off the shelves, the fewer i have to see with my own eyes. :)

    Reply
  78. marcy 80

    Can’t say I’ve ever tried Herring – I’m very picky about the fish I eat.
    However the one thing I eat that grosses people out is Peanut butter and Mayonnaise – mmmm, nothing better , especially with a side of nacho cheese doritos:)

    Reply
  79. vanessa 81

    My Dad likes the stuff and I particularly remember him eating it, on crackers, for New Years Eve. I may have tried it then but do not remember the taste at all. Maybe one of these days I’ll be brave and …. oh I don’t know!

    Reply
  80. giz 82

    Ha!! I have to laugh – if I could eat herring I would – but I pick it up at Costco too for my mom who can’t go a day without some herring and fresh rye bread.

    Reply
  81. Hahahhaa- Peanut butter pickle and peanut butter bacon are the ONLY two ways that I ever eat sandwiches!!! That’s too funny. Ladies, hats off to my peeps!!!

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  82. Y 84

    Pickled herring is delicious! I have a penchant for dried squid and rice crackers – doesn’t seem weird I know, but my boyfriend seems to think it’s the grossest thing ever!

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  83. You gotta try Matjias herring. Or herring in red wine sauce. um, um good…

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  84. Danigirl 86

    I totally and completely understand the craving for rare meat and peanut butter. But the best sandwich by far is ham and fried bananas.

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  85. Rene 87

    I ALSO luv pickled herring…but I can’t find out how LONG that huge opened jar I have in my fridge is good for. Somewhere it said a year…is that true!

    Reply
  86. Tammy 88

    I have never had them…but my sister went to Norway a couple of years ago and she loves them.
    We were raised in a family that ate liver, heart, pigs feet..all of the thngs you never wanted to mention to anyone. But now those are specialties and no one is afraid to say they eat tongue, pate’ or sweetbreads. yummmm

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  87. [email protected] 89

    Herring and anchovies both make great bait for catching salmon and sturgeon.
    Should taste good to us also.
    As long as I can catch salmon on them I will stick to eating the salmon and save the herring and anchovies for bait.

    Reply
  88. Queen of Risotto 90

    When I was in Denmark, that was the one food I could not try, and had to pass on. It just looks like cold slimy fish kept in formaldehyde served cold on toast. Sorry, but no thanks.

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  89. Johanna 91

    I also LOVE pickled herring (Solomun Gundy) perhaps due to my Scandanavian and Maritime heritage. I like to keep a jar in the fridge and have a few bits now and then for a treat. Not surprisingly, I also love sardines (totally healthy, too!) and blue cheese, which a lot of people hate. I cannot stand calimari and shudder at the thought of octopus…eeewww… and I cannot understand why anyone would ever eat head cheese, pig’s feet or goat’s eyes :-) I tried cow brains in Italy once; not a favourite, I must say.

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  90. Beth 92

    Pickled herring? Love it! Haven’t had it in awhile though. So, just know that you are not alone. :)

    Reply
  91. Beth 93

    Pickled herring? Love it! Haven’t had it in awhile though. So, just know that you are not alone. :) I also like sardines. (For what it’s worth, my mom’s family hailed from Russia and my dad’s family was from Eastern Europe. Also, if you want to see people cringe, order anchovies on your pizza, or sandwich made with chopped liver or tongue. 😉

    Reply
  92. I also LOVE pickled herring! My family always gives me the “gross” face when they see me munching on a few lol. I can take or leave sardines,but pickled herring is a “must have” for me!

    Reply
  93. We had to have it every New Year at the stroke of midnight for good luck!

    Reply

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