Naming fish

One of the small joys from doing some of your Christmas shopping in a second hand book shop is coming across the odd book that will do for no one else but you. So today I found A Concise Encylopaedia of Gastronomy Section II Fish complied under the editorial direction of Andre L. Simon and published in 1948.


The first thing that caught my eye was the description of mackerel straight out of the water, they are quite stiff, opalescent, with bright protruding eyes and bright red gills. Beware of the limp mackerel. Which is indigestible always, and maybe poisonous.

Good advice. I then noticed some of the odd names for fish and thought it might form the basis for an occasional series. Here’s starting with A.

Alec An old Latin word of Greek origin (salt fish), which is used to refer to a herring or a pickle of small herrings.

Alewife Lat. Pomolobus pseudoharengus. A member of the herring family very abundant off the Atlantic coasts of North America and of great gastronomic value.

Atherine Lat. Atherina presbyter. Commonly known as Silverside or Sand-smelt. An excelllent little fish which can be dressed in any way suitable for smelt.

Listening to and very much enjoying Frank Ocean.

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