I’ve Never Tried Fish Sauce but I Know I Don’t like It

“How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it?”

That is the question that millions of parents have asked to millions of finicky children. I have posed the same question to my children many times, my daughter in particular. The other day, my daughter, who likes both chicken and cheese, refused to try my fantastic homemade chicken quesadillas. I know that if she would have just taken the tiniest little bite that she would have loved them, but she somehow convinced herself that they were disgusting. It is futile to attempt to explain to a 4 year old that she has no way of knowing whether she likes something without ever tasting it.

I, on the other hand, at 38 years of age have the experience and knowledge that allows me to know that I won’t like something without ever having tasted it. Take fish sauce for example. Fish sauce is made by fermenting raw fish in a barrel with some salt. I often eat fish and enjoy it, but I am not what you would call a seafood lover. Generally I like fresh fish, cooked with a few herbs or some seasoning. I don’t like the smell of fish that has been lying around for a while. Given that I don’t like fish that has been sitting around for a while, I know that I definitely would not like raw fish that was crammed in a barrel and left out in the hot sun to ferment for a month.

My favourite chef, Michael Smith, likes using fish sauce in some of his recipes. He says even though it sounds odd, that I should trust him; fish sauce adds lots of “savoury flavour”. I love almost every recipe that I have seen on his shows, but in this case I trust my own instincts more than I trust Michael Smith. I have never tried fish sauce and I have absolutely no intensions of ever doing so. I do know I don’t like some things even if I have never tried them.