The meat of fish is the animal food next in importance to that of birds and mammals. Fish meat, with but few exceptions, is less stimulating and nourishing than meat of other animals, but is usually easier of digestion. Salmon, mackerel, and eels are exceptions to these rules, and should not be eaten by those of weak digestion. White-blooded fish, on account of their easy digestibility, are especially desirable for those of sedentary habits. Fish is not recommended for brain-workers on account of the large amount of phosphorus (an element abounding largely in nerve tissue) which it contains, but because of its easy digestibility. It is a conceded fact that many fish contain less of this element than meat.
Fish meat is generally considered cheaper than meat of other animals. This is true when compared with the better cuts of meat, but not so when compared with cheaper cuts.
To obtain from fish its greatest value and flavor, it should be eaten fresh, and in season. Turbot, which is improved by keeping, is the only exception to this rule.
To Determine Freshness of Fish. Examine the flesh, and it should be firm; the eyes and gills, and they should be bright.
Broiling and baking are best methods for cooking fish. White-blooded fish may often be fried, but red-blooded rarely. Frozen fish are undesirable; but if used, should be thawed in cold water just before cooking.
On account of its strong odor, fish should never be put in an ice-box with other food, unless closely covered. A tin lard pail will be found useful for this purpose.