Looking for Bones

I purchased a salmon filet and upon unwrapping it discovered it didn’t really meet my standards of a filet. I spent about 15 minutes pulling bones from it. I know that fish have bones. I also thought that a filet would be boneless. If I didn’t mind the bones I’d buy the whole fish! Anyway, I removed the bones. A few days later I unwrapped some boneless pork chops only to find small shards of sharp bone. I rinsed them off and made sure the bone fragments had been removed. We went out to eat at one of our usual spots. I ordered the Polynesian Chicken (chicken breast cooked with pineapple slices) on a bed of rice. As I was cutting into the chicken I encountered a hard thing. Upon closer examination, part of the wish bone had been left in.

There have been instances when I was a kid, where I’ve had encounters with fish bones that have made me wary. I almost broke a tooth on a bone that I hadn’t been expecting in ground beef when I was eating in the dorm cafeteria in college. I’m beginning to think that I’m jinxed. Is this coincidence or is there a sinister plot to choke me on a bone? Has the safety been compromised in the USDA meat inspection? Are people just getting lazier or has Quality Control tanked??

No bones about it, it is starting to worry me! Have you had a run in with some bones – ones that snuck up on you, lurked in your food, or maybe it was an unexpected bonus – do tell.

61 thoughts on “Looking for Bones

  1. As long as the bone picking is only annoying and not dangerous, I just focus on the quality of the meat. I’m honestly sorry that you got a LOT of bones in the salmon, though.

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  2. I encountered a few bones the other day in fileted salmon — I think it has to do with the quality of the processing — they’re just cutting the fish too close to the bones! These were very fine bones, and easy to pull out.

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    1. I guess they don’t want to waste fish – or they don’t want to slow down the process. Time is money after all! I guess I’m resigned to the task of removing the bones from the boneless fillets myself!

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      1. I only like cod fillet in breadcrumbs, tinned tuna, scampi or smoked haddock. I’ve cooked the latter once, and much as it tasted lovely (though not as good as Mum used to do) it stank the house out for weeks. Hubby can only eat 100% cod and tinned tuna, so we have both often.

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        1. Nothing wrong with cod! I enjoy a good cod loin with a parmesan crust. We just finished a tuna casserole which I really enjoyed but Sparky was less enthusiastic… I don’t think I’ve ever met anything from the sea that I didn’t like! (I really do like squid!)

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          1. I suppose there’s no argument about getting a leg when you have squid, though I have to be honest, it does not appeal to me at all! I don’t like crab, lobster, cockles or mussels either, so cod and tuna are all we are likely to have, especially as Hubby can have both with no problems.

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  3. You have to be so careful about the fish bones. I have had problem with them in India and here. On a visit to Maui, I had the horrible experience of cracking my tooth on a bone in beef soup! Can you believe it? I called the manager and showed the huge bone that was there. They paid the dentist’s bill.
    I am very very picky about the bones. A friend’s cousin died in a Texas hospital because a tiny chicken bone was lodged in the throat which they couldn’t see or remove, and the man was himself a physician. It was a horrible accident.

    You are not alone. We have all gone through ordeals like these.

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    1. WOW! I always thought that swallowing a bone could be dangerous but lethal? Yikes! Now my paranoia is going to go into overdrive! Maybe I’ll stick to lobster and shrimp…. hehe!

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  4. Ah… reminds me of my first meal in a Thai restaurant long long long long long ago when I thought I was joining the Peace Corps and going to Bangkok. I was served a flat fish so full of bones it was nearly impossible to eat. As for the pork chop? Wow… It’s not like those bones are minuscule little fish bones…

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    1. P.S. Hit send too soon. In China a chicken is cooked whole then chopped up with a cleaver into small pieces. The normal thing is to suck the meat off the bones and spit the bones on the floor. I found that really frustrating…

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    2. That Thai restaurant fish is the thing of nightmares for me! I was kind of shocked to find bone in the pork… As for the chicken in China, I’ve never had chicken served that way. Though the first time I cut up a whole chicken (8th grade Home Ec. assignment) my mother commented that it looked like it had been prepared by a Chinaman. Not a PC comment but in light of your explanation it now makes sense! Hehe! Only took me 50 years to figure that one out!

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    1. In the early 1950’s I worked at the University of Washington. Many of the students had summer jobs either logging or with the fisheries. They would bring the fish onto the boats, and cut them and freeze them immediately. You’re probably right that skill levels may have been less than ideal — they were out to sea for several weeks, trying to cut the fish in whatever waters they were traveling, and that may also have been a contributing factor. They seem to be doing a lot better more recently, and I seldom am as concerned about bones as I was in those days!

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      1. I love fish but I’m a little paranoid about the bones… I really make sure I get them all – I had a bad experience with a fish bone once and that was enough to make me so very careful. Interesting summer jobs. Around here summer jobs run to detassling corn, working in the pickle plant, or fast food..

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        1. The logging summer jobs disappeared as forest management techniques changed in the 60’s and 70’s — and fisheries went by the way in a couple of years when the fisheries were less active than usual — then the fast food and internships became more interesting. Both logging and fisheries were hard work, and involved months without breaks!

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          1. Times change… Sparky put in sprinkler systems one summer – he learned a lot. When he worked in the pickle factory he was amazed at what goes into making pickles. He still talks about the cucumber sorting machines! My only real jobs (other than baby sitting) have been in the veterinary field. I guess I knew young what I wanted to do.

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    2. You are right, it probably is a lack of workers willing to stay long enough to become proficient. I had a bad experience with getting a fish bone caught in my throat. I managed to pluck it out but boy did that hurt! It made me so very very careful. If I eat fish out I’m such a slow eater since my level of trust is low when it comes to fish…

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  5. me, I think I am on avoidance lance – when I go out to eat these days it is usually for vegetarian breakfast and an overripe avocado is the worst I have encountered there so far. Or a buy a ready meal from the frozen section at the supermarket – no bones to pick. Just as well as I am still waiting for the bill for last month’s bridge. So I don’t want to risk another. 😆

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      1. lane – and yes it is expensive; still have not got the invoice -part of me begins to wonder whether she’ll gift to me as I sent her the stories about my NHS-whistleblowing/loss of income. And upon my last visit, she found a feeble excuse to introduce me to her hubby who works there with her. Mmh. May be wishful thinking.

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        1. My mother never did get a hospital bill from when my father died. He got a MRSA infection at the hospital during a procedure and 3 weeks later he died. I think they were afraid that if she got a bill she would have sued and won… Hope the bill is small enough that you can manage it!

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          1. glad to hear your mother’s experience there. The dentist is freelance, in Ger, and very competent and sympathetic. As the bill was due to be issued by the end of June, I am wondering… but in any case, they had already granted me to pay by 24 instalments which is manageable. 🙂

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  6. Yes, it annoys me. At the Korean restaurant, I ended up with some fish that were all bones. I politely ate as much of it as I could but was worried. I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. Hair annoys me more. Don’t know about you.

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  7. It seems to me that quality control has slipped almost everywhere, but especially in the food and restaurant industry. For years I thought I didn’t like fresh fish because my introduction to it was trout cooked by my brother-in-law. It was fresh and tasty, but he never took the bones out, and I hated having to pick through all the tiny bones to get at the “meat.”

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  8. I have occasionally found bone fragments in ground beef or pulled pork. Once, I ate at a chain restaurant, had lemon chicken, which had a bone fragment in one piece. The manager shrugged her shoulders-and I was still charged for the full meal-no apologies. I refuse to dine at any restaurant in that chain, ever again.

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