Food writer Dorie Greenspan recently pointed out in her blog the difference in the availability of canned sardines between France and the U.S.; a Parisian supermarket may have an entire wall dedicated to cans of the small fatty fish while in the U.S., not so much.
There's no reason for you to care about the dwindling selection of canned sardines in America if you don't like canned sardines, but I have a weird soft spot for them—I often ate them when I was little and still love to eat them today, just plucked out of their oily baths—and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who is saddened by the lack of canned sardines in the average American supermarket. Dorie's description of buying canned fish in Paris is spot on:
Even in the not-so-big Monoprix grocery near my apartment in Paris, the selection of canned fish is generous enough to keep you in that aisle for a while, reading labels and deciding among sardines with hot peppers, mustard, lemon or basil, smoked or not, whole or filleted. I always keep a stack of sardine cans in the pantry, they’re my rainy-day emergency munch, perfect for when I’m on deadline and glued to my computer. A squeeze of lemon, a couple of slices of tomato, a little salad and some bread and butter and all is right with the world.
Dear god, when I was in Paris I did the same thing! I didn't really read labels as much as take one of everything (such is the consequence of my gluttony), but the end result was the same; a lot of canned sardines entered my happy belly. Can anyone else attest to being a canned sardine lover?