Fish aren’t vegetables, are they?

This is my own work, Photo by Gila Brand. Bask...

Many changes have been made to taxonomy since I was a schoolboy and had a basic grasp of what went in what kingdom, phylum, class, order, family and genus, but when I last checked, fish STILL weren’t vegetables.

I don’t want to get unduly Aristotelian, Linnean, Cladistic or othewise dogmatic about it, but I think it stands to reason that vegetables include many things, but rather not fish.

I understand that you can debate about whether a tomato is fruit or a vegetable.  Or that a mushroom is a fungus rather than a vegetable, and also that nori is made of algae and green drinks from spirogyra so even these things are not really “vegetables” either, so one has to be a bit flexible with the definition of what is a vegetable when following a vegetarian diet. Basically, though, if something can move around at will, an individual going from place to place, it’s highly likely that it isn’t a vegetable. There are some corals which don’t get out much, and are still animals, but there aren’t really any vegetables which go walkies – not outside the novels of John Wyndham like the Triffids, anyhow.

So why, then, am I continually being offered things like tuna and herrings when I say that I am a vegetarian in Poland? Do people here genuinely believe that fish are vegetables? Do they think that tuna and herrings photosynthesise and put down roots or something? What’s up with these phoney fish vegetables people give offering me here?