According to Wikipedia, “Sardines are a common type of fish consumed by humans, as sardines are rich in nutrients. They are commonly served in cans, but fresh sardines are often grilled, pickled or smoked…The term sardine was first used in English during the early 15th century, and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.”
I think sardines are gross, and I wouldn’t eat them under any circumstances. But then I’ve never been pregnant, the way Lucy was when she poured sardines over pistachio ice cream and hot fudge to satisfy a 4 a.m. craving. See it at 01:05 below.
Lucy eats sardines, “Ricky Has Labor Pains,” I Love Lucy (Jan. 5, 1953)
Here’s some trivia from Ultimate I Love Lucy Wiki:
For the end scene, the pistachio ice cream with hot fudge is really mashed potatoes with gravy. The sardines were real, though. Lucille Ball was utterly disgusted by sardines, but she ate them for the sake of the episode’s comedy. As soon as the director yelled “cut” at the end of the scene, Lucy ran off-stage and threw up from the repulsive sardines.
Of course, these pregnancy cravings took place at a time when no one was allowed to use the word “pregnant” on TV to refer to Lucy’s condition. Nor, I imagine, were they allowed to say “preggers,” “knocked up,” “up the duff,” “bun in the oven,” or “bat in the cave.” Here’s more about the whole I Love Lucy pregnancy controversy.
Lucy might have been onto something with the sardines. According to this article in the Daily Mail, a study showed that “mothers-to-be who tucked into oily fish like tuna, sardines and salmon produced infants who scored better in various tests of skill and intelligence.”