Foodies tackle sustainable seafood

Foodies are uniting for sustainable seafood! On Sunday, the New York Times ran a column by Mark Bittman (of How to Cook Everything fame), calling for foodie-based fishing reform.

I suppose you might call me a wild-fish snob. I don’t want to go into a fish market on Cape Cod and find farm-raised salmon from Chile and mussels from Prince Edward Island instead of cod, monkfish or haddock. I don’t want to go to a restaurant in Miami and see farm-raised catfish from Vietnam on the menu but no grouper.

JEByrnes noticed that leading food blog Chocolate and Zucchini is going sustainable, too. Mmm…saffron mussels

The only option then is to ask questions, whether at the fish counter or at the restaurant: what kind of fish is it, where does it come from, how was it farmed/caught?

Admittedly, this is not the easiest thing to do — especially in France, where vendors and waiters are known to get defensive, and where well-intentioned curiosity is occasionally met with a take-it-or-leave-it-mademoiselle attitude. The trick is to adopt just the right tone so as not to sound high-and-mighty, yet make it clear how important it is to you.

For the SoCal foodie crowd, San Diego has a brand-new sustainable seafood restaurant, Sea Rocket Bistro. Eric and I went there on Saturday night in order to do our part to save the oceans through desiretasty, tasty desire. (San Diegans can check out Sea Rocket for free next Wednesday at the Slow Food Mixer.)

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5 Responses to Foodies tackle sustainable seafood

  1. Elise Daniel says:

    Miriam … this is something that I’ve been interested in for some time now. I don’t buy farm-raised fish although it limits my choices at the fish counter, but so what?! I sometimes spend a little more but feel better about what I’m eating. We are also trying to pay attention to the “slow food” concept by trying to, whenever possible, buy items produced closest to home. I haven’t been all that successful there, but it keeps me aware, and reading lots of labels and signs! We can’t all live in Southern California where delicious things grow year ’round!

  2. anna says:

    may it catch on. i require many more years of consuming sustainable sea kittens.

  3. Hi Elise! Thanks for stopping by! Have you seen Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Northeast Regional Sea Food Guide? It’s very helpful at the fish counter. If you eat shellfish (can’t remember how kosher your family is), I highly recommend learning to love the mussel. They’re locally farmed (to farm mussels, you just put a rope in the ocean and wait a couple years – very sustainable), fresh, and really really tasty. UNH is famous for developing better mussel farming techniques.

    And it’s true, eating local in southern California is really, really easy, what with the entire nation’s produce being grown in our backyard. I suspect eating locally in New England would involve a lot of canning and eating root vegetables all winter, neither of which sounds appealing to me. :)

  4. Elise Daniel says:

    Thanks for that guide — excellent resource! I plan to follow the folding instructions and carry it with me! No, we’re not kosher and enjoy most shellfish, although mussels are not really my favorite. Did you happen to catch Bizarre Food on TV this week? They were in Maine, eating all sorts of sea delicacies such as fish sperm, sea cucumbers, and some kind of interestingly prepared mussels.

  5. J.P. says:

    Being overly interested in cuisine and people who know etiquette I would like to ask a humble question.
    In the above comment I do read about the consumption of fish sperm, in my imagination I think of the use of a straw to suck up the liquid.
    I want to be prepared if I ever get into such a situation, could you please instruct me what is best and in doing so save me from possible embarrassment.

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