The Fruits of the Sea
I realised the other day as i was reading through all your responses to my poll question on your 5 favourite Filipino dishes that not a whole lot of seafood based recipes were named. I find this extremely strange since we are a country that is composed of 7 000 + islands, so you’d think that our main diet would consist of fish, clams, oysters, crabs, prawns… but in truth it doesn’t.
I know that people could argue with this by saying that we do have a couple of dishes that are vastly popular that use these “fruits of the sea” (direct translation from the french: Fruits de Mer), because we do, but if you were to make a general survey and ask people to monitor what they eat during the week, i’d be confident in projecting that probably more than 70% of it is meat, poultry or vegetable centric.
Take a country like Japan, where seafood is really celebrated in the region’s cuisine in every aspect. There are probably historical and economic implications at play here, but one of my theories is that we have decreased our consumption of products of the sea because they have become increasingly dangerous and harmful. Not necessarily to humans only (red tide, polluted waters, warmer oceans, bacteria…) but also to marine life and the way that we fish in general (dynamite fishing, non sustainable fishing, long line fishing, wastage, farming…) . If you start doing the research you’d be amazed by what you learn about how we are killing our eco systems, and in particular the impact of non regulated fishing on our future, not only locally but all over the world. Now, im not going to preach and say that we should all become vegeterians, all i do want to say is, not only concerning seafood, but with everything you buy and cosume on a daily basis, don’t be afraid to ask questions: where does it come from? how is it caught? how is slaughtered? what is it made of? These questions will lead you to the knowledge of whether or not the practice is done properly and with the best interest of the planet in mind.
Its natural for us to eat meat, fish, vegetation… Just like these animal groups feed on each other too. But we can control the respect and more importantly the continuity/sustainability given to each life that is taken to feed us.
My friend’s company, partnering with the Save Palawan Seas Foundation started this campaign called Project Seven Thousand (http://www.projectseventhousand.org/), where people register and make a pledge to do something good and stop the harmful. Its a great innitiative to have people interact and determine what’s going wrong in our current society. Help them reach 7000 pledges.
This is one of many campaigns, so just be curious and see what you can do to help out in your region, country, village, town, anywhere really. Many little things will always amount to big things.
Why i love cooking? Its an ode to what the earth and the sea can give us:
Soft Shell Crab with Garlic Broad Beans
Pretty straight forward, clean your soft shell crabs (remove lungs and gills, and spike at the bottom), season with salt and pepper, cover with flour, remove excess, fry in a mix of hot olive oil and butter until crispy, 2-3 mins either side.
Retain some of the fluids in the pan, add a chopped garlic clove, a sliced shallot, 1/4cup white wine to deglaze the pan, a handful of broad beans and a tsp or two of chopped capers, until all is caramelized.
Plate the food and add some lemon juice, some rind, salt pepper, some sour cream, you can even add some freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Some porn for you: