While we've been focusing on things like the unfolding tragedy in Japan, the heartening and delicious message and methods of Kansha Cooking, and planting trees of hope with the Boston Tree Party, news in one of our favorite topics has been accumulating, not unnoticed but unflagged by me.
First up we noted the progress made by large supermarkets in their sustainable seafood sourcing and policies. Thanks to Greenpeace and my buddy Casson Trenor, we have the annual report: Carting away the Oceans.
- Safeway leads US supermarket chains. Others like Wegman's and Whole Foods have become leaders in setting clear policy and goals.
- All major chains in the top five - including specialty retailers like Whole Foods and "big box" stores such WalMart and Costco now have stated policies on sustainable seafood. This is major progress in just five years since the CATO report has been compiled.
- For anyone wanting to get a basic handle on what consumers can do, what supermarkets are doing, and what the issues to watch are, I urge you to take a look at the report.
Mark Kurlansky, with Workman Publishing, released A World without Fish. Written for young audiences, it seeks to engage them in thinking about the effects of their choices, enlisting them in becoming stewards of the oceans. He also takes readers' questions in an interesting interactive experiment by the NYT.
Finally, Mark Bittman shares news on many fronts in his new Opinionator role. From tuna, to the disappearing species (40 of 'em!) in the Mediterranean, to Kurlansky's recent articles and more. See what he's focusing on here: More about Disappearing Fish.
I thought this piece by Paul Greenberg, An Oyster on the Seder Plate was very thoughtful. With Passover coinciding with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, he took a moment to reflect on what we've learned (or not) from this environmental disaster. In fact, the Gulf spill itself occurred as the last checks were cut for the surviving victims of the Exxon Valdez spill. I would say we've learned precious little.
As I prepare my next Teach a Chef workshop to be delivered at the venerable Savenor's -- and prepare the 5th anniversary of Teach a Man to Fish sustainable seafood events, I'm taking a cue from Kurlansky and others. Let's engage our local fishermen, fishmongers, and grocery stores in conversations about sustainable seafood. Let's reach out to the next generation of ocean stewards and start the conversations now, before the last tuna is pulled from the sea, before the next oil spill, before the last species vanish from the Mediterranean.
Two great looking books sit on the top of my to-be-reviewed pile and are certainly going to be on your list if you're reading this:
Becky Selengut's - Good Fish - I was honored to provide a note for the book and I've been inspired by the recipes. It's Pacific NW focused, but there are recipes for everyone - no matter your location or your skill level in the kitchen.
Barton Seaver's - For Cod & Country - Barton takes his message of "restorative" cuisine to the mass audience with a new book of recipes to help us re-imagine how we choose and prepare seafood.