Monday, June 1, 2009

Something fishy going on

My Dad emailed me today (yay! Dad's online!) and mentioned his craving for seafood. That got me to thinking about how I grew up eating lots of local Carolina seafood. Some of my earliest memories involve catching, preparing, and eating crabs and flounder from the area around Masonboro Inlet, and shrimp and oysters from Calabash and the Grand Strand. Of course, everything was breaded and deep fried, because that's the Carolina way. So I know that when Dad talks about seafood, he's not talking about grilled wild Alaska salmon or anything remotely healthy.

Thing is, unlike thirty years ago when I was kid, not so much of the seafood is "local" anymore. Not sure why. Perhaps it's been overfished. Perhaps it got killed off by red tide. Or perhaps, like a lot of other things, the restaurants can get cheaper food from other countries.  It's like that everywhere, though. I was shopping in Super Target recently and started reading labels on cans and packages of fish. The tuna was from Thailand. Frozen orange roughy was from Namibia. Frozen shrimp was from Ecuador. Folks, that's a long way for seafood to travel. Fish is highly perishable and I shudder at the chemicals involved as well as the environmental impact in getting it from one side of the world to another. Not to mention the food quality issues.

Of course, it's a ways to Alaska, also. But at least I can be reasonably sure of the quality of the goods. We eat a lot of wild-caught Alaska salmon in our house. Wild-caught is supposed to be way better for you and the environment than the farmed variety - not to say that all farmed fish is bad because it isn't. It helps to know what fish is "good" and what fish isn't so good. I'm trying to get my Dad to eat more of the "good fish" and in doing so I've emailed him the link to the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector, which I highly recommend for all you seafood eaters out there to check out, also!

Now, if I can just get Dad to switch from deep-fried to grilled or broiled . . .