…and I’m not afraid to use it!
Actually, I am, a little. I bought the tin weeks ago at the Co-op in hopes of eating lower on the food chain. I have not yet worked up the nerve to peel back that shiny lid and peek inside. I may need a clothespin for my nose when I do. Little fishies can be so…fishy.
But I’m determined to conquer my fear of the little fishies and make them part of my diet. Or at least ingest them once and see if it’s possible to consider…one day…loving them as much as I love salmon. Why? Efficiency of dining, mainly. If I eat a sardine instead of the big fish that eats the sardine–no matter how much more appealing said big fish might be–I reduce my impact.
It seems I know too much. And I can’t un-know what I know. What we eat has consequences. In the case of seafood, overfishing is rampant, and then there’s pollution, climate change, habitat destruction, and ocean acidification. Leaving us with a “system in crisis,” according to the National Geographic.
All that knowledge makes my fallback choice on any restaurant menu, salmon, seem a bit fraught.
Though according to the National Geographic Seafood Decision Guide, salmon–at least wild-caught Alaskan salmon–is actually one of the better choices in the ocean-going protein buffet. It is “abundant, well-managed, and caught or farmed in ocean-friendly ways.” Three cheers for that.
But sardines are equally well rated, equally low in mercury, and equally high in omega-threes. Then there’s the fact that it takes five pounds of forage fish to produce a pound of farm-raised fish. So I still feel bound to try these little fishy-fishes.
It strikes me, unpleasantly, that they’re kind of like the worms and grubs of the ocean world. Grubs are food for birds; sardines are food for bigger fish, and for chickens and pigs too.
No matter: I’m sure they’re deelish. (Just like grubs, which, after all, are food for people all over the world. I wrote a piece about that once, and fully expect to one day venture bugward in my dining.)
Helpfully, in the meantime Slow Food International has begun a push for upping human consumption of anchovies, complete with recipe contest. (Nate at the Co-op shook his head at my sardine purchase and advised anchovies next time.)
Oh faithful readers, do you eat sardines or anchovies, those humble fishies known as forage fish? If so, pray, how do you fix them? Give me some ideas to go with Slow Food’s and Rachael Ray’s suggestions. I promise to report back after my first foray into this brave new culinary world.