Tag Archives: Fish

Tapping into the nutrition of life energy

Chinese specialty, half-fried fishYes, it’s a live fish. The Youtube video upsetting PETA depicts Chinese diners poking at the still gasping mouth of what’s for dinner. The plate isn’t hot, but watch your fingers! The meat is blackened to a crisp, while from the neck up the fish is kept wet with towels to ensure it doesn’t expire before the last bite. My, what a playful presentation with the red sauce!

I do wonder about the Chinese obsession with keeping food alive as long as possible. In the video the diners are laughing at the fish’s sudden reactions, which leaves the impression they are as surprised as we about this live novelty. But I doubt it is so rare an event among those who can afford it. I remember at outdoor markets in China, watching customers buy slices of fish meat cut directly from the sides of live fish. Does live fish keep longer than dead? Certainly it does.

Westerners won’t eat a lobster or crab that’s killed before it’s cooked. No doubt some Chinese think we are fools for believing dead fish is an acceptable substitute for live. Americans are already ridiculed for pretending frozen orange juice is any match for fresh squeezed. Who are Americans to opine on taste? For years we’ve eaten chickens fed on fishmeal, without realizing what Europeans could tell us from a table’s length away, American chicken smells fishy!

Now ask an American farmer about sweet corn and he’ll brag that it’s best boiled while still on the stalk. So there is consensus on a preference for fresh.

What constitutes fresh when we’re talking meat? If you ask a reptile or spider, it means live. Mammal predators kept at the zoo have to accustom themselves to eating pieces of steak where their nature is to grab from what’s on the run. What looks like Steak Tartar to us is what they usually leave to scavengers.

Has the human predator diet been converted to scavenger for the sake of convenience and civility?

In our contemporary quest for reclaiming nutrition, I’ll be curious to know if there’s a forbidden energy gone missing from our scavenged meals.

I’ll let the clip speak for itself about the inhumanity of devouring a meal as it looks on. And I’m really glad that no worse videos have emerged from China. As yet there are no Youtube videos of diners eating monkey brains straight from the skull of a live monkey strapped to the table, nor of the infamous “three squeals” delicacy of live rat fetuses.

Obama ate a fish who knew Lincoln

bottom feederFishermen have always called it the Slimehead fish. It’s sorta-scientific name is Darwin’s Slimehead. But when bottom-of-the-barrel scraping began for the ocean’s remaining fisheries, fishmongers created a market for the never-thought-palatable deep bottom feeder by renaming it the Orange Roughy.
 
That much you’ve probably heard before.

Really, what’s in a name? A fish by any other name will smell too. Is there a fish story without hyperbole, that does not smell fishy? The idiom comes from the experience-honed doubt that the fishmonger’s catch is not fresh. People know steak is dead cow, so does it matter that Orange Roughy is Slimehead, Monkfish is Goosefish, Rock Salmon is Spiny Dogfish, or Tilapia is Mouthbrooder?

Actually Israeli exporters wanted to give Tilapia a biblical makeover, asserting the Tilapia from the Sea of Galilee, should be called St. Peter’s Fish, but US regulators intervened. In the Gospel of Matthew 17:27, apostle Peter tells tax collectors where they can go. In more than that many words he tells them to go fish, and from the mouth of the “first fish they catch,” they will find the four drachmas he owes them. The FDA didn’t buy it either. By the way, if you doubt Wikipedia has Zionist preoccupations, sniff the first paragraph of their entry for Tilapia. Maybe we are about to see whether Wiki momentum can surfeit the vernacular.

The US government also intervened when fish wholesalers wanted to rename the Patagonian Toothfish as Chilean Sea Bass. It’s not a Bass. And the poor Teethfish, like the Slimehead, are now endangered.

Because man’s traditional food fishes have become depleted, we’re having now to make meals of the dregs. And the populations of these deep sea dwellers have less resiliency than the coastal stocks. In the case of the Toothfish and the Slimehead, it’s because they grow very slowly. The Slimehead can grow to be 150 years old. They don’t become sexually reproductive until they are 33, and that’s not in dogfish years. Fishing operations which harvest entire sea mounts decimate every generation at once, leaving none who can spawn.

Would it give you an unsettled feeling to consume something so ancient? If we’re talking a pre-Phylloxera wine, it could be a great thing. But a fish that old has been absorbing mercury from the height of the industrial revolution onwards. So there might be a health benefit for showing deference to your fish elders.

It recently upset me to learn that with modern agriculture we eat cattle before they’re two, when they’re barely adolescent. Now I wonder what’s too old. We revere elephants and tortoises for their longevity, such ancient beings we don’t eat.

I’m old enough to remember learning about the old carp in the fountains of Paris, who also lived quite long. French schoolchildren could marvel that some carp still lived who might have glimpsed Napoleon.

A Slimehead Orange Roughy caught today could have lived in the time of Lincoln. Certainly those fish drag-netted in the 1970s, when the Orange Roughy exotic star was contrived to rise, were contemporaries of John Wilkes Booth. Though swimming many thousand feet below sea level, Roughy might have encountered a fresh shipwreck of Lincoln’s era, carrying gold sent from the west coast to finance the Civil War.

Today finds Americans awaiting their and their fellow man’s emancipation from war, torture, illegal detention, economic enslavement, usury, exploitation, impoverishment, enfeeblement and poisoning. Since just the new millennium Americans learned quick to participate again in their political system. They elected what many thought impossible, an African American president. The voters placed all their hope in Barack Obama, and their faith in party politics foretold that Obama’s majority would deliver the mandate he was given. Obama’s first days were anticipated to rival FDRs. Obama’s legacy could already be measured for laurels because it meant simply reversing the calamity of his predecessor. By such a deliverance alone, it was visualized, Obama would stand beside Abraham Lincoln, America’s greatest president.

Abraham Obama may be an unjustly loft comparison, as wanting to believe Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. But what else was an expectant public to do? They put him in office, they believed his promises. He spoke of change, they wanted change. What swiftly Bush had done, they wanted undone. And Obama assured all that he heard them.

And has it worked out that way? Obama’s speeches begin where the last one ends. They’re long, they’re reasoned, but where at first Americans reveled at a suddenly well-spoken president, now they wish he’d stop talking and start doing. Apparently “yes we can” meant “you can wait” –more likely “hi Mom” or “cheese.” Now the hand which Obama raises so famously to give assurance, is looking more like just the hand.

It may be dawning on many that this junior senator from Illinois didn’t have to debate Frederick Douglas, build a log cabin, read Aristotle by candlelight, or climb a long leadership ladder to get to Washington DC. It may be occurring to them that Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, was the only accomplishment they’d seen of this unknown senator from the land of Lincoln.

An Orange Roughy served on fine porcelain may turn out to be the only thing our President Obama shares with Abraham Lincoln.

And very likely, you ate one too. So if stone-carvers are already bidding on the project to add someone’s face to Mount Rushmore, your likeness may be as appropriate as any.

The Red-listed fishy

Greenpeace is urging consumers to check whether their grocery stores are carrying red-listed seafood. These are species from fisheries endangered by depletion and susceptible to pirate fishing. Greenpeace’s idea? Report your grocer for stocking contraband.

Try as you might to peruse their red list, you have to sign in with Greenpeace to download their survey toolkit. We’ve posted their list here.

RED-List Seafood Species

Alaska Pollock
Atlanta Cod or Scrod
Atlantic Halibut (US & Canadian)
Atlantic Salmon (wild and farmed)
Atlantic Sea Scallop
Bluefin Tuna
Bigeye Tuna
Chilean Sea Bass (aka Patagonian Toothfish)
Greenland Halibut (aka black halibut, Atlantic turbot or Arrowhead flounder)
Grouper (imported to the US)
Hoki (aka grenadier)
Monkfish
Ocean Quahog
Orange Roughy
Red Snapper
Redfish (aka Ocean Perch)
Sharks
Skates and Rays
South Atlantic Albacore Tuna
Swordfish
Tropical Shrimp (wild and farmed)
Yellowfin Tuna

Are there any fish which are not red-listed?! Is a fish absent from this list because it is still plentiful and a sustainable commodity, like Pacific Salmon perhaps, or because it is not commercially available anyway? I can think of Haddock, for example, or Hake.