I think I spent the first 20 years of my life hating all seafood without ever even trying a bite. Some sort of domestic propaganda (or perhaps just my mother's distaste for it) convinced me that it was something that I needed to stay far far away from. Who are we kidding, I didn't cook for myself until college, so consequently "I don't eat anything that swims" used to be a mantra that I chanted with pride. But then one day the weirdest thing happened...I tried a little bite of one my good friend's sushi rolls, and realizing I could have my own opinions about food, I was totally hooked! I know, I know that was a sad sad pun! It was truly bizarre having spent my whole life thinking I didn't like something, only to discover it is one of the greatest and most diverse culinary delicacies EVER! It was kind of mindblowing to be honest. So after that experience I didn't just toy with enjoying your basic sushi rolls, I branched out to tasting other fish - cooked fish, shellfish, sashimi-- well really anything 'of the sea' at this point. Apparently I've spent the past 8 years making up for lost time.
I have to say though, there is a part of me that feels like my shunning fish in my youth caused me to miss out on many years of unadulterated enjoyment. I'm not weeping over fish sticks and tartar sauce in front of the Atari, or what could have been, I'm merely noting that in falling in love with seafood later in life means I am forced to acknowledge that there are health and environmental concerns associated with this type of cuisine and as an adult being oblivious just doesn't have the same kind of adorable quality. I know these concerns exist, and as someone who is grown, I feel I need to approach my consumption responsibly. Not that I am an excessive environmentalist, or exceptionally commited to purity and health, but I feel obligated to make myself aware of common perils and preventions associated with eating seafood, if for no other reason that to assuage my own fears and deter my own guilt.
With that being said I was hopscotching around on the net reading about this exact topic and came upon some relevant information about the lack of federal legislation concerning offshore aquaculture (don't even ask -- I don't even know where I ended up or how I got there -- all I know is our mainframe was down at work and I was bored). I also found some really useful checklists offering information about the farming of certain species of fish, as well as warnings about which fish are healthier options than others with respect to contaminats. (If I had been paying more attention at the time, I could have saved the link and put right here in this very riveting and informative post. damn it to heck!!) Anyway -- I was bummed to find out that many of the different types of tuna that I love so dearly, are endangered and probably shouldn't be cut up into spicy little pieces and consumed with a delectable bottle if Nigori sake (mmm...that just made my mouth water). I also learned that the sea bass I just consumed the other night at Moxie, though covered in a toasty and flavorful coating of macadamia nuts, was probably not the most ethical choice I could have made. Damn.
But you know what I did find out that just totally rocked my world??? A ton of shrimp is farmed in various unethical ways around the world! SCORE!!! Why does this rock my world, you ask? Because I HATE shrimp, and have spent countless years chastising my tastebuds for eschewing their nubby little texture and slimy flavorless taste. And now I feel quite holier-than-thou in that rejection (and it is a rare moment when I can say that). Now instead of passing up the shrimp tray at parties, and racking my brain for a witty excuse as to why I won't touch this commonly enjoyed dish -- I will just turn up my nose and say (in a mock British accent for effect, of course) "The unethical farming of these dear little creatures just absolutely revolts me...I couldn't possibly..." And then I will walk away feeling smug!
Please, you didn't think I was getting all political on you, did you???