Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fish Story, part 1

SO Sue invites me out for dinner, or in the common parlance of the land where I come from, “supper.” This is a good thing, as I’m struggling with various ethical dilemmas and Sue somehow usually manages to be both nonjudgmental and hard-assed. I helped her with some editing she needed, so she’s both buying and listening. Not one to be particular (ha!), I suggest that she choose the restaurant. I figure this will allow her some control over how much she’s shelling out for my supper, especially since I always want dessert. She zings me an email: “Okay, see you at the Seafood House then, 8 o’clock.”

OF course it has to be the Seafood House. I don’t eat seafood.

I used to eat seafood, having gone so far as to opt out of true and legal vegetarianism for months after I (falsely) claimed the title, because I just couldn’t bear the thought of giving up sushi. Then one day, magically (or possibly having to do with my soy-fueled psyche), the fish-lust was gone. Kaput. Over. It’s not like I suddenly saw my own consciousness reflected in their little slimy faces and couldn’t bring myself to eat another sentient being, I just lost the taste for it. I became one of those people who likes to go “out for sushi” and orders a bunch of seaweed-wrapped vegetables having little to no resemblance to actual raw fish.

I remained a vegetarian for a decade, but since the turn of the millennium, my formerly righteous plant-based diet has been slowly replaced by a drop-in freezer full of local, organic, free-to-roam, grass-finished (and every other justifying adjective you can think of), but only tangentially plant-based food. Plant-based insofar as the cow and the pig in there ate the plants.

GIVEN the apparent completeness of my dietary backsliding, what kind of beef could I possibly have with seafood? Shouldn’t I be back at the sushi bar full-force? Well, I might be, were it not for an ill-timed stop into the movie room at the Aquarium when I thought it might be nice to sit and watch a movie for a while instead of standing and watching the fish. The movie room was a trap. And as a nonseafood eater, I was primed to take in the horrors of the documentary about bi-catch, over-fishing, and toxic metals without the defense mechanisms I assume would be standard equipment in someone who felt any need to justify the fish-n-chips they ate last night.

SO I bought it all, hook, line and sinker, if you will. And although I occasionally let the kids eat carefully selected seafood items (wild Alaskan salmon, farmed catfish, sardines), I’ve never reclaimed my long lost love for dining on marine life. It all just tastes a bit too, well, fishy to me.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2: Will Sue toss Kenna out on her ass for ranting too much about sustainable fisheries? Or will they make it through the evening without anyone going overboard? (couldn’t resist that last pun, sorry)

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