Published on February 19, 2013 | by Morgana Edwards0
Plenty more fish in the sea?
The return of Hugh’s Fish Fight to my television screen has acted as a poignant reminder that we need to pay more attention to the provenance and sustainability of the food we eat.
The most consumed fish species in this country – cod, haddock, tuna, prawns and salmon – are disappearing from our seas at an alarming rate.
We can stop this from happening, but with people adopting an “ignorance is bliss” attitude towards their food, the outlook for our oceans is resoundingly bleak.
I feel passionately about cooking and eating responsibly. So much so that since January 1, 2013 I have not eaten anything that has been out of season, or is deemed unsustainable unless it was tinned or frozen.
I like eating good food – in both an ethical and enjoyment sense – and because of this, good quality ingredients are undoubtedly where the majority of my money goes.
I do think there is a massive misconception that eating ethically is more expensive. People are often put off buying better food for fear that their bank balance will suffer.
I have found this is simply not the case. Sustainable fish tend to be cheaper as they are less popular species like sardines and herring.
“The abhorrent conditions battery farmed poultry and livestock are kept in should be enough to put anyone of their supper.”
Less demand means a lower price proving it pays to be a little more diverse in our eating habits and steer clear of the more obvious options at the chip shop counter.
I have a good relationship with my local fishmonger, which means he can inform me fully on what is in season and what he has caught most of that day.
He is always keen to share recipe ideas and my weekly trip to his stall has become a tradition that I always look forward to.
Plus, his golden home-smoked sprats are preposterously tasty and he has the plumpest lemon sole I have ever seen.
Value for Money
This said, free-range meat does undeniably carry a hefty premium. However, if I have to pay an extra £2 for a chicken that has seen sunlight before it is wrapped in cellophane, then so be it; animal welfare is not something I am willing to compromise on.
When it comes to welfare I believe money should not be a consideration. The abhorrent conditions battery-farmed poultry and livestock are kept in should be enough to put anyone of their supper.
The argument I tend to hear most from others is that “no individual can make a difference, so why bother?” If everyone thought like this of course nothing would change.
It takes individuals to do their bit and spread the word before real changes can be made.
My attitudes towards ingredients have previously led me to be referred to as a “self-righteous, pretentious snob”.
Well, if eating sustainable, seasonal, high welfare food that is lovingly prepared and utterly delicious makes me a snob, then a snob I am.
Now if you will excuse me, there is a braised venison stew waiting for me on the stove.
For further guidance on what fish to avoid and which to enjoy The Marine Stewardship Council have provided a guide.