It's crazy to me how far away we've grown from our food. It's like the air we breathe, right? The water we drink. There are certain things we really can't survive without.
We have so many things in our daily lives like cars and material possessions that we might think are necessities, but when it comes down to our basic necessities, food is obviously one of our very main ones. So it's crazy to me that as a society, we've become so detached from our most essential need. That, I don't really understand. It's happened in a pretty short time, too.
In terms of fish, it can be daunting to look a fish in the eye. To understand that fish have bones, and fish have a skeleton. And sometimes it's so much easier to eat food when there's no face or soul or bones associated with that, but I think that's kind of unaccountable.
I think that if we are going to consume something and put nature into our body, we should understand what that really means. First and foremost, being able to hold a fish look that fish in the eye, understand that this is an animal and then actually want to do that animal justice and want to use all parts. Want to be able to savor every morsel of nutrition and not waste any of it. That's what I want to get into.
When asked about sustainability, I understand it can be a grey topic. Here are a few guidelines I use and recommend. If you're interested in implementing any of these concepts directly to the food you prepare at home, I'd love for you to check out my Guide to Self-Sufficient Cooking. It's a project full of love, intended to be helpful. (And delicious.)
1. Eat local. What's literally in your backyard? Get things as close to the source as possible. Pull from the ground or harvest from the ocean or land yourself. If that's not possible, know the people who are providing you with your food.
2. Get to know who catches your fish. For some this is easier than others. Start with anyone in your network who may be a fisherman or spearfisher.
3. Ask questions. What kind of fish is this? Where was it caught? Where did it come from?
4. Develop a better understanding of fishing practices. Small-scale is a good thing to support. Spearfishing on a breath is as selective as it gets. There is no bycatch. Bycatch is when one species is targeted, but other species are caught incidentally that may go to waste. This often happens with nets.
5. Diversity. There are species other than salmon, cod, and tuna. If we target the same few fish globally, ecosystems will eventually collapse. Smaller fish that are lower on the food chain can be great options. In California, sheepshead, calico bass, sand bass, and others are great options. On the East Coast, scup and tautog are great options.
6. Use all parts of the fish. Respect the once-living animal, and do it justice. Ask yourself, "How can I take this harvest and even just make one more meal out of it?" Often, soup is the answer there.
Editor's Note: Enter code HEALTHY50 to save $50 at checkout on Kimi Werner's Guide to Sustainable, Self-Sufficient Cooking.