June 13, 2015 — Nearly a decade ago, the writer Michael Pollan advised: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Ever since, a certain kind of progressive supermarket aisle has emerged: “Real” foods, calorie-limited portions and vegetarianism (or at least Meatless Mondays) have become culinary aspirations for millennials and boomers alike.
Mr. Pollan’s advice is sound. But what about the 71 percent of the Earth’s surface that provides humans with 350 billion pounds of food every year? How do you make rules for our oceans and freshwater ecosystems, whose vast production is, even in this increasingly mechanized world, still more than half wild?
Since I first read Mr. Pollan’s haiku-like dictum, I have been trying to be like Mike — i.e., to work out a seafood three-liner that would be as concise, elegant and free from exceptions as his. I can’t say that I have been entirely successful. No sooner do I present a draft idea at a local seafood forum than I get shouted down by a New England dragger captain whose cod doesn’t fill the bill.
But rules are useful no matter the exceptions. And since World Oceans Day was this month, I thought I would offer up my own, admittedly clunky, variation:
Eat American seafood.
A much greater variety than we currently do.
Mostly farmed filter feeders.
Some explanations are in order.