Monday, November 18, 2013

Rant: Cook More Seafood, Especially Local

I don't think you're listening to me and I'm only trying to help. Pay attention! My advice will benefit your health, bring you pleasure, help local businesses, and assist the country's economic welfare. And what I am asking is relatively easy to do, so why aren't you listening to me?

My advice is: Cook More Seafood, Especially Local.

Last year, my advice was very similar: Eat More Seafood, Especially Local. And as far back as March 2010, I've been exhorting people to Eat More Fish, especially because of its significant health benefits. However, seafood consumption in the U.S. has been declining for the last seven years. That is a terrible situation and needs immediate change. Numerous health problems plague our population and increased seafood consumption would help to change that situation.

As I mentioned last year, annual seafood consumption in 2011 decreased to 15 pounds per person, dropping from 15.8 pounds in 2010. Recent reports indicate that seafood consumption in 2012 continued to decline, down to 14.6 pounds. The prior 2011 report was even more disturbing when it revealed that the U.S. imports 91% of their seafood, up 5% from 2010. Why aren't we buying more locally sourced seafood?

It seems that cost is often at the root of these problems. Earlier this year, I indicated this was a significant issue and recent reports reiterate that conclusion. However, recent reports delineate the issue in more depth, indicating that seafood consumption at restaurants may actually be increasing in many places. That is obviously a positive development, seeming to indicate that people want to eat more seafood and understand the benefits. The overall decline in consumption seems to be mostly due to less people cooking seafood at home.

Do you have difficulty preparing seafood at home? Do you know how to cook fish and shellfish? Are there reasons why you don't cook more seafood at home? Is the price alone the problem?

Fish can be prepared in a myriad of methods, from raw to baked, fried to grilled. It can be added to soups, stews, risottos, casseroles, stir fry or sauces. Seafood can be prepared very simply and still possess plenty of taste. Buy a seafood cookbook and experiment if you want to make more intricate dishes. Seek out help from other cooks about the best ways to prepare seafood. It isn't as hard to prepare as you think.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and cook more seafood, especially local.

If you have a recommendation for an excellent seafood cookbook, please leave it in the comments.
If you have advice and suggestions for cooking seafood at home, please leave it in the comments.


Fiona Robinson said...

Richard--The NFI release had an incorrect consumption number, NOAA number is correct: per capita consumption in 2012 was 14.4 pounds. - Fiona R.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks very much Fiona!

Mazarkis Williams said...

I have an ancient Legal Seafoods cookbook. I don't know if they still sell those, but it is fabulous. Great chowder recipes. Used the fried cod recipe last night.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks Maz. Legal released a new cookbook in May, so your advice is still very good.

Mazarkis Williams said...

Good to know.

Clarissa Brooks said...

I never ate seafood as a kid but now that I'm older and know about the health benefits compared to other meats I try to cook it for my family at least once a week. The biggest probably I know most people have when trying to eat a lot of seafood in their diet is the cost. I usually try and save money by buying quantities of frozen seafood that will last awhile but the key is to never buy more then you'll eat. It's also important to pay attention to seasonality and location when buying seafood because these can have a large effect on the price.