Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lucky Peach: The Seashore Issue

My favorite food magazine is Lucky Peach, always a fascinating collection of well-written and intriguing articles about all things food. Each issue generally has a special theme, and if you love seafood, then you need to check out their latest issue, which is all about the Seashore. They state that the issue is "all about food from littoral realms—the spaces where land meets sea" and you'll find over 24 articles about seafood-related topics. This is a must read.

The diversity of the subject matter in this issue is compelling, and generally beyond what you'll find in most other food magazines. You'll find an article about swimming with River Otters as well as another about the smells of the seashore, including the smell of seaweed sex. You'll find humor and education, recipes and restaurant reviews, anecdotes and memories. And all supplemented with excellent photography and drawings.

Check out "Of Prawns & Men on the Bali Strait" by Melati Kaye, which is about shrimp farming in Bali. The article discusses the sustainability of such farming, noting some of the negative costs of imported shrimp from mangrove destruction to the overfishing of sardines for fish food. As for other crustaceans, "That Fish Cray" by Adam Gollner provides plenty of info about the crayfish, from history to cooking advice. Did you know that Bavarian monks were some of the first people to support eating crayfish? In ancient times, crayfish were thought to be insects and few wanted to eat them.

Sea vegetables, a topic that isn't discussed enough, also get coverage in a couple articles. In "This Is Not A Cucumber," Chris Ying discusses the Sea Cucumber, noting how it is becoming more common on some Bay area restaurant menus such as Benu and Saison. He mentions how seas cucumbers are prepared and served, and maybe you'll start seeing them soon on the menu all across the country. In another article, "A Little Kelp From My Friends," by Rachel Khong, there is a discussion on commercial seaweed operations in California, as well as seaweed harvesting in Japan. Kelp may become more and more important in the future, and there is even a commercial kelp operation in Maine. Did you also know that seaweed has unique gelling and thickening properties?

There are several shellfish articles, discussing such topics as Australian Middens; 8 types of edible bivalves, Clam dishes at East Coast restaurants, the Battle Over Drakes Bay Oyster CompanyCockles, and Abalone. Ever heard of Blood Ark Clams, which actually bleed red? Want to know more about jellied eels? Did you know that when humans first traveled into North America, abalone became a significant food source for coastal dwellers?

For more informational articles, you can enjoy "Under the Sea" by Nina Bai which discusses various sea creatures that were named after land ones, comparing them to each other. You can learn more about such strange creatures as the Sea Cow, Sea Hare, Sea Pig, and Sea Robin. In "Something Fishy," by Brette Warshaw, you'll find stories behind four sushi items including wasabi and sushi gras. The fake grass you get with much sushi used to be real , and its purpose was help to preserve the food, as well as separate it. And one of my favorite articles is "Bringing It All Back Home" by Genevieve Ko, which is about seafood in Portugal, a country I very much want to visit.

Within the magazine, you will also find a number of recipes, including:
--Linguine With Mussels & Pecorino
--Clams with Lap Cheong & Fermented Black Bean
--Barnacles in the Basket
--Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches with Smoked Oyster Mayo
--Razor Clam Crudo with Sea Beans & Fresh Wasabi
--Gaper Clam Sashimi
--Clams & Beach Peas with Crema
--Clams Casino on Toast
--Strawberry Shake with Aperol & Saba
--Thanh Tra Salad
--Ms. Vo Thi Huong's Garlic Shrimp
--Crayfish Au Gratin
--Manhattan Clam Chowder
--Ameijoas A Bulhao Pato
--Polvo Assado
--Arroz de Mariscos

I strongly recommend you regularly read Lucky Peach, but for seafood lovers, the latest Seashore issue is of special interest, and well worth reading. I'm sure you'll learn something, and you'll have fun reading the wide diversity of articles.

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