||[Apr. 18th, 2007|08:00 am]
|||||Lula, Lula, Don't You Go to Bingo: Boozoo Chavis||]|
Today's article in the Washington Post on locally farmed shrimp made me fair quiver with delight.
(I'm going to pause here, so some of you can do the visual on that...and recover.)
This is a soapbox I clamber up on with regularity and I try not to foam at the mouth (I know, that just wiped the whole "quiver" thing right out of your mind) but it's something about which I'm passionate. (Please note: the humor here is carefully hidden, so before you get your pedantic panties in a wad, review for simplification and exaggeration in the interest of brevity and a cheap laugh.)
Just say "NO" to those big-ass, cheap farmed shrimp from Asia. Yes, I mean the cheap bags at Costco and Trader Joes, the stand-alone freezer cases at your local market, or even Whole Foods where you can scoop out your own. Look carefully at Giant (and perhaps other places) and you can find genuine frozen gulf shrimp. Sure, it's more expensive. But stop being such a cheap-ass. Why? You can pick your reason; I offer three.
One: You're encouraging the destruction of the ocean and vital ecosystems surrounding the areas in Asia where they farm shrimp. Not only are they obliterating the mangroves that are vital to the shore and ocean ecosystem, but the waste products are dumped right into the ocean, as are the lovely disease organisms and drugs fed to the shrimp to combat said diseases. Some countries have woken up and realized that the mangroves are the very things that keep their shorelines from being wiped out by tsunamis...but American dollars make it easy to discount. So, the next time a tsunami wipes out thousands of people...it's all your fault, you cheap bastard.
Two: You are killing any chance the shrimp industry has of surviving here in the US. You want to be patriotic? Instead of spending $2 on a magnetic flag or magnetic fake ribbon to show your patriotism, spend an extra $2 on gulf shrimp. Asia will always be able to provide us with cheaper shrimp, because, well, they don't have Greenpeace crawling up their ass so often, and our relatively toothless EPA looks like a saber tooth tiger compared to the regulation in most Asian countries. Plus, our shrimpers consider a satellite dish part of a decent standard of living. But I'll forgive them that. Plus, a la Walmart, the Asian shrimp industry has been selling their shrimp to us at ridiculously low prices in order to drive our industry out of business, so that our guys won't even bother to cast a net and they can sell us all of our shrimp. So put down that flag and show your patriotism by buying US shrimp -- voting with your wallet is the American thing to do. Plus it's more effective than voting at the polls, right?
Three: All right, all right, you don't give a rat's patoot about the environment and you're all for globalization and unhampered trade. Fine.
Do it because Farmed Shrimp from Asia tastes like crap.
Okay, they don't taste like crap. They actually don't really taste like anything....they're like the WonderBread of the crustacean aisle. Quit covering them with butter and cocktail sauce or crusted with Old Bay and realize that you are only eating a pale imitation of what shrimp used to taste like. It might as well be chicken under there, people. Except that even chicken has more flavor.
They're big. I'll give you that. And more likely to be pretty. But vapid. Insipid. Characterless.
I know, I know, I'm only a recent convert myself over the past year or so -- lured into laziness by the pretty bags at Costco and Trader Joe's. But I did pick up a bag of the frozen Gulf shrimp at Giant finally, and cooked them and....holy rostrum, they tasted like...SHRIMP! I'd forgotten that they actually had their OWN flavor! I'd been eating tofu of the sea!
If you've ever been able to pick up shrimp right from the shrimp boats when they dock, you know what I'm talking about and we probably don't need to be having this conversation. But for the rest of you, do your tastebuds a favor and insist on at least the frozen US or US Gulf shrimp. Your palate will thank you. Of course, if you're able to lay your hands on the locally farmed shrimp, by all means, do so, when they start hitting the stores.