Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shrimp and Grits Turn Political

This is one of those blog posts that may never have been written had the circumstances been different.  The fact of the matter is, this recipe (a modified shrimp & grits made with locally sourced wild mushrooms, shrimp, and cheesy polenta) was pretty much a flop.  What started as a great idea (using deliciously fresh ingredients) turned out to be a royal mess-up at worst, and a learning experience at best.

The flavors were off, the shrimp got slightly overcooked, and the overall dish just didn't have that *something* that made it worthy of becoming a published Burp! recipe.  But, it got me thinking -- really thinking -- about seafood, particularly Gulf seafood.  And I though it was important to share my thoughts.

If you've been a reader for a while, you might remember me talking last summer about our discovery of the Fabian Seafood truck  --  a purveyor of Gulf seafood based in Galveston, Texas.

Fabian started their family business selling fresh shrimp throughout most of Texas and Oklahoma from the back of pick-up trucks. Back then, they would buy the shrimp fresh from the shrimping boats, ice them down, and drive overnight several hundred miles or more inland to sell them the very next day.   People were skeptical of buying shrimp out of the back of a truck (as was I) -- but Fabian proved themselves by supplying some of the freshest shrimp anywhere and developing a loyal following of customers.

The BP spill happened about 300 miles away from Galveston and the oil headed primarily north and east, away from Fabian's business. In fact, these days their business has been primarily affected -- not so much by the oil contamination & dispersants -- but by overall higher wholesale prices and low supply due to the closure of about a third of the fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Unfortunately, they have also felt a drop in business due to the perception that all Gulf seafood is contaminated -- which isn't the case. In fact, according to Fabian's Web site, two thirds of the Gulf is still open to fishing and the shrimp boats.  And businesses are still able to source fresh, uncontaminated seafood from these areas.  They've even posted information on their Web site to ensure that their customers have the information they need to make an educated decision about buying their seafood.


We're doing a fund-raiser here in Milwaukee this weekend called the Gumbo Git Down which aims to bring some relief to the Gulf region through money donated to the Gulf Restoration Network.  And, while you may not live close enough to attend, I'd ask you to consider doing something locally to help out those Gulf fishermen (like Fabian) whose livelihood is at stake.  Keep buying seafood from safe sources.  Keep supporting those workers who keep the Gulf seafood industry alive.  And do your part to spread the truth about what's going on in the Gulf.  

Even better, read up on the work that the Gulf Restoration Network is doing to mediate the issues in the Gulf -- and consider giving them your support.  After all, the BP well might be plugged, but the issues in the Gulf are a long way from being solved.   



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8 comments:

  1. I can't imagine life without seafood, especially shrimp - it always occupies space in my freezer. *raises right hand* I do by swear to continue buying from safe sources, supporting the workers, and watching "Deadliest Catch." ;-)

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  2. It's so awful what this leak has done to the industry as a whole

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  3. Kat - On the up-side, the BP oil spill has called the nation's attention to the Gulf, which has been struggling with problems of pollution for a long time. I wrote another article about this on my blog, FOODCrush, if you're interested: http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/2824

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  4. God, I haven't eaten shrimp in months. Maybe a year! Such a sticky wicket. Glad to see people are doing something about it! Keep up that good work that you do.

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  5. When the bad things happen, it's nice to see who will work to help. And that's you.

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  6. I really enjoyed attending your event, Gumbo Git Down. I was hoping that we would have been able to judge which gumbo we liked the most. Well, maybe next year.

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