I remember a time when the sight of an oyster would almost make me dry reach.
I mean, look at them… how can a 7 year old boy think that is going to be good to eat?!
I still think similar, but have indulged, and did again this week at the fish markets.
Extra mile- 5
Budget – Medium
*Scores are out of 10
Sydney Fish Markets: Overall rating – 31/50 on a medium budget
It’s not just oysters either. Mussels, prawns, lobster, abalone, octopus- when laying one’s eyes upon any of these, the site doesn’t really stimulate the tastebuds. The site is pretty grotesque really.
And that is exactly how I summed it up as a young lad; looks gross = must taste gross.
I took this and ran with it for years, effectively not going near most seafood through my childhood and teenage years.
Thankfully I grew out of that stage, managed to step out on a limb a few times and try some of these seafood indulgences with a somewhat more open mind. In fact I did similar to this with quite a few different food items as a lad, only really stepping out of that ignorant and stubborn shadow in my mid twenties.
The result was that I do now quite like most seafood. Even though prawns still look pretty disgusting and oysters and mussels look like, um, I won’t go there, pushing passed previously perceived taste limitations can open up a new world of food choices and nutritional treats.
What does this mean? Well, certainly in terms of seafood, I think this kind of decision- not to eat something because you think its gross- holds true for many people. Unfortunately for them it means missing out on all sorts of delicious and nutritious food.
We know the varied benefits of seafood- quality protein, fats and minerals- but there is something incredibly satisfactory eating freshly caught fish or shellfish.
That’s where the Sydney Fish Markets comes into its own. The selection is broad, the place is a lively buzz and the different senses are fighting for dominance whichever way you turn.
We wandered through and eventually chose one of the markets to buy a seafood platter, a fresh abalone, a seafood skewer and some grilled fresh red snapper fillet.
The freshness was obvious in the taste, and once again as we sat next to the water, surrounded by tourists, seagulls, fishing boats and market stalls, the senses fought for precedence. In the end the tastebuds were treated to a divine selection of ugly looking seafood… the prawns are always rewarding once the creepy parts are discarded, but for me the fresh snapper fillet was the pick of the bunch.
As we sat and ate my mind wandered (as it does) and I pondered and the shared with NN how even just 6 or so years ago there was no way I would have sat down to eat that selection of food. However, because I got over some irrational childish tastes and branched out to try new things, I can now enjoy the delights of the sea and benefit from their rich nutritious commodities.
So I challenge you (yes you) this week to take a food you dislike (or think you dislike) and eat it. Challenge your old decisions to avoid something and see if you’ve been missing out on a treat all this time.
I’ve recently done the same with Brussels sprouts and I have to say- they are good. Well, with the assistance of bacon fat, anyway.
NN, what did you think?
It was good timing going to the fish markets because it aligned nicely with a conversation I had been having with a client of mine about eating fish.
For some reason she had become a little ‘fish’ scared with all this talk about levels of Mercury, and she also had concerns about the fishing practices of many different fish companies (she does have good reason to be concerned about fishing practices and sustainability), and as a result her fish consumption had decreased. A shame because fish is an awesome source of Omega 3 fatty acids – the fatty acids that are protective for our heart and brain.
So I’m going to use this opportunity to try and clarify this topic, whilst also pointing you in the right direction for more information, that is, if you want to dive deeper (great pun).
Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and makes its way into the food chain. Methyl Mercury is a metal that can have detrimental effects on our nervous system, and is particularly detrimental to pregnant women and nursing mothers. High levels of Mercury in a human can cause heart, brain, lung and immune damage.
Mercury levels accumulate, which mean that the larger fish that sit at the top of the food chain will tend to have more Mercury in them because all the prior fish that have been gobbled up contribute to the Mercury levels. This means that if we were to consume large quantities of large fish, such as Shark, then we are more prone to accumulating this Mercury, and possibly suffering as a result. This applies to both fresh and canned fish.
If you are someone who lives off canned tuna this site will be helpful to you.
Luckily for us in Australia, our fish tend to be low in Mercury, however, I have included some links that will help you make educated choices when purchasing fish. Provided you follow the guidelines and only choose the most suitable fish, the health benefits of doing so far outweigh any of the small potential risk that the Mercury holds.
From sustainability stand point there is a real threat of over fishing by commercial companies, as they catch large numbers and varieties of fish with nets, and often many end up wasted. The large quantities caught often have a negative impact on the fish population, which then has a negative effect on the eco-system. Again, I have attached a link that informs you of what companies and species are more sustainable and use best fishing practice, and which ones are not. It is clear, that we need to support those companies that use best practices and source more sustainable species to eat.
If upon reading these links you are concerned about potential Mercury levels you can go to this site, which gives you an estimate Mercury reading based on your fish consumption.
However, to truly get an accurate picture you must get blood tests done by your GP.
This is a huge topic, and if left to my own devices could write you a thesis, however, fortunately for you, I shall not, as all this talk about fish is making me crave tuna.
Happy seafood eating J
MC & NN
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