Through great stories, scientific insight, and local knowledge, Maria Finn tells an illuminating story about the practice of seafood.
Finn’s book, published through TED books last month, is a mixing of various stories, recipes, and facts. Throughout her time working for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, she’s seen what it’s like to be a fisherman (fisherwoman, in her case) and how many cultures have a deeper connection with their food. She compares this to the majority of American culture that may not have that deeper connection (after all, buying fillets from the grocery store is quite different than catching it yourself!).
Here, Finn makes a proposition – to get more intimate with your food (this isn’t a Flight of the Conchords joke). By understanding your seafood, where it comes from, and by using the entire fish, you can live a healthier and more economically efficient lifestyle. Purchasing and using the entire fish not only saves you money overall, but consuming all those yummy parts has large health benefits, including a large dose of Omega-3 fatty acids that can assist with more positive moods (omega-3 increases serotonin levels, which can put you in a great mood). As noted by Finn, Vitamins A, B, D, calcium, and phosphorous, and proteins are also found through the body of salmon.
Of course, consuming the entire fish requires more than just a mindset. Finn provides a suite of mouth-watering recipes at the back of the book. These recipes give great instruction on how to prepare delicious meals for you and friends, while simultaneously being respectful of your bodies and the environment.
Overall, “The Whole Fish” is a great resource that highlights the environmental problems around the interaction between humans and fish populations. It discusses dam development (and deconstruction), farmed fish, and sustainable sushi. All of these topics (and more) showcase how we’ve been interacting with fish and how you can alter your seafood experiences to be healthier and more sustainable.
Finn sums up the book’s purpose well when she writes, “because what we eat has consequences for both our health and the environment, we can feed ourselves in ways that support the food web and therefore embrace our interconnectedness with everything around us. We can include ourselves in the shifting of seasons, the cycles of nature, and the marvels of life that are schooling in our oceans and pulsing up our rivers.”