I was recently shopping at the Washington Street Whole Foods in Newton, MA. I turned the corner to the seafood department and saw a small crowd of kids and adults watching an employee butcher a huge – well, comparatively to other fish I cook – swordfish. People were taking pictures, children were asking how it was caught: it was a great educational experience. One kid asked if it was still alive…
What if there was more easily-accessible transparency in how food was grown/caught and prepared? Regardless of whether you support eating swordfish, it’s refreshing and interesting to see what goes on behind-the-scenes and to better understand how our dinners came to be. I was glad Whole Foods set up a display shoppers could see simply by walking down the aisel.
I grew up on a small farm with chicken, pigs, and goats, so I’m familiar with very small-scale egg, meat, and milk production, but I had never even seen a whole swordfish in person until last week. Gardening is another example – growing up with a large garden set my standards for high-quality produce (pesticide-free and amazing flavors).
I’d love to hear about some of your experiences with food education and/or transparency of process. It’s not always pretty, but I’d much rather know how my pig lived and died.
Watching this also made me think about techniques for cutting up fish. Here’s an interesting article from the Japanese Food Report if you want to learn more about ikejime, the specific Japanese process of butchering fish.