Beef vs. Sea Bass   1 comment

I recently responded (late, woops) to a wedding invitation and had a bit of a dilemma with the meal selection. The choices for dinner were beef and sea bass. I laughed when I saw the choices because isn’t it always true that when you are given two choices for a meal you don’t want either one? In this case both options have the potential to be great choices or not-so-great choices.

Beef: Last year I committed to avoiding all (to 95%) meat and dairy containing synthetic growth hormones. This usually means avoiding beef dishes (and lamb, sob) when eating out. Most restaurants do not serve organic or hormone-free beef. There’s always a chance, though, so often I ask the server.

Sea bass: For the sea bass it depends on what kind of sea bass. Black sea bass has apparently recovered sufficiently from past overfishing and it is now on the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s yellow “good alternatives” list. Chilean sea bass (toothfish) is currently overfished and is on the red “avoid” list.

My dilemma in this eeny-meeny-miny-mo is that I don’t want to be a pill. It’s part of my conscientiousness I guess. I don’t want to make life any more difficult than it already is when planning a wedding. Been there, done that. I know first hand how difficult it can be to be conscientious when planning a wedding. It was very important to me that we have organic food at our wedding, and that was how we narrowed down reception sites; but I never got around to asking for any verification beyond the word of the wedding planners, so I don’t know for sure if it really was organic food. Anyway, the celebration isn’t about me and my quirks (it’s not like I have a serious food allergy or am a committed vegetarian, we’re talking minor lifestyle choices here). I decided to select the sea bass and send a note with my reply card asking what kind of sea bass and a request that if it is Chilean sea bass to change me to beef. I figure that the beef thing counts as just a Maya-quirk. I probably could have tried requesting a vegetarian meal since there is probably a hidden vegetarian option, but since I’m not vegetarian I don’t really think that is fair.

The response that I got to my note deepened my dilemma a bit. It is Chilean sea bass, but they were assured by the chef that it is farmed and therefore okay. According to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Marine Stewardship Council, and Wikipedia, though, Chilean sea bass is a deep water fish that is wild caught; and I did an unsuccessful Google search looking for farmed Chilean sea bass. There is a Chilean sea bass fishery that has been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Maybe that’s what the chef meant. I’m not comfortable with the uncertainty, though. Especially in the case of something that is being dramatically overfished I’d rather avoid consumption (and therefore not increase demand).

So beef it is. It’s not like I haven’t eaten conventional beef several times in the last year anyway.

Posted September 15, 2010 by mayakey in conscious living, food

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One response to “Beef vs. Sea Bass

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