11 July 2024

 

Before we hate each other like we are now, we used to like or even love one another. Reading news of the recent times, one cannot feel the hatred that exudes from the current affairs. The call-out culture, the generational clashes in every single issue, the unsettled feelings, the unnecessary classification of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ all things that embody the restlessness of the time, including the clear evidences of more natural disasters — all the results of global warming.

About a decade or so back I ran a tiny publishing house as an annex of a larger travel guide publisher who liked me enough to allow me to do what I wanted and agreed to printed whatever I wrote. That was pure love. And trust, and a lot of fun in between. Among our published books was an eating guide to Trang and Phuket – the two of my most visited southern provinces according our preferred tastes. Back then, even before all harsh things we are witnessing today, there was a sense of loss in what I wrote. Even with what seemed to be the endless supplies of food in front of us, I for one couldn’t help thinking that that could not last. Looking around and if you are not turning a blind eye, you will see it — industrial food production, food sourcing everywhere that is quickly and drastically ruining our natural resources which are the very breeding grounds of our sustenance.

In the quiet Bang Saphan district of Prachuab Khiri Khan province south of Thailand, a group of fishermen formed a team to oppose fishing vessels from the encroaching their shorelines in the Gulf of Thailand. In fact, they are not the only group that stands up against the global food industries, but so are the local fishermen along the coastlines of Thailand. In Phattalung, for example, as well as places like Phang Nga which is on the Andaman coast on the west side, local fishermen have been feeling and witnessing the natural devastation created by the mega-fishing boats. With trawl nets that catch fish indiscriminately, industrial fishing left the oceans everywhere bereaved. And even with small efforts from local fishermen everywhere trying to push back against these devastating acts for years and years, it seems, even for now, that nothing has been done or improved. Mega-fishing, overfishing is still largely a norm. Buffet-eating, food-hoarding, all-you-can-eat are still widely practiced with still many people stuffing their face senseless as if there’s no tomorrow.

During the past few months, there were some recurring news flashes on the vast crisis of Thai mackerel – or Pla Tu Thai – the smaller version of the generic mackerels widely found elsewhere. Smaller with a much more delicate flesh, Pla Tu Thai — once so ubiquitous it was considered a ‘poor man’s fare,’ — has become something of a rare delicacy. People who want to say they know how to eat will prefer Pla Tu Thai which is now selling at a much higher price that others for the delicate and juicy taste.

But we will not be able to feast ourselves on the mackerels — Thai or otherwise — and many other kinds of seafood, especially ones once abundant along the shorelines, if we are not watching what we eat which has a direct impact on the food purveying process. Although we cannot trace the origins of all the foods in our pantry, we can certainly cut back on some lavish habits that encourage the more devastating food sourcing procedures. For example, stop eating buffet which is relatively doable. First, for own sake in terms of health and money, because you will never win in a buffet. While only a plate or two will suffice for a meal, you are paying for much more. Also, buffet is a major waste of food. And who knows how many times the leftovers have been circulated or reinvented into new, sellable dishes? So, pay as you go. You will save money, and also your waistline.

 

Also, support local, smaller restaurants as much as you can. They might not have an economy of scale to bargain with their food suppliers in terms of pricing, but, should they wish, they can seek quality from smaller and independent producers who hopefully, with the supports from their peers, manage you stay afloat from all the marketing traps by turning in to industrial offerings. Choosing right on what you eat and where you eat. What to buy, what to cook – things that we do regularly, at least three times a day, every single day, can really help. We can together make a greater and better impact on our world.

 

 

Let’s do it — one meal at a time.

 

 

By : Ohhappybear