It’s All A Matter Of Taste Or Is It?

I just saw a movie which took me through the first chapters of Julia Child’s life-long venture with French cooking. Having been a French major in college, I must confess, that Julia’s first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, became basic reading just like Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry), which brings me to today’s blog. While Julia Child is to be credited with opening Americans’ eyes to new French culinary techniques, we must note that her advice was ahead of its time. Not only did Ms. Child adapt ingredients to those which would be easily found in the traditional American kitchen and supermarkets, she is also credited with educating chefs-in-training on the importance of using fresh seasonal ingredients whenever possible. In her cookbooks, she even highlights during which months taste is optimum for specific produce. Essentially, in the early sixties, Julia Child was already a locavore way before the term had been coined. I don’t think reducing her carbon footprint was what she had in mind. For her, it was a matter of taste.

That brings me to the other issue I would like to discuss today–eating fresh fish. While eating fish and seafood is an essential part of a healthy diet, whether you’re a famous chef or not, many people argue that fresh fish actually tastes better. Well, freshly caught fish is more difficult to find nowadays. As I was reading several articles on aquaculture, I was surprised to learn that nearly half of all fish eaten today are actually farmed, not caught in the open seas or fresh waters. Back in 1980, the percentage of farmed-raised fish that made it to our tables was only 9 percent! Aquaculturists are even developing techniques so the farmed-raised fish will actually taste “fresh.” Given the growing population, good aquaculture practices are key to ensuring a sustainable supply of fish for human consumption. According to a recent study, there seems to be some hope for fisheries worldwide.

I would like to get input as to your thoughts on the issue. Personally, it all boils down to the taste of food—or does it really? In conclusion, bon appétit! As Julia Child used to say….

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.