FROM THIS EPISODE
We kick off this week’s watery show with the tale of The Codfather. Reporter Ben Goldfarb covered the rise and fall of Carlos Rafael for the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) and Mother Jones magazine. His piece is a fascinating look at how a Portuguese fisherman amassed a flotilla of 40 boats, while managing to skirt commercial fishing regulations for years. Learn how his arrest upended New England’s fishing industry.
“Trust the Gorton’s fisherman,” or so the slogan goes. But truth be told, if you were to eat a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich in Alaska, the fish inside the breading will have crossed the continental United States twice on its journey to Gloucester, Massachusetts, to be sliced and batter-coated in breadcrumbs before returning west to the Golden Arches. Journalist Lee van der Voo takes a deep dive into the commercial fishing industry in her new book, “The Fish Market.” In it, she exposes the monopolies, privatization and exclusionary practices that are just as rampant on the seas as they are in America’s agricultural industry.
Lee van der Voo
This week at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, Ricardo Zarate, the chef-owner of Rosaliné in West Hollywood, is shopping for ají amarillo, huacatay and Japanese Momotaro tomatoes. He uses them in a branzino dish called pescado parrillero, which he learned to cook from an ex-girlfriend’s mom. Then, farmer Cuco Arambula explains to Laura Avery how he grows Momotaro tomatoes at Beylik Family Farms in Fillmore, California.
When it comes to oysters, Rowan Jacobsen does not mince words: “A good oyster smells like the sea breeze skipping over the shore. A bad oyster smells like a murder victim.” That pearl of wisdom is one of many you’ll find in Jacobsen’s impressive new compendium about the bivalve: “The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation.” In it, he also shares a roadmap to the best oysters in the United States.
Bren Smith is the executive director of GreenWave. The longtime commercial fisherman recently discovered restorative 3-D ocean farming of shellfish and seaweed. We reached out to him at Thimble Island Ocean Farm in Connecticut to learn how his underwater farming model is reviving ecosystems, reversing the effects of climate change and creating new jobs.
More From Good Food
The 'Fuerte Four,’ nixtamalization, and eggplants Gustavo’s Great Tortilla Tournament is this Sunday and our judges are faced with the ultimate decision: corn or flour? Bill Esparza talks tortilla makers in the LA area. And did you know that inside your tortilla is an ancient process, perfected over centuries? Also, L.A. Taco’s Daniel Hernandez recalls a Guadalajara taco crawl with Jonathan Gold. Plus: some tips on cooking eggplant, now in season.
Plastic straws, Persian cuisine, and Meathead Goldwyn What does the history of plastic straws tell us about U.S. capitalism? Growing up in Tehran, Naz Deravian watched her parents entertain with classic Persian dishes; now she’s carrying on the tradition in LA. Stressed about cooking brisket this Rosh Hashanah? Help is here. Plus, Zach Brooks stops by to discuss Jonathan Gold’s review of Vespertine.
Jell-O and feminism, ‘Losing Earth,’ vertical farming A new book examines the intersection of American feminism and Jell-O. This Labor Day, throw some desserts on the grill. Nathaniel Rich dives into the consequences of ignoring climate change warnings. Does vertical farming yield the same nutrient content as open air agriculture? Also: Tien Nguyen remembers Jonathan Gold’s impassioned defense of San Gabriel noodle shops, including Nha Trang.
Thai food, from Bangkok to SoCal Thai food is having a renaissance. We revisit conversations with James Syhabout of Hawker Fare and Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker, who are showing U.S. diners the wider canon of Thai food. We also hear about Bangkok’s unique food culture. How does the history of Thai food in LA tell the story of Thai assimilation? Plus: hear Jonathan Gold’s original review of Jitlada, the beloved Thai restaurant in Hollywood.
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