FERN’s Friday Feed: Primal pleasure

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

The joy of eating meat with your hands

Bon Appétit

“Plenty of tools exist to make mealtimes in modern society easier. You know, chopsticks, forks, knives, crab crackers, etc. I appreciate these human innovations. But in matters of food, few things bring me more joy than the primal activity of eating meat from a shell or off the bone with just my hands,” writes Serena Dai. “Many of my most memorable dining experiences share this element … [I]n steamy New Orleans, we ordered two bags of shrimp, crawfish, and crab legs coated in Cajun spices to eat in a park. The intoxicating blend of peppery, garlicky seasoning rushed into my nose when I untied the tops. I entered a similar daze of hand-demolishing hard shells for soft flesh, this time licking my fingers for jolts of salt and chugging light beer to wash it down. When we were done, we napped in the sun, like lions after a hunt.”

Cooking is thinking


“Imagine someone has cooked a particular dish a hundred, possibly even a thousand times over during the course of their life,” writes Chantal Braganza. “By ‘someone,’ I don’t mean a kitchen or restaurant professional. Just a person, someone used to making food for themselves. Often for others, too, and often, because of the history associated with this labour, a woman. What might the actions involved in making the dish have to say about their desires, their triumphs and failures, and how they have learned to comfort others or nourish themselves?”

Not enough fish in the sea

Knowable Magazine

“The high seas make up 60 percent of the world’s oceans, but less than 10 percent of the fish that is caught worldwide,” says Daniel Pauly, a prominent and outspoken fisheries researcher, in this Q&A. “It gets lots of attention because that’s where we catch tuna and squid and so on. But altogether, the high seas are a sideshow. Notably, almost every species that is caught in the high seas also moves into EEZs [exclusive economic zones], where they could be fished … If we close the high sea to fishing, we would still have the same catch, globally. We would produce much less greenhouse gas if fishing boats weren’t going so far out. We would have less slavery at sea because all of this would be done within national jurisdictions. And the fish populations would be much more sustainable, because there would be such a large area where they could recover.”

How two pieces of art helped me hate cooking a little bit less

Literary Hub

“[Martha] Rosler explains her film as a reaction to the way ‘haute cuisine’ had been transferred from hired professionals onto the women at the head of the household,” writes Rosalynn Tyo. “The idea that ‘because we don’t have servants any more in the middle classes, women were supposed to be able to make something very special and also, of course, entertain and sit down and eat it with the guests … I thought that was pretty crazy—and also pretty un-thought-through.’ She laughs while delivering this line, as did I when I read it, though my amusement was tinged with more than a little bitterness. That ‘crazy’ idea had some serious legs. They’re still kicking us now, almost 50 years after Rosler was inspired to make Semiotics of the Kitchen.”

The climate benefits of ‘rewilding’

Inside Climate News

“Restoring populations of land and marine animals in targeted ‘rewilding’ zones would speed up biological carbon pumps that remove carbon dioxide from the air and sequester the greenhouse gas where it doesn’t harm the climate, new research shows.” As Bob Berwyn writes, “An international team of scientists focused the study on marine fish, whales, sharks, gray wolves, wildebeest, sea otters, musk oxen, African forest elephants and American bison as species, or groups of species, that accelerate the carbon cycle. Collectively, they ‘could facilitate the additional capture’ of almost 500 million tons of CO2 by 2100, which would be a big step toward preventing long-term planetary heating of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.”