Ice cold walleye (before and after)

Ice fishing. Hmmmm. Sounds suspiciously like goofing off while I manage hockey (it was hockey day in Minnesota on Saturday, I attended/watched 8 games this weekend, capped off by a game winning goal in OT–way to go Av! My mother of the year award will be arriving anyday now.) 

As proof of his conquests, Matt did bring home walleye, which was delicious. I think it’s even better in winter from the cold clear depths. It doesn’t need anything more than salt, pepper and panko in olive oil/butter, squeeze of lemon. 

But that got me thinking about what it is to eat something that you kill. It’s hard for me to say that and I know some of my vegan readers will agree. I’m not a big meat eater and it is not uncommon for us to have a vegetarian family meal. Matt doesn’t hunt and very very rarely does he keep fish. I truly thought about this as I made dinner last night and whether my current lifestyle allows me this luxury to think like this.

For me being a “picky” meat eater comes from the experience of touring a pork processing plant many years ago. It was enlightening–How the animals are treated and what it’s like to work in a place like that. (Anyone who wants a cheap hamburger should tour one to understand why it costs $1.)

More of the developing world can afford meat, and so we produce more (along with directing more of the plants we grow to feeding them). And on the other end of the spectrum, more people are choosing not to eat meat at all or only responsibly sourced.

Where do you fall on this spectrum and how would you justify it to a teenage boy (who both needs and enjoys the protein, but sees how we’re overconsuming the world’s resources)? Would you have released the walleye?

21 thoughts on “Ice cold walleye (before and after)

  1. It seems for the most part, Kris, we unquestioningly accept our cultural norms, along with our exceptionalism as a species. Back in the seventies in the West End of London I used to eat at a healthfood restaurant, the ironically named Cranks, because that’s just what vegetarians were considered at the time. In the 50 years since, Vegetarianism has become accepted as a norm within metropolitan areas here in England, and now Veganism is on a similar trajectory, it would appear. There’s a hypocrisy in those who assert their environmentally-aware credentials, whilst continuing to eat meat. If one looks into our species’ evolution, one finds that for millions of years our forebears were Vegans.

    The first primate ever known – Purgatorius – was a Vegan. For tens of millions of years, Purgatorius’ descendants ate only plant-based diets. Those descendants – small monkeys to great apes – survived on tropical fruits until, when around 15 million years ago, they diversified, adding seeds and nuts to their consumption, but still were Vegan. Then, 6 million years ago, Sahelanthropus Tchadensis arrived on the primate scene with a lineage split, but still remained true to a Vegan diet. Scrolling forward further in time to just 3 or 4 million years ago, and Australopithecus arrives, but as far we know, that speciation still by and large did not divert from Veganism; until around 2.5 million years ago when the new normalisation process began, and from which we now stand in our hypernormalised state of Carnivorism. As rainfall became less abundant, that resulted in the leaves, fruits and flowers that our ancestors survived on becoming similarly so. The Australopiths stuck with the Veganism and as a consequence died out, and the proto-human Hominim specie turned to meat eating. We’re now in a phase of evolution when we can begin to reverse that previous normalisation, and in fact need to in order to rescue the planet’s survivability for our species and future speciation of it. I may be more optimistic than most that this may happen, though have witnessed a huge uptake in Vegetarianism in the past 50 years over here, and a similar rate of uptake – though not by degree of numbers – in Veganism over the past 5 years. I wouldn’t know the figures for the U.S. as against those of Europe, so it may be a very different picture over there.

    Have you seen the documentary, Food Inc, Kris?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The data I could find shows comparable percentages for the US and UK for vegetarianism, but I find that hard to believe. Despite broader awareness through food industry documentaries like Food Inc and Supersize Me, I don’t think most Americans are willing to change eating habits, which have become about cheap, easy, fast. The better comparison might be what do the next 20 years look like? I see some evidence in the form of farmers market (and grocery store options that mimic them), but it’s still relatively uncommon that one has to put effort into, it’s not “easy”. Cracking the code to influence behavior change on this topic (in the US at least) might come down to one idea getting traction: plant-based fast food options that are economical. The Sweetgreen story is one that offers hope.

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      1. Absolutely Kris, that’s the idea that needs to gain traction, and fast. If we survive the next two or three centuries it’ll largely be down to that, and we’ll look back at Carnivorism as having been a primitive thing. Vegetarianism and Veganism are far too crucial for our species’ survival to be sardonically written off as mere virtue signalling by self-conscious and deluded progressives.

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  2. I share the conflict. Although I haven’t been ice fishing in years, I do fish the Vermilion River in northern MN a couple of times a year. While I and my companions release most of the fish we catch, we usually keep enough for one meal. And while it tastes great, I always feel bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I should reveal that the walleye’s swim bladder was expelled as it came up, which Matt tells me means they had to keep it (it’s the thing that regulates it being able to swim at depths, you probably know that 😉). That made me feel slightly less guilty. I’m very grateful he doesn’t hunt.

      Liked by 1 person

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