Why it’s no longer a simple matter of seafood, eat food

Lifestyle

Why it’s no longer a simple matter of seafood, eat food

FREE TO READ | If we want seafood to remain on menus we need to be mindful of where it came from and how it was caught

Andrea Burgener

It was February 26 1998. I know because it’s written on the chalkboard menu in the photograph – a menu written by my late dear friend Braam Kruger, widely known as Kitchenboy during his cooking years. It’s titled “29 Ways to Love a Swordfish”. I’m standing next to the board in the photo, because this menu was designed just for me.

While the swordfish part of the title was a bit of poetic licence – swordfish featured just once – the 29 part was actually true. Twenty-nine tiny courses of fish for dinner. A table was set for me in the full-to-bursting kitchen, and I worked my way through the glorious offerings while Kitchenboy cooked like a whirling dervish, Steers burger plus brandy-and-Coke nearby. At almost midnight and at course 27, we both called it a day.

The ridiculously grand gesture of that meal is so dear to me. But the memory of it also makes me cringe. That excess. And with fish, of all things. I ate sashimi, tartare, and carpaccio; fish “biltong”, ceviche, and gravadlax. I ate fish smoked, fish simmered, fish in a wonton, and fish steamed. I ate it in four different baked parcels and in three different pan-fries. I ate it as a sort of friandise with grape and chilli sauce. And some of it I didn’t finish...

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