Flapjacks and Salmon

Wisdom from different corners, from IHOP to BBall

You know those sports platitudes that make us roll our eyes? “We just have to execute…”  “The team that wants it more will win.”

Listening to the pre-game stuff before the Celtics-Lakers finals began, I heard Kobe Bryant say “It’s not enough to want it more, you have to execute.” I think he’s correct. And, I think this applies to more things than sports. I also think it’s a classic case of “both/and” as opposed to “either/or”.

In reading The Burry Man’s post this morning on flapjacks, David Sedaris, and Trent Reznor (check out For Want of a Pancake, here) I was reminded of his motto “Do the Work” and how it applies to many aspects of writing, and to life. If we just do the work, things will happen.

When I was in the throes of my inaugural sustainable seafood blog event, Teach a Man to Fish, I had to remind myself many times to just do the work. When the devil on my shoulder said “no one’s paying you to do this” or “fifteen times trying to load a photo is enough trying” or “will anyone ever read this?” I had to remain focused on execution. I wanted to do it because it matters to me, being able to help people make delicious and responsible choices, for good eating and for responsible stewardship of our planet: this matters.

People stepped up to the plate (forgive my mixed sports metaphors here, but I’m on my way to the Red Sox game shortly…) Chefs like Barton Seaver and Peter Pahk, cooks from all around the globe. And the Seafood Watch program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, too. It’s not enough that I want to spread the word through my blog, I have to execute.

Here I am a few weeks back from the Cooking for Solutions event and trying to stay focused on my follow up writing from that event, from the subsequent New Orleans Food and Wine Experience. Of course, I’ve also been watching as the Celtics remind us they not only want to win, but that they can also execute.

I also have a book proposal in the works and each time I make myself focus on the next baby step to get it out there, I get a little reward. Do the work.

So what about Salmon?

At the Sustainability Institute, one of the takeaway messages I heard was: “Don’t let perfect, get in the way of good.” Salmon is one of the most debated fishes in the sustainability and environmental circles. At the institute people talked about the “big three” Salmon, Shrimp and Tuna and how to meet the demand for them. And again, in my book, it’s not useful to spend energy convincing people to stop eating these because of sustainability issues. Better to help people make better choices about which to buy, and when, where and from whom.

Panelists like Chef Rick Moonen of rmseafood in Las Vegas, author of the great new book (to be reviewed soon) Fish Without a Doubt, spoke of alternatives and how to find and prepare responsible choices. While debate ranges on salmon, misinformation has also seeped into a lot of the debate. While some would have you swear off salmon for good, as Taras Grescoe author of Bottom Feeder, urged in his recent NYTimes op-ed piece.

Grescoe says:

If my hankering for salmon gets the better of me, I suppose I could eat wild salmon from Alaska. The state does not permit salmon farms in its coastal waters, and its cold rivers still teem with healthy salmon runs. But as much as I’d enjoy a fresh chinook fillet from the Copper River, at $2.50 an ounce this summer, I just can’t afford it.

Others believe (as I do) that denial is neither a necessary nor a workable solution to the salmon crisis. Here are a few points to ponder:

  • 90 percent of the US wild salmon catch comes from Alaska and is not affected by the West Coast fisheries closure.
  • By focusing on Chinook (also known as King  Salmon), Grescoe does consumers a disservice.  Alaska Chinook makes up a  fraction of Alaska’s total salmon harvest, typically about 560,000 fish out of  the 10-year average harvest of 173 million fish.  Alaska’s 2008 Chinook  harvest projection is fairly normal at about 600,000 fish but that’s less than  half the typical wild Chinook market supply.
  • Prices for the first Chinooks sold in the  season are traditionally high due to excitement and demand, but they typically  go down as the season gets into full swing.  More importantly, prices for  Chinook are not indicative of prices for other wild Alaska salmon – sockeye, coho,  keta and pink salmon – which are served more often on the dinner  table.

I have been enjoying my Wild Alaskan King salmon purchased at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle recently. I even made my first home-cured lox.

I’ve been learning from people I met in Monterey and am thrilled to tell you I’m about to learn more. Through contacts I made at Monterey, I’ve met more folks from Alaska. And I’m going to Cordova!

I’ll be the invited guest of the Copper River festival folks, joining them for the Copper River Wild event and helping to judge the Taste of Cordova.

Can’t wait to share recipes, tips, information and photos. Stay tuned and enjoy your salmon responsibly. Here’s that link to the Seafood Watch guide.

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A window into what I’m thinking and writing about.

Whether it's Food & Cooking, Sports, Film, Travel or the Business of Writing itself...you can find it all through this page. Use this sidebar and the links below to go directly to whatever strikes your fancy. Jacqueline Church's Facebook profile

Where I’ve been seen, published, cited, syndicated…

  • - Tuesday November 11 @6 PM Povo Blogging Panel. Come to 660 Washington Street in Chinatown at the Archstone Building to see what a panel of bloggers have to say about the state of blogging.
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For Real on the Virtual Gourmet!

Noted food and wine author John Mariani ran my article Salmon and the Sustainability Zeitgest. Click here to read it!

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Mark Your Calendars

August 22 - Courtney Hunt's acclaimed film Frozen River at the Coolidge Corner. See Diversions for more.

Caught my eye…

  • The Audubon Insectarium opens in New Orleans. See Getting Down with All that Skitters.
  • Copper River Salmon is so hot, even E!online is commenting on the stars who eat it. Taye Diggs was digging it.
  • Vertical farms? Colbert meets Ethicureans...heaven is for those with humor and ethics, yes? Interesting food for thought here....

On Women and Work

Read my contributions to The Glass Hammer a new blog for executive women.


  1. Tales of the Cocktail may be over but the fun continues. Check the blogs and podcasts for all the news that fit to drink!
  2. The Maori art of facial tatooing is called moko. It is a powerful expression of tribal identity which has only recently enjoyed a resurgence as the colonial Christian prohibitions against it have lessened. Go to the Peabody Essex Museum for this rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of this amazing cultural tradition. The documentary I saw at Sundance years ago on moko, was one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
  3. The Audubon Insectarium is a new and top-notch attraction in New Orleans. We passed by it and wondered why we'd missed it before. Turns out it's just now opening. No time this last trip, but it's on the list for the next time. Check here for info.

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