Barton Seaver's in town this week for a string of appearances and readings to promote his cookbook and responsible-eating manifesto, For Cod and Country. Seaver's a classically trained chef (Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park) who specializes in sustainable seafood. Only ten years out of school, he's been named a National Geographic fellow, helped create their Seafood Decision Guide, and hosts a TV series called Cook-Wise. (Lots more background on Seaver's own website.
The Seafood Decision Guide is particularly interesting because it avoids the yes/no duality of most lists of "sustainable" fish. It explains that there are four levels of seafood (plants, small vegetarian species, larger carnivores, and top-level predators). They're not necessarily what you think, either. Dungeness crab is a top-level predator, for example. Oysters, mussels, clams, and bay scallops rank highest on the sustainability scale. Other indicators rank sustainability and Omega-3 content. All the criteria can be queried on an interactive website.
The cookbook, which was published last month, is organized by season and features recipes for dozens of aquatic species, not just the handful we find on restaurant menus. It's by expanding personal horizons, Seaver writes, that we'll save the oceans and save the planet.
For God and Country is being touted as one of the two fish cookbooks you need; the other being Becky Selengut's Good Fish, reviewed last month here on Crosscut.
For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking, Barton Seaver, 304 pages, Sterling Epicure, $30. Reading and book signing: Thursday, June 30th, 7 pm at University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE Seattle.