Here are a few things to reflect upon:
Â Â Â Â â¢ I have not heard anyone talking about the manmade "dead zones" in the Gulf caused by a flood of nutrients, such as agricultural fertilizers, which boost algae production. These growths consume huge amounts of oxygen, creating a "marine desert" nearly devoid of sea life. There was much talk about this in the late '90s when it was over 7,000 square milesâthat's probably the size of one of our Gulf states.
Â Â Â Â â¢ What happens when the amount of corn-based biofuels produced in the U.S. goes from 15 billion gallons to 36 billion by 2022, with the amount of pollution in the Mississippi projected to increase by 19 percent at the same time?
Â Â Â Â â¢ People are worried about the contamination of Gulf seafood when the FDA has repeatedly issued import alerts or bans against several species of Asian and South American farmed seafood because of contamination with drugs and food additives. Most were filed against imports from massive fish and shellfish farms in China, Thailand, and Indonesia. The contaminantsâsome of which were listed as carcinogenicâincluded a number of antimicrobial agents, disinfectants, and drugs to combat diseases and parasites in heavily overcrowded fish pens. Now restaurants are talking about using these imports because they fear seafood from the Gulf?
Â Â Â Â â¢ As of this week, there is still plenty of tested, safe seafood from the Gulf. I know there is a chance this may change, but if they are selling it you can trust that it is safe.
I asked Liz Williams, president of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans, what her thoughts were and what she would encourage people to do. She said, "By continuing to visit the affected locations, everyone continues to support these economies. If you decide that they are spoiledâwhich they are notâyou are just adding to the harm."
There is still so much to appreciate, such good food to eat, fun things to do. Visitors can be amateur anthropologists, gathering interviews, photos, and artifacts of their visit. SoFAB will be happy to post these findings. Taken together, they will make a great statement all along the Gulf Coast. The SoFAB's website is
had a great map in the paper recently tracking the oil, showing the areas with the worst of it and those that are barely affected, if at all, which includes most of Mississippi. I just got back from driving four houseguests to the airport and we spent the whole weekend in New Orleans eating and drinking and having a rocking great time. The writer and humorist Roy Blount, Jr. and my good friend the artist Bill Dunlap put on a great show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Saturday night and then we all repaired to the brilliant Donald Link's Calcasieu, his private dining space above two of his other fabulous properties, Cochon and Butcher. We feasted on Early Girl tomatoes with basil and sinfully creamy burrata cheese from the wonderful St. James Cheese Company, one of the many new restaurants and food emporiums that have so enriched the culinary scene in New Orleans post-Katrina. We then moved on to shrimp with chanterelles over grits (the shrimp are still plentiful and Donald had foraged the chanterelles himself), followed by the most meltingly delicious roasted goat I've ever had in my life.