(Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? Tell us about it in the comments)
Unfortunately, the Guide doesn’t list any fish in the 100-mile radius surrounding Montreal. In fact, the only thing you can catch easily around our fine metropolis is a dose of something that is better not discussed while on the topic of food. We could always fish for lake trout, but while taking my kids fishing might be fun, there’s no guarantee we’d catch anything, except maybe someone’s eye.
Initially, I wanted to try the 100-mile diet because I saw that a lot of the supermarket fish and seafood products came from ports as far away as China, Thailand, India, and Russia, and the products don’t swim here—they are shipped in ice blocks. Not exactly my idea of fresh.
Anyway, I managed to unearth what appeared to be a tasty-looking cod stew recipe. I realize that even if cod is fished in Quebec, it probably comes from Baie Comeau, well beyond the 100-mile radius. Okay, so I start to bend the rules a little. There has to be cod fished in one of the maritime provinces.
At the fish store, I check the Guide only to find that it recommends West Coast cod to protect East Coast fish stocks.
I ask the fish store employee what kind of cod they have. There’s cod from Newfoundland and black cod from Alaska. I check my recipe for the quantity, and then order a pound and a half of black cod.
The employee tells me that if the recipe calls for cod, I should take the cod from the Rock, as black cod tastes more like Chilean sea bass. I show him the guide, but he disagrees. Apparently, there are some fisheries where cod is still fished. I insist that I want the black cod. He shakes his head in dismay and says, “Okay, but that’s a whole different animal.”
Anyway, the fish store employee was right, even if I used my best maritime accent to try to convince the fish otherwise, it did not taste like cod, and my stew was a fairly pricey culinary disaster.
Both my daughter and husband grimaced after the first bite. My daughter feigned illness and asked to be excused. My husband said he’d had a big lunch, and I chose to eat it just to show my mettle…but it was lumpy, with the consistency of a runny egg, and the taste was way too fishy, but not in a cod kinda way….
Okay, it was vile, and for the rest of the week, my daughter asked whose turn it was to cook dinner.
Although my first attempt at eating locally and supporting sustainable fishing was unsavory, ergo unsuccessful, I did learn something: fish store employees know a hell of a lot more about fish than I do.