Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 121: Defining Diet – The Not-So-Temporary Pescetarian

Wild! Steelhead Sashimi

When I explain my killing spree, most folks are intrigued, but some are grossed out. Almost everyone wants to know what I eat at home and how I dine out and keep up a busy travel schedule. Common questions range from: "Oh, My God, are you  like collecting roadkill?" to "Isn't it hard to get enough protien?" I don't eat roadkill, and it wouldn't be so hard to get my protien if I was a little better at what I do. But I'm improving. While there remains a significant lag in my killing skillsets, I eat plenty tofu, legumes, shellfish, and freshwater fish.

I am one-third of the way through my killing spree year, and I haven't killed a mammal yet. The more I contemplate eating animals (and er –killing and gutting), the more I like  plants, and the more I like the idea of sustaining on Hood Canal protein sources of clams, oysters, mussels, crab, squid, shrimp, and fish. Eventually I will shoot an animal to eat, but I’m not looking forward to it and am starting to question the necessity.

Sometimes people ask me if I am getting tired of eating seafood. And I’m not. The canal offers such versatility. It’s hard to get bored. It is true that eating steamed clams every night can get old, but it’s in the same way that choking down strips of smoky bacon gets old. It takes a lot of time to tire of bacon or shellfish, especially when infused with a little kitchen creativity.

Availability and timing of the tides are probably the biggest challenge to living a wild, pescetarian life. Pescetarianism is a term recently added to my limited vocabulary. The term is NOT included in the 2,662 pages of my unabridged copy of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, copyright 2002. And the word is not spell-checkable with my current software, but it is findable on Wikipedia.

The etymology and spelling of pesectarianism are debatable and inconsistent. The word is most likely a neologism formed from pesce, the Italian word for “fish,” and our English word for sustaining on a plant-based diet. I’m sure I heard the term a time or two before my killing spree, but never contemplated origin until I inadvertently became one.

I am temporarily living the pescetarian diet, mostly because I have failed to shoot anything fury to eat. So to me, pescetarian really means “lousy hunter.” Hmm. Even so, I’m enjoying this new lifestyle. If I do become adept at the arts of stalking, shooting, and butchering, I still plan to be more of an omnivore-piscivore, my own neologism for a plant and flesh diet relying more on fish than bird or mammals.

When I started this experimental spree back in December, I had no idea what I was getting into or what I would become. The goal was to get closer to my food chain. I’ve done that part well. I also imagined I would be hungry and subsequently grow skinny. But so far, that hasn’t happened. There is a lot to eat out there.

What I failed to imagine was the skill and knowledge repository required to become proficient at wild living. I’ve learned so much, and yet in the depth and breadth of killing, I know nothing. It’s a humbling challenge, one that is as academic as it is emotional and physical.

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