food[ident]ity crisis – a celebration of pescetarism & garlic prawns

Since chatting with a class mate a couple of weeks ago about food and all the -ians that come with it, I’ve been trying to put together a post in my head, but I’m finding it incredibly difficult to get my creative juices flowing. I do sincerely hope I say everything the way I intend it to mean – but do pitch in with your thoughts, too.

 

So it all started when I accidentally shared a link to a seafood restaurant promoting a discount. Really, that accident became the pivot point at which I realised I’m having one of those identity crises where I can’t put to definition some aspects of who I am. You know what I’m talking about – everybody has those moments when they don’t know what religion they are, don’t know what their family or work role is, don’t know what xyz aspect of them is – and they suddenly feel a sense of “my entire life’s a mess”.

 

Now it wasn’t that dramatic for me, I promise, but I realised I probably seemed hypocritical when I linked them to my blog, after telling them I’m pescetarian. Like whatever that is ;) A pescetarian is a person who only eats seafood and otherwise eats what a vegetarian would. And to about a 70% extent, I am exactly that. Note I still enjoy my eggs, milk and butter, so I’m not vegan in any way.

 

Now what ever happened to that last 30%? Well my problem extends beyond that. Because now I have multiple foodie identities…

Identity 1: Vegetarian

You see, all my doctors think I’m a vegetarian. Because it’s easier to tell them that than trying to pronounce that P word. And also because – whilst I eat seafood – I don’t do it that often. And telling them I’m vegetarian quickly helps them understand why I’ve forever been slightly iron deficient… “because you don’t drink blood, of course!” …that’s what one of them told me (yes, they’re a vegetarian).

The lie in it

Now I’m a “vegetarian” largely because I don’t like the texture of red meat – most of which was lamb during my childhood. So it’s rare that I ever am in the mood to eat red meat, or crave it. It wasn’t until very, very recently that I learnt the “b” word in meats, and all the different steaks, stews and barbecues that you could make with it. And being outright honest, yeah, beef tastes a lot better than lamb. But I still only consume red meats when they’re put on my plate, or when I’m somehow in the mood for them. Which again isn’t often.

Whilst texture and taste is my biggest reason for not enjoying meat – the other would be preparation. I mean right from birth to supermarket. After watching a documentary, Food Inc., I was quite shocked to learn the manner which animals are treated. My uncle worked at abattoirs here in Australia, too, and I learned of the process that involved electric shocks and other unmentionable things. So all of this makes me feel quite uncomfortable – but I don’t actively fight against it, or persue the matter much – just give me my freerange chicken meat and I’ll be a happy supporter that way. Perhaps this is just laziness on my part.

The verdict

All in all, I suppose I’m a true vegetarian about 6% of the time. And whilst I don’t eat meat much, I still prepare and cook it for others.

 

Identity 2: “Omnivorian”  (I’ll coin the word to keep the -ian trend going)

My immediate friends and family know me as an omnivorian (i.e. an omnivore). Because I’m an all-eater. Who loves chicken pad thai, mince meat pies, pan-fried salmon, all-veggie fattoush, cookies, cream, toast and crumbs. This is largely due to my cultural upbringing where “whatever mum serves, you eat” regardless of whether you enjoy it or not. It wasn’t until recent times that I started cooking when I started to enjoy meats more – as I’d flavour them to my own liking and cook them my own way.

The truth in it

I guess being an omnivorian is closest to the truth as possible, it’s just that I don’t eat certain foods as much as I do of others. I don’t like to promote myself as an omnivore but I don’t like stating I’m a vegetarian either because of all the baggage attached to being one.

The verdict

I’m probably an omnivore 22% of the time, yet one that flicks aside the meat when no one’s looking if I’m really not enjoying it.

 

Identity 3: “Carnivorian” (see bracketed heading above)

No one’s ever known me to be a carnivore unless when very specific meals are dished up. I become a meat loving muncher when sfeeha  (the proper ones), mince meat pies (the proper ones), stew/soups  (the proper ones) are dished up. Did I mention they all have to be proper? Meaning taste nice. Meaning of the type that fati loves eating…?

The deceit in it

My behaviour change is often only witnessed during colder months when comfort food is a necessity.

The verdict

I probably display my carnivorian characteristics about 2% of the time – they’re a fad that come and go quickly.

 

Identity 4: Pescetarian

“Everyone else” knows me as a pescetarian. I love seafood and all the different things you can make with it! After all, that picture of the lobster from the restaurant that I shared with my class mate is what started all this! I enjoy the array of flavours, textures and cooking methods associated with seafood and I consider it a cuisine of it’s own. It really needs careful preparation and lots of respect to get the most out of it, though. I enjoy making garlic prawns, chermoula prawns, pan-fried salmon, baked basa, grilled (or battered/fried) fish, seafood salad, and so much more.

The catch in it

Really, I’m a happy muncher of seafood and will forever be – I think! It’s one of those things I worry I’ll one day eat a dish of that will turn me off seafood for a long time.

The verdict

Put me in an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet and I’ll eat a plate and say no more, thank you. Because – yes – I’m probably 70% pescetarian, but I don’t overkill… if you know what I mean.

 

I think that wraps up who I am food-wise. So a bit of everything, really, which an “omnivore” would easily cover – but I can’t bring myself to label myself like that… So if you want to give it a name for me, do let me know, or perhaps I should print business cards which explain my eating habits to give to those who bring it up :P

 

But in celebration of 70% me… in celebration of a little seafood… I’ll end today’s post with a recipe I enjoy making because it’s quick, delicious, & easy to whip up for a weekday dinner. :)

 

garlic prawns

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1kg uncooked green prawns, tails intact and deveined (no less than 35 prawns)

1 small-medium brown onion, finely sliced

1/2 medium-large green capsicum, finely sliced (try red capsicum for a tangy alternative)

2-3 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce (optional)

pinch of white pepper, cyenne pepper, dried dill, lemon pepper seasoning

squeeze of lemon, drizzle of oil

 

Method:

If prawns are frozen, thaw and drain. Set aside.

Drizzle oil into a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat.

Once heated through, add onions into pan and sauté for one minute, until beginning to soften.

Add in the capsicum and sauté with the onion on medium heat until capsicum begins to soften.

Add in the prawns and sweet chilli sauce and cook, stirring often, until prawns begin to turn pink at the tail.

Add in the remaining spices and cook for another minute, or until prawns have cooked through (be careful not to overcook the prawns as they will harden. If this happens reduce the heat to low and cook covered for another 10-15 minutes or until prawns soften again).

Serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges.

 

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4 thoughts on “food[ident]ity crisis – a celebration of pescetarism & garlic prawns

  1. I love how you’ve broken down your eating “identity”, but to be truthful Fati, I don’t think we need labels. You know what you love to eat, and that’s all that matters :)
    Btw, I’ve missed your posts! Hope school is going well! :)

  2. If seafood was more accessible here, I would eat a whole lot more seafood than red meat or chicken; however, the cost of seafood here would put me in the poor house. I can get relative inexpensive shrimp at the Asian market and it’s fresh, so I do cook shrimp quite often. It’s great to find another delicious shrimp dish! Thanks! Enjoyed the post!

  3. Yep I think that you eat what you eat when you eat it. Does that make sense? There’s this incredible need to label things in our lives and with food, because we spend so much time eating, preparing food or growing/buying ingredients there is a kinda pressure on us to conform to one or other label.

    Who said we have to live by one defined food preference? We do. Or we don’t. Its up to us.

    My dear, don’t fret about this. Really and truly :)

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