You know things are bad when Mark Bittman flat out refuses his publisher's request to update his 1994 omnibus Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking on the grounds that overfishing and sustainability issues too frequently shift the labyrinthine rules of buying seafood, and no longer supply any diner with enough specific information that holds up in print. In a recent article, Bittman describes the "logistical and ethical nightmare" that's replaced the once-simple process of buying fresh fish, admitting that even the old standby wallet cards supplied by authorities like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch have limits. When a waiter can't tell you what parcel of the Pacific your cod came from, for example, or if it met its end by trawl or longline, a piece of paper in your pocket isn't likely to help much, either.
Enter the iPhone. Specifically, new programs designed with dinner plate stewardship in mind are now available. The Seafood Watch has just released an
In the greenmarket department, Queens resident Jason Ide has designed and released something called FarmFresh NYC, which integrates seasonal offerings (including meat and fish) with a market finder and grocery list features. Serious Eats offers a mixed review, calling for information from individual farmers and cross-connectivity with recipe information. To that end, Ide tells us that he's in process of obtaining unfussy recipes from chefs in the city who use greenmarket veggies on the regular, and that he'll be integrating more up-to-date information on individual markets as FarmFresh develops, including pointers on cooking demos and day-to-day offerings.