Reading a book last night about good English cuisine (there’s more of it than you think), I was struck by several passages discussing the differences between available foodstuffs in the modern day, and in the Victorian era and before. The very most striking discussed seafood – things like lobster and oysters were so plentiful in the island nation that they were considered food for the poor, and recipes routinely dealt in quantities unbelievable today.

(I’d be willing to bet that the reputation of oysters as aphrodisiacs came about only after they became associated with expense and decadence.)

We’ve become accustomed to viewing those foods as luxuries, not as something so common that people concerned about status wouldn’t touch them. Even worse, seafoods that in my living memory were seen as standard are becoming luxurious, and foods like aquacultured tilapia are replacing traditional fish meats.

I know a person who insists that the ecological consequences of our mindless behavior have been or can trivially be rectified by further intervention and development of our technology. So, tell me: how has our technology brought back the grossly depleted oyster beds of the English seacoast?


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