Foodie books [General]

2009 Aug 30
Chapters has a lot of good books in the "discount bin" these days. Here is a really enjoyable one about globalization and the sushi economy.

The Japanese were sending a lot of planes over to Canada filled with electronics that were flying back empty, so they hired someone to look for things to ship back. One day he got a telegram from his boss in Japan, asking if Canada had any tuna.

The young guy did some research and found they were so plentiful in PEI that you could stand on the shore and watch their fins break the surface as they swam by hunting schools of fish. He telegramed back to Japan that they were plentiful and sometimes caught by trophy fishermen, adding "after they have pictures taken with the catch, a bulldozer digs a hole and the fish is buried . . ."

His Japanese boss eventually came to Canada to see for himself. He wanted to have tuna fast frozen and flown back to Japan, but the local fisherman all looked at him with puzzled expressions, "because who would want to eat such a thing?"

Finally he found one fisherman who listened to him, and the rest is history. The Canadian Bluefins (later called Boston Bluefins) sold for $40 a pound at auction in Japan, or $3500 per fish !

2009 Aug 30

"Chef Abroad" (with chef Michael Smith) on the Food Channel did a show on this. Showed the full process from fisherman in PEI getting the Tuna, the business men buying it for export at the docks, and the bidding process in Japan to the final outcome of the sushi in the end. It was their first episode, listed at

Worth catching a rerun if you're interested. I recall it being in the 10's of thousands for a fish at the auction in Japan though.

2009 Aug 30
Probably prices have gone up, now that sushi is a worldwide phenomenon . . . and so pricey! I bet you don't see the tuna swimming free near the PEI coast anymore either. Fishermen must chase them all up and down the Atlantic.

But you know what? I missed a zero. Bluefins weight around 900 lbs and they sell for $40 a pound, so that fish went for $35,000.

Actually I've never gone to a really upscale sushi place . . . too broke to eat toro I guess. :-(