I saw someone kill a turtle this morning. At Tsukiji Market, for breakfast again. This market is of the least romantic places I've ever seen. It's amazing to see and an experience that is hard to forget but it is not at all a nice or comfortable place. Which to me has been a good reminder of exactly what the price of my food is. There is an amazing amount of garbage and waste, and the amount of fish and shellfish there on a daily basis just reinforces the fact that sustainable food and agriculture really need to have a more prevalent place in the global market place.
Bulldozing the styrofoam packaging outside the Tsukiji Market.
And yet I can't stay away. The amazing breakfast I ate this morning was a direct result of all the garbage, and waste of the market. I may be having a crisis of self. My meal was a bowl of rice topped with a selection of different fish and shell fish and served with pickled vegetables, miso soup and fresh grated wasabi root. Once I started picking at the different fish pulling back the layers to expose the white rice all the flavours of ingredients like uni (sea urchin) and ikura (fish roe) began to mix with the rice and once I was down to the last few bites it was a decadent mix of flavours and textures that was delicious and rewarding. It was amazing. If ever in the Tsukiji Market, it's in building 8, and there was a line up when we got there at 6am.
This is the menu for my favorite breakfast spot in Tokyo thus far. It's big board outside the restaurant and you have to order before you actually go inside and sit down. This is how they manage to keep the massive line that formed outside the restaurant moving.
I digress. The crisis that came out of my fish market experience can be seen very clearly when you juxtapose these two following images.
It is the transformation of an ingredient like tuna, that to me is so startling, really highlights my own hypocrisy. Other than admit that hypocrisy I'm not sure what else I am going to do with it. There is no vegetarianism in my future, although I did have an amazing Buddhist lunch that really opened my eyes to the potential of the soy bean.
Or could my recent predicament have stemmed out of my childhood pets? I kept tortoises as a child, and could the sight of this turtle (that I saw die this morning) have brought back memories of those childhood pets. Maybe I am experiencing a blurring of the line between animal and pet, and cherished childhood playmate and dinner.
Either scenario really shows the complicated relationships that people can have with their food. Or at least shows the complicated relationship I have with my food. Maybe I should have gone to Pastry School.