What we talk about when we eat #1

Crab souffleCrab soufflé with cous cous, garden, June

‘We found this place where the fishermen bring their boats back in. If they’re bringing scallops in for commercial selling to shops and supermarkets, they have to be a certain size, so they throw all the ones that are too big or too small back into the sea. You don’t have to dive very deep to find a treasure trove of them…’

‘How many scallops did you get?’

‘More than we needed. Got a few crabs too. But we had our arms full, and kept going back.’

‘Scallops for life then?’

‘No, I only take what I need. The rest can wait there, and get bigger, quite frankly and I then know where to go when I run out.’

‘Are you scared someone might find your spot?’

‘That’s the danger for anyone fishing in that way. But there’s plenty of fish in the sea…’

‘Don’t you mean scallops?’

‘There’s plenty of scallops in the sea…’

‘And not that many fish. Single men must be so worried.’

‘About what?’

‘That the seas have been over-fished meaning there no longer is plenty of fish in the sea. They might see that as a metaphor for their single life.’

‘Well, there’s plenty of ants under the rocks.’


‘I’ll tell you a funny thing. We were driving back from the coast with two ice boxes full of scallops and we were starving. So we stopped for some food. All the cash machines were out of order so I went into the fish and chip shop and tried to barter some fish and chips with fresh scallops. You know what they told me? The woman at the counter looked at the scallops and said “What are they?” “Scallops” I told her. “Never heard of them…” How can you run a fish and chip shop and not know what scallops are?’

‘Were they part of a chain? All they know is batter and deep-fat fryers though.’

‘No, they weren’t. They should know what scallops are. What’s in the sea is their business and they’re telling me they don’t know what they are.’

‘I know, weird… it’s not like they were opposed to bartering, they were opposed to scallops.’


‘Do you think that’s the way the world’s going? A barter-culture. Those with skills can barter for the things they want with the things they can provide.’

‘Isn’t that communism?’

‘Doesn’t sound like such a bad thing when you put it like that…’

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