Hank Shaw is in my kitchen today, talking about a lobster obsession and a love for fisheries. Hank is a lifetime angler, forager, and more recently, hunter. In his book Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast (Rodale Books, May 2011), he explores the role of humans as food gatherers and provides DIY tips.
Why is living organic important to you?
I just feel better the closer I live to the land, and wild plants and animals—which by definition are organic—are as close as you can get to my concept of an ideal diet.
What was your favorite food growing up?
Hard to say, but I have always been particularly fond of lobsters. I once ate nine at one sitting when I was a boy….
What’s your go-to comfort food now?
Pasta and tomato sauce, with lots of grated cheese. I’ve been making tomato sauce in various forms for more than 20 years, and it is always something I can whip up, even after a long day at work.
What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?
My chef’s knife. Sharp knives make all things possible.
What magazine, website, book, album, or product are you most obsessed with right now?
Not really obsessed with anything other than this book tour I am on right now; I expect to be on the road, off and on, until the winter. Organizing all this travel and events has occupied most of my waking hours.
What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
I no longer follow the news very closely, but one story that needs more attention is the issue of bycatch in fisheries. I fear we may see the end of commercial fishing in my lifetime, and the indiscriminate killing of millions of tons of unwanted fish—trapped in nets set for another, more wanted species—will hasten that demise. One reason I wrote about lots of unloved fish in my book was to show that they can be just as good to eat as the more glamorous species. Not only do we need to carefully regulate methods of commercial fishing, some of which can be horribly destructive to the ocean floor, but we also need to be eating our bycatch.
Where do you get your news?
I listen to NPR a lot, and see stories my friends post on Facebook or Twitter.
what I don’t understand is: how can you be sure that the animal you have hunted hasn’t eaten some gm planted foods, after all you don’t know where it’s been! with most of our crops almost certainly containing some form of genetically modified seeds or crops that have been sprayed, we don’t know a thing about them, yet we do know that animals rely on us and our products to feed themselves more and more these days, they can’t tell the difference between organic and gm foods. I don’t think it will be something I will be doing too soon