How I Found My Roots

9 Dec

When the word pescetarian comes up, fish is usually the first thing to come to mind.  The ability to still consume fish and seafood is really the sole difference between being a pescetarian and being a vegetarian.  Since settling in on the pescetarian diet, I have obviously been consuming more seafood than I have in earlier times, and as I do so, I have come to the realization of how prevalent fish and seafood in general are in Asian culture.  I thought about it, and when I think of fish, the first type of food that comes to mind is Asian food.  Looking back at my childhood, I hardly ate any other meat unless it was in a school cafeteria or sandwiched between two pieces of bread.  At dinnertime, fish was usually the prime protein on our plates.  Whether it was steamed whole, broiled, or stir-fried in sweet and sour sauce, fish was one of my dad’s favorite foods to cook for me and my younger sister.  Back when I still lived at home and my family ate all together at the dining table, my mom would always encourage us to eat more fish, telling us that it would make us smarter and help us excel further in school.  She would tell us how much she loved eating fish when she was a young girl in Taiwan and how we were so fortunate to have it so often in such large quantities.  After living on my own, seafood and fish became non-existent in my college-student diet.  It was far too expensive to purchase at restaurants, so I stuck to the cheaper ground meats.  However, since becoming pescetarian, not only has the amount of vegetables I eat gone up, but also the amount of seafood.  I buy frozen seafood and fish in larger packages to save myself a buck here and there, and I cook all the dishes I remember my parents cooking for me, such as shrimp fried rice, steamed fish with scallions, and sweet and sour fish.  As I look at menus for viable dining options, I see that the majority of fish-friendly places and entrees are Asian-inspired.  I never thought much of all the fish I ate when I was younger, so making this connection was just one thing that I was able to teach myself through being pescetarian.  Fish plays a big part in Asian culture, and a whole fish has been seen as almost a symbol of prosperity and abundance.  Chinese culture states that eating fish at the beginning of a new year will help fulfill all your wishes for that entire year.  Now that I eat fish in abundance, I can only hope that the tradition will hold for my own future.  Progressing into pescetarianism has brought me closer to my Asian roots, using food and the beliefs that come with it to bring me back to the cooking that both my parents and I have cherished since we were young.

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