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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Feeling Crabby About The Season?

Uploaded: Nov 13, 2015

Feeling crabby about the season, or should we say the non-season? On November 6, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) made an emergency ruling to delay indefinitely the commercial crab season due to high levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin, found in crabs along the Central and Northern California coast. It’s unfortunate for eaters, and especially for fisherman who are already suffering from a poor fishing season.

The crabs aren't too excited about it either.

In response, the inaugural Half Moon Bay Crab Fest, planned for January 30-31, 2016, has shifted its focus for 2016 to be reborn as SOS Seafood Fest: Sustaining Our Seas, to be held Saturday, January 30, 2016. It will include a symposium on ocean warming and sustainability, the seafood chain, and the role of the restaurant industry and food-serving community in helping to shape the future of local seafood.

The event is in Princeton-By-The-Sea, north of Half Moon Bay. Food trucks, local wines, small batch craft beers and unique SOS special cocktails will be on hand. It's music, ocean-inspired arts and crafts, booths by local surf and watersports businesses, plus ocean advocacy groups with information on marine life, fisheries and sustainability. Kids flip out at Fintastic Funzone. I teach Cook While Boogie Boarding on the side beach.

Wait... what...?

Swimmingly fun I d say!

So let's rally for the sea and learn more about her, and our local harbor.

Mark your calendars now.

SOS Seafood Fest: Sustaining Our Seas
Saturday, January 30, 2016
10 am to 5 pm

This event benefits Mavericks Coastside Foundation, the Cabrillo Education Foundation (CEF) and local organizations working to preserve the coast and its marine life.

Sponsors include: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Mavericks Brewing Company, Miramar Events, Google, Bon Appetit Catering, Edible Silicon Valley Magazine, Oceano Hotel & Spa, Half Moon Bay Distillery, Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, and San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.

-Jacques Yves Cousteau

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by John Roberts, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:10 pm

I will try to be there, but let's hope the crab season is open by then!

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Nov 17, 2015 at 2:22 am

Crabs are sentient creatures who can feel pain, joy, fear, and most importantly they can suffer. Crabs are boiled alive to become meal for humans. They scream in boiling water before they die. Is the suffering of a sentient creature justifiable to satisfy human taste buds? The answer should be no for any human who has evolved from cave men mentality to a higher level of compassion and intelligence to know that no suffering is justifiable. If humans continue eating marine animals at the rate that they do, there will be no marine life left in the oceans by 2048 eliminating the capacity of the oceans to clean the atmosphere. We are destroying the only planet we have to live to satisfy our taste buds and to fill our filthy stomachs with the flesh of sentient creatures.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Nov 17, 2015 at 6:35 am

Food Party! readers are smart! Thank you Sarah and John

Posted by I eat animals. Lots of them., a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Nov 17, 2015 at 9:52 am

OK someone made the "You people are terrible" post, complete with reference to filling our our "filthy stomachs"(hahaha, good grief).

The soap box is available now to anyone who thinks they know better than everyone else.

Posted by Sean, a resident of Gemello,
on Nov 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Sarah can you provide a source that says that all marine life will be gone in 33 years? That seems absurd, and also you forgot to add that crab taste delicious with butter. Have you seen the Simpsons episode where homer had a pet lobster? He gave it a warm bath one day and accidentally killed it, then he cried (while eating it and dipping it in butter) . Get over yourself lady. Your not that important

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Nov 18, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Everyone has their right to speak up with differing opinions at a party - makes for good conversation. Insults don't fit in well though. Debate, not disrespect - The Food Party! way.

Signed, The Management

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 12:23 am

To Sean, yes if we continue eating fish and other marine life at the rate that we do, oceans will be empty within our lifetime
Web Link

Crustaceans like crabs clean the Carbon Monoxide in the oceans. Increasing level of Carbon Monoxide (CO) in the atmosphere is raising Earth's temperature aka Global Warming. The Warmer the Earth's temperature, the warmer the Oceans get, and this endangers crustaceans' capacity to breathe and to clean CO from the Oceans.

One of the major contributors to global warming is cattle farming (51%according to United Nations. UN recently called for reduction of meat consumption which is unsustainable) . Cows produce a lot of methane which is worse than Carbon Monoxide. 80% of the destruction of the rain forest is for opening land to raise cattle to respond to increasing demand for meat in countries like China.(There is a documentary 'Cowspiracy' that documents the impact of meat and dairy industries on global warming).

You have told me "you're not that important". I see myself and my taste buds unimportant this is why I give a lot of value to all life forms and appreciate the important job crabs do to clean our air. I hope You and humans who live on this planet do the same, appreciate the extraordinary connection between crabs, other marine and land animals and the echo system and stop destroying crabs for the sake of taste buds. Why to kill land and marine animals and ultimately destroy the only planet we have to live when we can get all the nutrition we need from vegetables, fruits and seeds?

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 6:37 am

A well thought out response. Differing, not dis-ing. There's also a great book that documents the impact of meat and dairy industries on global warming, both the good and the bad. Cool Cuisine - Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming. :)

Posted by Sanctimony, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 9:13 am

Some people have lots of advice for OTHER people and how OTHER people needs to change their ways. I prefer to quietly lead by example and not TELL other people what they should or should not do. It works better and I find I'm invited to more parties when I act that way.

Posted by Robert D., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

I am in favor of the protection of marine life, but the claim is from an article written in 2010 and has some useful facts, but the facts quoted are not tied to the conclusion. In other words, a study would need to be done that would have verified data and updates to said data validating the facts and supporting the conclusion.
In the interim, I do eat fish and I do eat crab and I do eat both based on reports and studies from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here are the facts: Web Link

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Robert D.:

Excellent link. From there regarding crab: Web Link

Posted by Sarah, a resident of Atherton: other,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Robert D., I provided the link to 2010 article because it is very easy to read. If you google 'marine life, oceans, global warming, acidification of oceans, crustaceans' you can see links to more scientific articles. Unfortunately we are fishing the oceans Into extinction.Web Link

To Sanctimony who has posted about not to tell others what to do. Most people do what they do because they are not informed. My only goal is to spread the information. Marine animals just like a dog or a cat or a human like ourselves are sentient. They can suffer. Scientists around the world have demonstrated that fish not only feel pain but are aware of it and capable of suffering. Fish are even able to feel pleasure in ways similar to dogs, cats, and other animals. Vox.com detailed a multitude of fish abilities, including their abilities to "learn from each other, recognize other fish they've spent time with previously, know their place within fish social hierarchies, and remember complex spatial maps of their surroundings."
Web Link

Fish Farming treats these sentient creatures like machines. In 2010, Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation inside Catfish Corner, a fish slaughter facility where fish are treated horribly..

You can watch the investigation here.http://fish.mercyforanimals.org

You have to ask yourself if your existence and eating should be a contributor to the immense cruelty and suffering of sentient creatures ?

If suffering is not enough, there are health reasons not to eat marine animals or any other farmed animal. Fish Is Loaded With Salmonella, Mercury, and Other Contaminants. Some seafood imports are contaminated with salmonella and other microbes as a result of feeding fish a diet of feces.Seafood imports from China which constitute around 27 percent of the seafood consumed by Americans, are frequently contaminated according to the FDA..

Contrary to what the food industry wants us to believe, fish is NOT a health food. Touted for its omega-3 fats, fish is widely considered the “healthy” meat. But seafood is loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, and is completely devoid of fiber.

You don’t need to eat fish to obtain omega-3 fats. Instead, you can get them where the fish do—from plants and seeds.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Nice discussion. Think of it as prep for Thanksgiving dinner with the family!

Posted by shazia, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Sarah, I read your other post on another blog. Thanks for spreading the information. Most people don't know that animals including marine animals such as crabs are sentient. Even worse, most people do not want to know how the animal on their plate suffered and if you tell them they get offensive or they make fun of you. I became vegan overnight when I watched the documentary Earthlings purely because I did not want to be a participant in the suffering of animals. I have never been healthier and happier in my life since becoming vegan. My diabetes is gone, and I stopped taking pills to control my cholesterol and high blood pressure.

I witnessed the preparation of crabs for diners over at the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco. They take them out of a tank alive and they throw them in boiling water alive. Crabs scream with pain before they die. I asked the workers how they felt about the screaming of crabs and both of them said they hated what they were doing and they never ate crabs themselves. May be the secret is to make it mandatory for everyone to visit a slaughterhouse and witness the suffering of cows, pigs, chickens , or go to the kitchen of a seafood restaurant and witness the suffering of crabs.

Posted by Ron, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Shazia and Sarah, thanks for ruining my Thanksgiving dinner.

Posted by Robert D., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Robert D. is a registered user.

@shazia "Even worse, most people do not want to know how the animal on their plate suffered and if you tell them they get offensive or they make fun of you." What data do you have to support this - other than your statement? I would never make fun of anyone and I encourage discussion, so I am not sure what data you have to support that statement. Please be considerate that just because someone may have a different view point does not mean that we are idiots or dismiss your statement; rather we like facts and data to support it

Posted by Catch Your Own, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I cook my own crabs. I prefer gutting them on a wedge prior to boiling them.
Never heard a scream, except screams of "YUM" from my guests.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Photo Contest just announced:

Half Moon Bay’s inaugural SOS Seafood Festival in collaboration with Bradley Wittke, owner of Pacifica Gallery and official photographer for Miramar Events, is launching the SOS (Sustaining Our Seas) Photo Contest.

There are two categories: Conservation in Action (what you view as protecting the environment, helping the eco system) and Coastal Beauty (anything that makes living, eating and playing by the coast special to you).

Entries are due by December 31, 2015 and must be submitted by email to BradleyWittke@gmail.com.

The winner in each category will receive a $100 gift certificate from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, receive their image printed on an 8 x 12, print on metal courtesy of Bradley Wittke Photography (www.PacificaGallery.com) and see their photos prominently featured on the SOS Seafood Fest website.

“There are so many talented photographers out there, professional and amateur, and so many of them are inspired by our Coastside beauty and environment,” said Wittke a highly-acclaimed photographer himself. “We hope many will join us and submit images for the contest.”

Contest details and submission requirements are available on-line at www.sosseafest.org

Posted by shazia, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Robert D ."...regarding your comment "just because someone may have a different view point does not mean that we are idiots". I apologize if what I wrote made you feel like I called names like 'idiot'..

I wrote based on my own experience since becoming vegan and listening to other people's experiences about living vegan. There are numerous books that touches the aspects of living vegan such as "Why we love dogs, wear cows, eat pigs", "Eating Animals", The Animal Farm" and documentaries "Speciesm" and "Unity" come to my mind.

Keep in mind being vegan is not just a diet. Vegans keep all types of cruelty out of their lives and consider animals as beings who have a right to live on our planet without being killed by us --humans. It can become very painful for a vegan to live in a society that cherishes the eating, wearing and exploitation of animals whether for hunting, entertainment or vivisection.

Thanks to social media and spreading of information and videos made by Animal organizations that show slaughterhouses and Farms on Youtube, Facebook and the like, number of vegans/vegetarians among millennials increased during the last 4-5 years. 12% of millennials are vegans or vegetarians and the numbers are growing. However the food industry is fighting back trying to pass Ag-Gag laws to make videotaping of farms and slaughterhouses illegal.

Posted by Catch Your Own, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I put some special seasonings in the butter too...very subtle, but delicious.
Mmmm :)
Dang, hurry up toxin, FLUSH!

Posted by carol, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm

I am impressed by the dynamic interactions between the followers of Laura and her Food Party!
And I am impressed with Laura's skill in managing the flow in such a supportive and neutral way...
I appreciate the values tension~ especially the kinder expressions!
I've never heard a crab scream, but i'm pretty sure if I ever do, I'll stop eating them...

You rock Laura!

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Crabs are "sentient?" Riiiight. They "scream" due to the steam leaving their bodies when they're boiled. Not that I've ever heard ANY of the crabs I've boiled "scream." Sentient crabs? Vegans are just another religion. There is a food chain. There are those like Hawks, Eagles, Sharks, Humans, Etc. that are at the top of that chain. Do you think Hawks, Eagles, Sharks, etc give one damn as to whether the creatures they eat are "sentient?" No they don't. They are feeding themselves, which is what we are doing.

By the way, do you wear leather shoes or belts?

Posted by Vinod, a resident of another community,
on Nov 19, 2015 at 9:15 pm

I am not the type of person who posts comments but I am pleasantly surprised by interesting comments left by Almanac readers. Here it goes. I could not resist my urge to participate in the discussion.

Do lobsters, crabs, squids, prawns feel pain? Are they sentient? Our understanding of the invertebrates changed by recent research. They are sentient and they do feel pain.
Web Link

And the age old argument...animals eat each other to feed themselves, why should we not eat them? We are on top of the food chain.

It’s true that some animals eat other animals, but many animals do not. Animals who consume flesh do so in order to survive. Most importantly they do not have the luxury of reflecting on the ethics of their behaviors as we do.

And some other animals also sometimes kill members of their own species. Does this mean humans would be justified to eat each other?

Is it really appropriate to set our moral compass by the behavior of flesh-eating animals in the wild?

Human evolution is moral development. Moral development necessarily entails becoming more morally consistent by aligning our values and practices. There used to be a time slavery was morally acceptable practice. But we evolved morally and rejected slavery. If Inflicting cruelty on others is not morally acceptable, then how moral is it to eat animals who end up in our fridge after going through unimaginable suffering and cruelty inflicted on them by our species.

Posted by Andreas, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

The healthiest community is in Southern Cal. They don't eat meat, fish, dairy because they treat their body like a 'temple'. Good for them but I would rather live a happy short life than live a long boring life. Thanksgiving without the turkey and crab is boring but I promise this thanksgiving I will shed a tear or two for hurting the feelings of turkeys and crabs to qualify as an evolved human being.

Web Link

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

Interesting discussion everyone - with class and respect for the most part. That's a first sign that we are "evolved" beings, no? It is time to put up a new blog, but this one still has legs (claws?). Until then, and in prep for the next blog - I am wondering if any of you are Syrian, or know someone who is. The Food Party! is searching for a delicious Syrian recipe, a dish with a story if you will. Please message me if you have one, or know of a good Syrian cook!

Posted by An-ti-ci-pay-yay-shun, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 11:34 am

Just think how EPIC that first bite of succulent crab is going to taste once season opens. The extra wait will be well worth it indeed.
O-pen, O-pen, O-pen :)

Posted by Ron, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I'll be honest. The discussion that ensued in this blog made me realize how detached I am from the animal whose life was taken to feed me.

Posted by Interesting reads, a resident of another community,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 1:32 pm

I think, as one who catches his own, I can feel that connection. I'm not a hunter, but they always speak of a more reverent connection with their food due to their direct taking of the animal. For sure, I feel more reverence towards the salmon, crab and other fish I catch and eat myself than I do store bought meat, almost as I could imagine the Native American's reverence when they would take an animal. I'd love to raise my own beef cow, but I don't think I'm zoned for that ;)

I may have to give hunting a try. I've had some delicious wild pig and venison, which I imagine would be more healthy than mass produced beef or pork.

Posted by Fear not crabovores, a resident of Cuernavaca,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Looks like it's just a matter of time:
Web Link

Posted by Ron, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm

I would not be able to kill an animal. There is plenty to eat without having to kill an animal. I'd rather eat broccoli --which I hate-- instead of killing an animal even a crab.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Ron - you are a self described broccoli-hater? Oh no - we need to talk. Until then - thanks for the semi really good news Fear not Crabavores

Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Nov 20, 2015 at 7:53 pm

I absolutely LOVE broccoli!

Posted by D. Lish, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Nov 21, 2015 at 5:55 am

There is a greater appreciation for the food if you harvest it yourself. That includes vegetables as well as animals. Great news about the crabbys!

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