Standard Pages (they don't change often)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Eat 'em if you have 'em

Reduction in biodiversity is an unfortunate consequence of agriculture, modern or otherwise. As more convenient species are selected for, older "heritage" breeds tend to die out. At least in the Slow Food movement, one way to preserve these breeds is to eat them - ie, create a demand, at least enough to sustain a stewardship of the gene pool.

But sometimes, no such avenue exists.

Fried tawilis
The tawilis is the only freshwater sardine in the world. It is endemic to Lake Taal in the Philippines, a freshwater lake formed from the caldera of an inactive volcano. Aside from the fact that such lakes are geologically short lived, being of such restricted distribution means that this species is due for extinction if anything perturbs this fragile ecosystem. Despite being considered an endangered species, the tawilis continues to be harvested on a commercial scale.

Is it delicious? Yes, unlike other sardines, the tawilis lacks the oily flavor, and is somehow "cleaner" in profile. And it really isn't available elsewhere. For now.

In a sense, having the privilege to eat tawilis is like a summer fling. You just have to enjoy the here and now, knowing the inevitability of the end, savoring each morsel, thankful and sad at the same time.

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