Book review: For the Love of the Sea, compiled by Jenny Jefferies

29 April 2021 by
Book review: For the Love of the Sea, compiled by Jenny Jefferies

Recent reports of the fishing industry and the seafood caught off the British coastline have usually been framed in the context of arduous Brexit negotiations and disputes over quotas, a backdrop that even a large haul of freshly harvested oysters would struggle to romanticise.

The antidote is For the Love of the Sea, a book that shines a light on passionate fishermen and women, fishmongers, producers, wholesalers and many others who spend their working lives on and around the coastline.

This celebration of the seafood community highlights their stories alongside their favourite recipes. Many sharing their insights are the latest generation of families who have worked in the trade for years, passing down knowledge from parent to child. The stories are of early mornings and battles against the elements, but also pride and delight in securing the most beautiful produce the British coastline has to offer.

Each contributor has a page-long introduction to themselves or their business alongside some fantastic photography. As well as showcasing a love of seafood, these introductions are inspirational and informative tales of how the industry is seeking to protect the environment and stock levels while ensuring fishing remains a viable career. All of this is hugely valuable information for those looking to draw together menus and speak to their diners about sustainable British seafood.

Chefs have long stressed the importance of maintaining a dialogue with their suppliers to hear what is the best of the day's catch and it is their knowledge of the produce that makes this book such a potentially valuable resource.

The recipes are often simple, intended to showcase beautiful produce caught at its prime, but that's not to say it doesn't go beyond the classics. As well as grilled lobster and a smoked mackerel pâté, there is garlicky sea spaghetti tagliatelle with crispy dulse from the team behind England's first seaweed company.

And if that wasn't reason enough to buy the book, all proceeds go to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

For the Love of the Sea, compiled by Jenny Jefferies (Meze Publishing, £22)

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