We're consuming a wee bit less seafood
Last year, Americans ate less seafood than the year before, but more of what was eaten was imported, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service study. The nation imports about 84 percent of its seafood. Imports accounted for only 63 percent of U.S. seafood just a decade ago. The average American ate 16.3 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2007, a 1 percent decline from the 2006 consumption figures of 16.5 pounds. The United States continues to be ranked the third largest consumer of fish and shellfish, behind China and Japan. Shrimp remained the top choice for seafood in the United States at 4.1 pounds per person, a slight decline from 2006. Canned seafood, primarily tuna, remained at 3.9 pounds per person. The rest of the seafood is mostly Alaskan pollock, salmon, flounder and cod.
Something for the shopping cart
A good deal, inside and out: All-natural Noble juices of Winter Haven are 100 percent pure and fresh, with flavors that pop. They are packaged in plastic bottles made with the renewable resource of plant-based resin and are well priced. The bold new blood orange is almost as thick as tomato juice; reduced in a saucepan on the stove top, it can become a concentrated yet simple citrus sauce for grilled or sauteed fish.
Other flavors include tangerine cranberry (also new), tangerine clementine, tangerine guava mango and grapefruit. Organics include lemonade, orange tangerine and grapefruit. Thirty-two ounces, $3.29 to $3.99; available at Wal-Mart stores.
Naturally, it's Frito-Lay
Frito-Lay's newest snack spinoff is True North, which makes nut-based salty nibbles without preservatives, artificial flavors or added colors. The all-natural pitch comes with earth-toned packaging, but the flavor is more than greenwashing.
Pistachio Crisps, a wheat cracker made with crushed nuts, had a pleasant pistachio taste and crisp appeal. Pair it with a martini or other assertive cocktail for an easy nibble.
Pecan Almond Peanut Clusters, a more indulgent snack, had a sweet glaze that proved irresistible to several tasters. Peanut Crunches, which taste like honey-roasted-peanut wheat puffs and had an unpleasantly crumbly texture, didn't fare as well. Calories for a 1-ounce serving vary from 140 to 170, and sodium is moderate on all. Bag sizes vary from 4.5 to 7 ounces, and suggested retail is $3.29. At Wal-Mart, Target and CVS.
Sharpen your kitchen skills
Check out this crop of new how-to books to help you fine-tune your kitchen smarts.
• Too few people know how to properly use and care for their knives, arguably the most essential tool in any kitchen. Chad Ward aims to fix that with his exacting and exhaustive An Edge in the Kitchen. Ward covers it all, from buying and using them to maintaining their edge. Casual cooks might find a 230-page book on knife use a bit dense, but those who appreciate the pleasure of a well-cared-for knife will enjoy the depth of coverage.
• If Ward's book isn't enough knife knowledge for you, just hold on until October when Sarah Jay's Knives Cooks Love is released. Written in collaboration with Sur la Table, Jay covers much the same material as Ward, but casual readers will appreciate the smart, clean design and recipes for showing off your newly honed skills.
• Looking for a broader skill set? Check out Williams-Sonoma Tools & Techniques. Edited by kitchen tools guru Chuck Williams, the book covers all the essentials of a well-stocked kitchen and how to use them. The first section does a tool-by-tool summary of what each appliance and gadget is used for. Later sections, all beautifully illustrated with color photos, demonstrate how to use them (complete with recipes).
Compiled from Times staff, wires