November 29, 2014
Steven Spielberg's favourite sandwich under threat?
For the Herald
Shark lovers try to save Jaws from Trinidad's bite
Conservationists have launched a shark-saving campaign in the Caribbean country of Trinidad & Tobago, trying to stop locals and tourists from eating a popular delicacy(1): deep-fried(2) shark sandwiches.
Many have long considered “bake & shark” sandwiches to be an essential part of a visit to Trinidad’s popular Maracas beach, a white-sand strip lined with shacks(3) serving fried juvenile shark and bread smothered(4) in a variety of toppings such as mango chutney and tamarind sauce.
But the local Papa Bois Conservation group is now pushing for a ban on the catch and trade of the marine predators to help protect a fast-dwindling(5) population.
Group director Marc de Verteuil acknowledged that the sandwiches are something “Trinidadians are very proud of; it is practically a national dish. But at the same time, most people simply don’t understand that sharks are in crisis.”
Researchers with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature say one-quarter of the world’s sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. De Verteuil said overfishing in local waters has gotten so bad that much of the shark meat may now be imported.
Papa Bois says it plans to lobby the government to make the country’s waters a shark sanctuary (6), like the Caribbean nation of the Bahamas did in 2011, and ban the landing of any shark products. It will also go to schools to teach youngsters that the top predators play a huge role in keeping oceans healthy.
But Tracy Whiskey, who works at Patsy’s Bake & Shark, a restaurant started by her mother nearly 40 years ago, said she thinks the call for people to stop eating shark sandwiches is encroaching(7) on local culture.
“It’s unfair because people have been eating this and loving it for a long time,” she said by telephone from the restaurant. “Bake & shark is one of the main meals here.”
A delicacy is a special and desirable food item, often one that has an unusual flavour or is rare (difficult to find).
When you deep-fry food, you submerge it completely in hot oil. If done correctly (lots of fresh, hot-enough oil), deep-frying does not make food greasy and is actually healthier than shallow frying (frying in a pan with a small amount of oil).
A shack is a small, often primitive building (usually a hut or cabin) typically made of wood of metal.
To smother (4)
Here, to smother means to cover something (not necessarily food) with too much of something (in this case a sauce). A less innocent meaning is to kill by suffocating (the classic gangster-putting-a-pillow-in-a-guy’s-face scenario).
To dwindle (5)
When something dwindles, it becomes gradually smaller or less in quantity.
Sanctuary is a safe place where people or animals are safe from persecution or attack. Classic collocations are to take/offer sanctuary. Also, a sanctuary is a holy building or place of religious significance.
To encroach (7)
When something encroaches on your time / space / etc., it begins to use more and more of it.
Things & names
OK, so you probably know that “bake & shark” reads “bake and shark,” but did you know that the symbol in the middle is called an ampersand? The term is a corruption of the phrase “and (&) per se and" — in the 17th century the symbol was included as the final letter in the school alphabet, so kids read “x, y, z and per se and” (per se is a Latin phrase that was used back then to identify symbols that represented words), and through repetition shortened it to “ampersand.”
I imagine that comma ( , ), full stop / period ( . ) and semicolon ( ; ) are no news to you, but do you know the names of the symbols that we use in typing? Here are some favourites: brackets ( [ ], ( ) ), colon ( : ), dash ( – ), ellipsis ( … ), quotation marks ( “ ” ), semicolon ( ; ), slash ( / ), at sign ( @ ), backslash ( \ ), pound / hash ( # ) and underscore ( _ ).
Adapted from a story by David McFadden for AP