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A “Cornish” adventure of taste
Sight Sound Smell Taste Etiquette: Fresh mussels look closed and glistening. Mussels hitting the pan, shaking the pan create a rustling sound…pop! Coastal Smell. The simple taste of life. Finger food; use the empty shells to pick through the juicy flesh.

Sustainability: The used up shells can be washed and replaced to the sea bed to create fodder and solid grounds. Traceability: Ranging from Green lip New Zealand to Lock Fyne Scottish, from Falmouth bay Cornish to Goan Juari, there is a mussel for everyone! My early days of Goan monsoon always bring back good memories of a hunter gatherer life. Only a little bit more than a mile’s distance, as the crow flew; from our infamous hostel, was the massive threshold that separated the majestic Arabian Sea from the feminine Indian peninsula. Heavy storms and lashing waves would deposit basket fulls of drift wood laden with boisterous fruits of the sea. Wild mussels were a firm favorite! Stewed simply with Goan toddy and a lot of fresh herbs, they would definitely dry the rain out of our otherwise soggy cockles.

In Cornwall, matching wild mussels with locally grown tipple is every fisherman’s kettle of fish. Polgoon Peren stewed mussels serves locally sourced artisan ingredients while addressing the principles of “Slow living”. ( http://polgoonvineyard.vpweb.co.uk/Polgoon-Recipes-.html).

Good, clean and fair food respects the journey, rather than the destination. Slow food is a universal movement of Land, Sea and Air: and the lives that are touched by it. No matter what language you say” Mussels”, there is always a nostalgic taste and good food memories attached to it, all over the world. Mussel farming has created avenues to make this delicacy being sourced and enjoyed year round, although it is best eaten in autumn. Mussels are the most commonly affordable and simple seafood of the world. With a typical combination of shells joined at the hip with a connective tissue: ranging in colour from jet black, to blue and varying in size from just under an inch to a few massive ones over two. Not much effort is needed to gather, clean and cook mussels. During high tide they filter feed and grow, and in low tide they conserve their moisture. In order that they do not get swept away, they have developed string like beards, that attaches them to cliff edges and drift wood. Modern day fish farms gather juvenile mussels and culture them in estuaries and rivulets. Generally a string is suspended down into the water with young mussels attached to them. Over the year mussels grow around the strings and are dredged once that reaches the graded edible stage. Care must be taken to not eat mussels collected around human habitations as they are filter feeders and often have affinity for human refuse. Gathering mussels from more secluded areas and exposing them to limited doses of ultra violet rays can help de puriate the flesh. The rule of the thumb is to buy and cook fresh, live mussels that have strong signs of traceability. Once you have selected your live and fresh mussels, (De) beard them by gently rubbing your fingers around them. In some cases a used up toothbrush or nail brush helps. There are different schools of thoughts about storing mussels. Some soak mussels in water; some cover them with a damp cloth. The most natural way, of course is to bag them, and lave them in their natural environment. (However not everyone has a rivulet flowing through tier back garden as in Cornwall) Buy mussels that are traceable and live. Cook and serve them urgently and keep discarding the refuse water from the bottom of the storage containers. Be innovative with the methods of cooking, and have a hot wide bottomed pan to provide instant and ample amount of heat to the mussels. Discard any unopened mussels after cooking, and enjoy the theatre of enjoying fresh, affordable and sustainable seafood.

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