Thursday, July 12, 2012

If Asian carp are a delicacy, does that mean aldermen have some value too?

It looks like the Asian carp have finally made it within sight of Lake Michigan – a thought that on a certain level has environmentalists quaking in their pants.
What's lower; Asian carp or aldermen?

But these carp are deceased. They have been stripped and cooked.

SO IT WASN’T that the dreaded species of fish that potentially could devastate the ecosystem of the Great Lakes managed to make it past all the barricades put up by man to keep them out.

It is that a Lincoln Park neighborhood restaurant served them up as foodstuffs to be eaten by people who attended the opening day of the Taste of Chicago.

Which means they were consumed by people standing in Grant Park, which is right at the downtown Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan.

So if someone were to take bite of the Asian carp, decide they didn’t care for the taste, and decide to chuck it into the lake rather than a trash can, would that count as an instance of the species making it all the way into the Great Lakes?

I MUST ADMIT to getting a bit of a kick out of the idea, particularly after reading a Chicago Sun-Times report that included comments from an Illinois Department of Natural Resources official about how the only thing wrong with Asian carp as food is a “perception problem.”

The newspaper peddled the idea that the Asian carp could actually be regarded as a delicacy – we’re told that some people refer to the fish as “silver fin” to avoid the negative connotation.

Although it also seems that some people don’t distinguish between the Asian carp and the regular ol’ carp that have been slithering their way through the muck of the Great Lakes and the Chicago River for decades.

Personally, I don’t think that is as much an issue as the fact that the Asian carp only gets written about in the context of some dangerous species that threatens the life of Lake Michigan and its companion lakes.

IT PROBABLY HAS people thinking there’s something poisonous or hazardous about the species itself, and that coming into contact with it can be fatal.

Certainly not something turned into tiny White Castle-like sandwiches smothered in jalapeno chutney – as was done on Wednesday at the Taste of Chicago by people from Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet Shop.

Although that perception, in and of itself, is incorrect.

The problem with Asian carp is that they’re gluttonous. They devour everything in their path – including substances that provide life and nourishment to other species that are native to the Great Lakes.

THINK OF THE Asian carp as the equivalent of the new people in the neighborhood who throw loud parties and intrude on everyone’s solitude, yet never bother to invite you.

Yet they’re also sly enough that if you try calling the cops on them, they become peaceful enough to get the police to back off (just like the carp manage to leap over those electronic barricades that are meant to electrocute them if they get too aggressive in trying to work their way toward the Great Lakes.

Personally, a part of me accepts the fact that they’re going to make it someday. They first got introduced to this country as part of a fish “farm” in Mississippi not far from New Orleans and managed to escape.

Since then, they have worked their way up the Mississippi River and across Illinois to where they are now dangerously near the Great Lakes.

Just as vile, at times
THEY JUST CAN’T be stopped. Take out a few. And some more crop up in their place. Or so it seems.

It sounds almost as futile as federal prosecutors thinking they can completely eradicate crime and corruption from within the ranks of our local government.

Then again, the Asian carp are persistent and unstoppable, and greedily devour everything in sight without regard for how it impacts others.

When you phrase it like that, it makes the Asian carp sound just like a Chicago alderman. No wonder the species is a menace.


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