This could possibly be the shifting baselines story of the year. In today’s Business Section of the New York Times is the article, Waiter, There’s Deer in My Sushi. Japanese chefs are considering using smoked deer meat and raw horse as just a couple of odd alternatives to the ever-scarcer tuna supply. Just since last year, the price of frozen imported northern and Pacific bluefin tuna has risen $13 a pound.
“It’s like America running out of steak,” said Tadashi Yamagata, vice chairman of Japan’s national union of sushi chefs. “Sushi without tuna just would not be sushi.”
Japan currently consumes more than three-quarters of the world’s annual catch of bluefin tuna. But as Japan’s economy has stagnated and the price for tuna has risen, the nation is having an identity crisis over the potential fall of their tuna empire. Meanwhile, many sushi chefs seem to be taking the attitude that times change and so must their sushi. Deer meat and raw horse sushi, an extraordinary shifting baseline.