Farmed Fish

by Louise

Farmed fish could bring us cheaper food, but is it ethical?

I have wanted to discuss this topic. We like fish but usually don’t buy salmon or tilapia. We prefer wild caught but will buy farm raised shrimp. We eat fish often enough where we can tell if something doesn’t taste right but we are not experts able to tell if the fish is farm raised or wild caught. We also buy fish from Asian markets which are frozen and shipped over (mainly Asian mackerel and sardines). Are those from waters that are over fished? I don’t know. It’s fishy, all right….discuss.

Advertisements

123 thoughts on “Farmed Fish

  1. You are going to laugh at me, but I think farmed salmon tastes better than the wild caught kind, at least the wild caught that is cheap enough for me to buy. The wild caught that I bought at Trader Joes was mealy and dry. I like that nice fatty unctuousness that you find in the fake farmed stuff

  2. I’ve been thrilled with how inexpensive and tasty I’ve found the farmed shrimp at Giant. And they steam and Old Bay it for you while you shop! On Sunday, I think I paid $7 / lb for 31-40 count.

    Bring on more farming, I say.

  3. Honestly, I think either we need to find better, cleaner ways of farming fish, or end up not being able to eat fish at all. There is no other food that we eat on a regular basis that is hunted or foraged. Everything else is farmed. And fish is too healthy of a food to let it turn into a luxury food only for the uber rich.

  4. Sky –

    “Those conditions — ice made from dirty water, animals near the farms, pigs — are unacceptable,” says Samadpour, whose company, IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group, specializes in testing water for shellfish farming.

    Why are they unacceptable? What does he think shrimp (and crabs and lobsters) in the wild are eating?

  5. One of my kids works for a sustainable seafood consulting firm and has a degree in marine biology.

    Not all farmed fish is the same. For example, Arctic Char can be caught wild in Iceland and Greenland (we had some for dinner from a neighboring stream), but even the restaurants in Iceland use farmed fish. Any you get here is farmed in Iceland under ecologically ideal circumstances in the correct climate. I prefer Pacific salmon, so I get wild caught fresh in season or just buy quick frozen in other seasons (so called fresh Alaska wild salmon off season has been previously frozen). You can get wild caught shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. But in that case you are incurring shipping costs and energy usage (the eco traveler’s dilemma). I am fortunate to live in a fishing area, so we get fresh seafood all year round – the question is mostly whether it is line fished or net fished or exactly where in area from Chesapeake Bay to Newfoundland it was caught. But sustainably caught wild fish is still expensive, and the selection of fresh caught quite limited in winter.

    My cats eat fish sourced from a “human grade” Thai facility. That is about as far as I will go with Asian farmed fish.

  6. do you all remember seeing an article about the fish mcdonalds uses a while back? I refuse to eat fish there

  7. Unfortunately we too prefer farmed salmon over wild caught. I am still on hunt for wild salmon we’d like to eat.

    I also have strong gag reflex to textures like chicken or fish skin, so skinned, farmed, is preferable for me.

  8. We are annoyingly totebaggy about food – wild caught fish (which you can often find at Costco and it’s not bad), pasture raised beef, pork, chicken, etc. I feel lucky that we can eat this way but know that you cannot feed everyone and definitely not everyone in an affordable way with that method of farming. I think I’ve read that the nutritional content of farmed fish is not the same (and for the worse) than wild caught, but again, you can’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

  9. Dell – salmon skin is the best part! We all fight over the skin. But the skin on farmed salmon is tastier.

    My thing is that I abhor dry, mealy fish. I honestly would rather just eat sashimi or sushi in many cases, especially tuna. I don’t even like tuna that has been briefly seared – I scrape off the cooked part and just eat the raw part. I like my salmon very fatty and only partially cooked through. My favorite fish, actually, is bluefish. I love swordfish too, as long as it isn’t overcooked. Oh, and mackerel, yum. Mackerel can actually be cooked through and still be tasty. Is mackerel farmed?

    Cod, tilapia, flounder, etc – those all seem pointless to me. They taste like nothing at all. I do like pollack which is a little stronger, but I haven’t seen it sold in the supermarket in 20 years

  10. “My favorite fish, actually, is bluefish.”

    My old boss took me out on his sport fishing boat once, fishing for rockfish. We seemed to catch two bluefish for every rockfish, and he said we have to throw the bluefish back because they’re not good to eat. I should have put them in a cooler on ice and shipped them up to you!

    “I do like pollack which is a little stronger, but I haven’t seen it sold in the supermarket in 20 years”

    Well, there’s always McDonald’s:

    http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/your_questions/our_food/what-type-of-fish-do-you-use-in-the-filet-o-fish.html

    We use wild-caught Alaskan Pollock for our Filet-O-Fish sandwich in the U.S., which is 100% sourced from sustainable fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Why is sustainable fish so important to us? Because it helps protect our oceans — something that’s important to you.

  11. Mooshi– When we do tilapia (which admittedly isn’t often), the point is that it is very thin and I usually get it very crispy on the outside, so the texture is wonderful. Then there are pan sauces. Kind of like chicken, where some chicken has lots of flavor and is wonderful on its own roasted, and other chicken is rather meh without some seasoning to perk it up.

    I am not a big lover of seafood. The mercury warnings during the pregnancy years were just another reason for me to avoid it. We buy shrimp fairly regularly because it’s something all of the kids love. We buy salmon, sometimes wild and sometimes farmed, about once or twice a month, and other fish is a once in a while thing. I am stymied by the choices involved, and because we don’t eat much fish I have chosen to play ostrich on this one and stick my head in the sand.

  12. My understanding is that it is because of McDonalds that we can’t find pollack in the supermarket any more.

    Wow, people throw away bluefish? In this area, all the people I know who go out on fishing boats prize bluefish. My BIL used to go out on those party boats simply to get bluefish.

  13. Yeah, we threw them all back. And I specifically asked “Why aren’t we just keeping these?” And they were huge, like two or three feet, each of them.

  14. Apparently many people don’t like the taste of bluefish, plus there are advisories on how much locally caught you should eat.

    We don’t eat much fish, and I generally prefer white, bland-tasting like cod for cooking. Mostly I buy frozen fillets at Trader Joe’s, and I seem to remember their fish is “safe”.

  15. Milo, it may well be irrational from a microbiological perspective, but I distinguish between eating a crustacean which ate carrion in the wild, and eating it after it has enjoyed a steady diet of pig poop.

    On an entirely different note, would people be interested if I wrote up a post on home organization tips? I’m trying to streamline our routines in the hope of returning to work (eventually).

  16. I don’t think I’ve had blue fish since I was a kid. My mother loves it and I remember getting some from friends that had gone fishing. I love all fish, shellfish, etc. I actually just ate a filet-o-fish sandwich last week. We were on a road trip and in the middle of no where and we could only find a McDonalds so that seemed safer than the beef. But why oh why would you put cheese on a fish sandwich?

  17. The article on bluefish seems about right. I do eat the darker part, though – that is the tasty part. But put it in a chowder? Never! The best way to have bluefish is broiled with lemon. Actually, that is the best way to have swordfish, salmon, and mackerel too. I don’t hold with lots of fancy sauce on fish, and in particular, I detest sweet glazes on salmon (which is why I never order it in a restaurant)

  18. There is a local restaurant that is a locally known fish specialist. I went there a couple of times and have never gone back because it is the kind of place that serves fish with so much gussying, stacking, and saucing that I couldn’t even tell what kind of fish I was eating.

  19. I have to say I am with Tulip here — we rarely eat seafood. I worried about the mercury when I was pregnant. Now, I don’t worry about it for me, but I do for the kids. I think I am also supposed to worry about the PCBs in salmon for everyone. I think we should be eating more fish – but easier to serve up some turkey franks.

  20. @RMS – I responded to your question in the other thread. The short answer: the article pretty much gave me a panic attack.

  21. Sky– Yes, please. We are always looking to make things simpler or more streamlined and spend less time on the necessary stuff and more time on the stuff we choose.

    Ada– Back to my ostrich theory. Do I want to know about the PCBs in salmon? Sigh.

  22. I like most fish (not eel, too many nerves; not sea cucumber, don’t care for the texture plus I keep picturing them in their natural state). Some better than others. I generally prefer ocean fish to lake/pond fish, although trout is nice. I haven’t really thought too hard about whether it’s farmed, although of course here we get a good supply of nice fresh caught fish.

  23. I haven’t tried bluefish or pollack. It was amusing to see my family try to find something other than salmon, mussels, rockfish on the menus in the Pacific Northwest. Well, when all the restaurants advertise local fish, they’ll end up with the same types of fish. Some of my overseas visiting family were disappointed by the lack of lobster here compared with Boston so we had to make a pilgrimage to Red Lobster for whole lobsters.

  24. “But why oh why would you put cheese on a fish sandwich?”

    You can request cheese on the side.

  25. “My thing is that I abhor dry, mealy fish. I honestly would rather just eat sashimi or sushi in many cases, especially tuna. ”

    A lot of people would rather eat sashimi, especially tuna, regardless of whether they like dry, mealy fish.

  26. “I like that nice fatty unctuousness that you find in the fake farmed stuff”

    I wonder if that has to do with living in pens and not getting much exercise.

  27. Agree with HM.

    I don’t give it a lot of thought. The farmed salmon is $6/lb at Wegmans when I buy the family pack (>2lbs) so I do. I grill it all up and we eat whatever’s left over within the next few days.

    Giving up any remaining Totebag-cred: If it’s safe to eat and tastes good, I’m good. I have enough other things cluttering my gray matter.

  28. I buy tons of the wild salmon at Costco, cut it up and put it in the freezer for easy single servings. I have a cousin in Alaska and they go once a year to the Copper river, tie a rope around one person’s waist, the other to a tree and catch salmon with a net. Apparently each person is allowed 50 lbs a year – I badly would like to visit them and experience and eat that! The downside is that you have to carry it out – there is not convenient car park just by the river. Still ……..

  29. Fred, my family can eat the >2lb family pack of farmed salmon in one sitting. There are never leftovers, but there are usually fights over who gets DH’s salmon skin (he is the only one who doesn’t eat it)

  30. If it’s safe to eat and tastes good, I’m good.

    I would guess that if you weren’t already thinking that way, the experience of feeding three teen boys would have led you there.

  31. I love bluefish. The fact that it is fishy is the whole point. It is also local and inexpensive. I cut out the really dark bits. I sear the fillets on both sides in a cast iron pan, slather with mustard dill sauce and put them in the oven for about 15 min. Sounds like a long time, but I find it works well. I love halibut steaks. Rub with old Bay, grill about 5 min on a side, serve with lemon. I do the same with striped bass. Swordfish I like to kebab marinate and grill a short time. Red snapper I tend to roll in seasoned crumbs and pan fry. I don’t eat cod or scrod or flounder or tilapia. Char I make the same as salmon, usually marinated and pan fried or seared and finished in the oven for no more than 10 min.

  32. I keep the frozen farmed salmon from Costco in the freezer. It makes a quick, easy dinner on hectic nights.

  33. I used to go to out on those party boats on the south shore of Long Island. The only fish they seemed to catch was bluefish and I don’t like it. I eat a lot of fish, and I like to try fish in restaurants all of the time. I just don’t like bluefish. Fish is a staple for me in restaurants, or when I travel because I don’t eat cheese. I almost got kicked out of France by a waiter that was so tired of hearing me ask – is there cheese in this?

  34. The one fish preparation in restaurants that strike me as contrary is to grill fish and then swim it in melted butter. I don’t mind melted butter on the side. Most restaurants go light on sauces but some still love buttered fish.

  35. “I love swordfish too, as long as it isn’t overcooked. Oh, and mackerel, yum. Mackerel can actually be cooked through and still be tasty.”

    All the stuff you’re not supposed to eat when you’re pregnant, due to high mercury content.

    “The best way to have bluefish is broiled with lemon. Actually, that is the best way to have swordfish, salmon, and mackerel too.”

    IMO, if it is fresh enough, the best way to eat mackerel is raw.

    If you’re cooking, you might want to try misoyaki. That’s my family’s favorite way salmon preparation. Mackeral is great salted and broiled, and the smell is part of the appeal.

  36. “On an entirely different note, would people be interested if I wrote up a post on home organization tips?”

    By all means. A real juggle topic.

  37. I think all the benefits of eating salmon (with their omega-3 fatty acids, etc.) outweigh the mercury and PCB concerns especially if you are just eating seafood once a week.

  38. oh no, misoyaki is one of those sweet glazes that I dislike on salmon. I think rich fish needs acidity, not sugar

  39. I do like soy-ginger-lime drizzled on salmon though – just a little and with no sugar/honey/mirin added.

  40. The primary benefit of not liking seafood is that I don’t actually have to do the research and develop an informed opinion on this issue. :-)

  41. Yeah, but you still have to worry about cage free vs regular eggs, grass fed vs grain fed, antibiotics or not, organic vs non organic, locally sourced vs imported…. It makes the head spin.

  42. I don’t eat the skin, so I’m going to ignore PCBs. I basically decided some fish is good. Too much is bad. I’ll stick with once in a while and move on.

  43. not liking seafood

    You don’t like any kind of seafood? Not, even lobster, scallops little necks or oysters? What about shrimp?!? Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.

  44. “but you still have to worry about…”

    Not at all. Safe + affordable + tastes good = WINNER.

    Like I said before: I have too much other stuff using my gray matter to think about all that stuff MM lists.

  45. Rhett, after reading your post, I have shrimp coming out my ears!!!

    I like shrimp well enough, but find it a bit boring (though I like a lot of the dishes you list). Lobster, raw oysters, now those are special.

  46. “Yeah, but you still have to worry about cage free vs regular eggs, grass fed vs grain fed, antibiotics or not, organic vs non organic, locally sourced vs imported”

    No, you really don’t have to.

  47. “What about shrimp?”

    Shrimp are basically the cockroaches of the sea. Since (I am pretty confident) I don’t like cockroaches, and I don’t like fish, why would I like cockroaches that taste like fish?

    Only seafood I eat is tuna in a can, preferably with lots of mayo and either relish or celery and lemon. I can sometimes do a raw or seared tuna preparation, if it has enough other strong flavors to cut the fishy (soy, lime, etc.), but even there there’s only so much I can take.

  48. I can sometimes do a raw or seared tuna preparation, if it has enough other strong flavors to cut the fishy

    It doesn’t taste fishy. I wonder if it’s like cilantro or the person here (is it you?) who detests the “essence of vegetable.” Are you’re just very sensitive to it? Like those people who experience a green bell pepper as being spicy?

  49. We get salmon from Costco, which I now learn used to have too many antibiotics but now comes from Norway and doesn’t have antibiotics. I think Fred’s right–I don’t have time to keep up with all of this.

  50. Shrimp doesn’t taste like shrimp. It tastes, well, like shrimp. It is actually kind of bland and more about a snappy texture. Of course, overcooked shrimp is dreadful. The best shrimp is cold with cocktail sauce.

  51. Many years ago, my brother had a summer job at an aquafarm. Its primary product was prawns, which it grew very large and very tasty. They also grew catfish, primarily as a means of keeping the water clean for the prawns. At the time, they had a small market for the catfish. They were trying to grow the market, but when my brother was working there, they grew more catfish than they were selling. so he brought home some catfish a number of times.

    I remember eating steamed catfish. I don’t remember a strong reaction one way or the other to the taste, so I guess it was OK, but not great.

  52. “I can sometimes do a raw or seared tuna preparation, if it has enough other strong flavors to cut the fishy (soy, lime, etc.), but even there there’s only so much I can take.”

    Please don’t ever order tuna; leave it for those who really like it.

  53. @Rhett — yep, I am also “essence of vegetable” girl. Also can’t tolerate many wines — “mineral” = “volcanic ash”; “firm tannins” = lemon-level-puckering astringency. Basically, I’m a supertaster. I’m like the princess and the freaking pea, I can taste the smallest bit of fishy in the largest pot of whatever. And I crave fat and salt, because those help cut/mellow the overwhelming flavors.

    But cilantro is lovely. :-)

  54. Sky – yes, definitely!

    We also prefer the taste of farmed salmon. Ours comes from the waters off British Columbia (I think).

    I have eaten a lot of fish raw at a crudo restaurant (non-sushi raw fish restaurant, I guess you would call it); things like scallop and butterfish and other yummy fish that I wouldn’t have thought you could eat raw. I could go there once a week but DH doesn’t feel like he has gotten enough to eat, so it is every few months.

  55. “It doesn’t taste fishy.” . . . to you.

    “Shrimp don’t really taste like fish.” . . . . to you.

    And Finn, don’t worry — I only order tuna when DH really wants to share it. :-)

  56. This is reminding me of discussions with my partially-colorblind son over whether a particular shirt is blue or purple — there’s just no way he will ever see what I see, or vice-versa. And yet I keep arguing. :-)

  57. LfB: I think I’m a supertaster, too, and I can’t handle any hint of fishiness either! Even the meatless fake fish creeps me out. I read once about the bycatch from fishing, and that really depressed me. I’m guessing that isn’t a problem with farmed fish.

  58. taste is a weird thing. For example, I can taste this oily grass flavor in cooked spinach that evidently no other human on earth tastes. It is so strong that I can’t abide even the little bit of spinach you find in say eggs florentine or spinach lasagna. I love all other greens, including collards and turnip greens. But spinach, no.

  59. I think DS is a super taster – he thinks things are spicy that boggle my mind. He really prefers bland food – but he loves shrimp (which I think is bland unless it is roasted a la barefoot contessa) He doesn’t like anything carbonated, which I have read is a super taster trait.

  60. “Like those people who experience a green bell pepper as being spicy?”
    Are there people who don’t experience a green bell pepper as spicy? I can’t stand their overwhelmingly spicy taste, yet adore red ones, which are just green ones, ripe. Go figure.

  61. Are there people who don’t experience a green bell pepper as spicy?

    It’s like eating a cucumber or a watermelon… To me.

  62. Green bell peppers aren’t really spicy but they don’t have as much sugar as a ripe red pepper (and those don’t have too much more sugar!) so they have a “sharper” taste.
    Bell peppers are OK, not exciting but OK, when raw. I think they are disgusting when cooked unless they have been roasted and peeled. I will carefully pick every single last bell pepper shard out of anything that containts them, and make a little pile on my plate. My DH does the same with mushrooms. As I said, tastes are weird

  63. Changing the subject a bit– locally, this year’s NMSF were listed in yesterday’s paper. I recognized 3 names on the list as good friends of DS, and several others who I’ve heard him talk about. I also recognized the names of a few kids from other schools’ debate teams, either kids DS has debated against, or that I’ve judged, or both. The son of one of DW’s friends was also on the list.

    I’m guessing SoFL’s and Murphy’s kids are on their local NMSF lists.

  64. “I’m guessing SoFL’s and Murphy’s kids are on their local NMSF lists.”

    I can’t imagine they’d ever show their faces on here again if they weren’t!

    OT – New England lobsters aren’t really farmed yet, are they? Anyway, when I was teaching myself how to cook and living in those parts, I loved bringing home a bunch of live lobsters and steaming them for a group of friends. Now I just have the guy at Giant steam them, and I’ve been perfecting my hot buttered lobster rolls, buttering and toasting the bread under the broiler first.

  65. Yum. Buttered.lobster rolls. Milo invite for dinner quick!

    I love cilantro, shrimp, bell peppers etc. I can’t abide meat or fish with skin- too fatty and wierd texture- guaranteed a throw -up. Also cannot stand smelly meat like pork and beef (especially bacon). DH doesn’t eat boiled eggs because of smell while I can eat them all day.

  66. Milo,

    Robust lobster fisheries in New England have been a shining exception to the collapse of the global fishing industry. An analysis of the diet of Gulf of Maine lobsters presented here 5 August at the Ecological Society of America meeting shows why: The herring bait used in lobster traps makes up close to half of the lobsters’ sustenance.

    Sort of farming, I guess.

  67. “The herring bait used in lobster traps makes up close to half of the lobsters’ sustenance.”

    I read one theory that lobsters often go in and out of the traps, almost at will. So when Linda Greenlaw pulls up her traps, she’s not really harvesting all the lobsters that have been trapped; it’s more like just getting whatever lobsters happen to be in there at the time.

  68. Determining toxicity is a tricky science.

    From the FDA mercury report. “The best indexes of exposure to methyl mercury are concentrations in hair and blood. The average concentrations of total mercury innon-exposed people is about 8 parts per billion (ppb) in blood and 2 ppm in hair. From the Japanese studies, toxicologists have learned that the lowest mercury level in adults associated with toxic effects (paresthesia) was 200 ppb in blood and 50 ppm in hair, accumulated over months to years of eating contaminated food.
    The Japanese studies did not, however, provide information on what levels of methyl mercury might adversely affect the fetus and infant.
    “There is no doubt that when humans are exposed to high levels of methyl mercury, poisoning and problems in the nervous system can occur,” Bolger said.
    

  69. That’s great for your son, Benefits Lawyer!

    I’m with Honolulu. Green peppers have a sharper taste, but nothing I’d call spicy. I don’t love ’em raw, though. I can’t do the peppery arrugula thing. Or the few times I have, it’s had so much other stuff to cover the taste that I wasn’t really eating the arrugula. My kids all adore broccoli, which I’ve read somewhere has a fairy high sugar content (and thus why roasting it is sort of magical).

  70. Congrats benefits lawyer

    Since we haven’t heard anything I assume dd didn’t make nmsf.

    Hanging head in shame.

  71. Congrats to BL and her DS!

    CA is one of the most difficult states in which to become a NMSF. The cutoff for CA in 2014 was 223; along with MA, that was the second highest state cutoff in the country. The highest was NJ at 225; DC also had a 225 cutoff, but it’s not a state.

    By contrast, the cutoff here (and FL) was 214. One kid we know had a 215, and I heard that most of the NMSF at my kids’ school were between 214 and 220, which means they wouldn’t have made the cut in CA.

    Four states tied for the lowest at 202.

  72. Congrats BL! I’m curious if you or Finn or anyone else did or are doing any test prep. I’ve mentioned before that any kid who scores in top 5th %ile on standardized tests should consider a little prep, probably just practice tests. It’s helpful to have sophomore PSAT scores to help in deciding whether to do any prep to help qualify.

  73. Green bell peppers are one of my least favorite types of peppers, and I love peppers in general. Bell peppers are boring, with just a tiny little sharpness to make eating them uneventful but a little unpleasant. When I took the DNA analysis one of the factors measured was bitter taste perception, with results actually correlating with family members’ taste preferences.

  74. My oldest was just informed that he should register for the October PSAT. He is a sophomore. It is so strange to me. Back when I took it, I didn’t do any preparation. They handed out some forms in school to fill out for some test (that was the way I saw it anyway) and then a month later, herded us into a room to take it.

  75. I should note – I was a junior when this happened. No one took the PSAT as a sophomore when I was a teen

  76. The cutoff for CA in 2014 was 223; along with MA, that was the second highest state cutoff in the country.

    So that explains why I wasn’t a NMSF!

  77. Anyone else hate performance reviews?? I have one now, already know I got dinged on one thing. I feel like I’m going to the gallows… or firing squad. Ugh.

  78. DS did a little prep, mostly in test-taking strategies. He took the PSAT as a sophomore along with PLAN (the PSAT of the ACT), and the results showed he would be stronger on the ACT, so he focused on that.

  79. This is reminding me of discussions with my partially-colorblind son over whether a particular shirt is blue or purple — there’s just no way he will ever see what I see, or vice-versa. And yet I keep arguing. :-)

    MY DH and I never agree on what color a shirt is, I think he’s color blind, but he says I am

  80. “Bell peppers are OK, not exciting but OK, when raw. I think they are disgusting when cooked unless they have been roasted and peeled. I will carefully pick every single last bell pepper shard out of anything that containts them, and make a little pile on my plate. My DH does the same with mushrooms. As I said, tastes are weird”

    I detest mushrooms in any form, cooked, raw

    I often have a pile on my plate of peppers and mushrooms that I won’t eat

  81. We are currently enrolled in a SAT prep class. The cost is high ($750), but DS seems to be enjoying it. DS is a junior and it seems that all his friends have already completed the class. In fact, he’s at a (temporary) disadvantage in AP English because of this.

    I’m a big fan of test prep–I took it for SAT and GMAT, and it was helpful. It forced me to practice more than I otherwise would. NMF cut off in Texas is 218.

  82. I agree with HM that green bell peppers are strongly vegetal. I only use them for one thing – stuffed peppers. Even in sausage or steak tips with onions and peppers I use red/yellow/orange bell peppers. The roasting process, the seasoned meat and rice filling eliminate all of the sharp flavor. The sauce (I used a spicy tomato sauce, but you can do anything you like) helps, too.

  83. SAT scores are lower than they have been in years, which may be good for some totebag kids.

    The mean score on the math portion of the SAT, 511, is the lowest since 1999. The highest possible score on each section is 800.

    The reading score of 495 is the worst since 1972, according to data provided by the College Board.

    The test administrator reported the lowest score for the SAT’s writing section since it began in 2005.

  84. TIL the word vegetal, which seems like a handy word to know. More importantly, is it a “SAT” word? :D

  85. I should note – I was a junior when this happened. No one took the PSAT as a sophomore when I was a teen

    This still floors me. We all took it as sophomores. Nobody took it as a junior, we took the SAT as juniors.

  86. Rhett, it’s relative to recent results. But also scores were recentered in 1995 so today’s 511 is lower than 1972’s. And of course reading scores reflect a significant LT decline.

  87. Although that graph may correct for the recentering. In any case, many believe the test is easier today, but I’m not sure about that.

  88. CofC,

    On of the articles was titled, “More kids are taking the SAT than ever before, but their scores aren’t getting any better.”

    Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you push more marginal kids to take the SAT the median score would decline?

  89. “Anyone else hate performance reviews?? I have one now, already know I got dinged on one thing. I feel like I’m going to the gallows… or firing squad. Ugh.”

    Well, neither of those things will actually happen to you.

    It’s your first one with this org, right? So mostly it should be about what you should be able to accomplish now that you know your way around.

    I think performance appraisals are bad if there are any surprises (good or bad). Good surprises like promotions, bonuses, anything else that could be viewed as a perq, are of course easy to take. But, too often IMHO, it’s the one time a year many managers go over all the things the employee could have done better AND there was no constructive criticism near to the event, so there’s no way to recover. ‘you know, Rhode, back in February when you met with the state inspectors you really should have…’ Nothing you can do about it now, but if you had been told back then, you could provide additional information, clarity, etc while still timely. Again, just my opinion, but performance appraisals are not the time to dredge up old stuff for the first time…but too many managers hate confrontation and delivering bad news so it’s easier to let stuff go till the annual review has to be done.

  90. Yes, also more kids are taking the ACT. BTW, I made no claim that we are getting dumber. What I might claim is that college students are less prepared to do college-level work than in years past. So college courses have been dumbed down, especially given that average GPAs have risen.

  91. What I might claim is that college students are less prepared to do college-level work than in years past.

    From 1985 to 2015 the percentage of high school students going to college has risen from 45% to 65%. If we correct for the inclusion of those presumably more marginal students, do you think the median of that 45% c. 1985 was better prepared than the median of that 45% today?

  92. ” ‘you know, Rhode, back in February when you met with the state inspectors you really should have…’ Nothing you can do about it now, but if you had been told back then, you could provide additional information, clarity, etc while still timely.”

    This Fred. This is my second review, and while not too horrible, what I got dinged for should have been mentioned to me months ago. The only way I knew there would be a problem is because I saw the problem and started to fix it. My boss should have come to me months ago and said “Rhode, this is a problem, how can we fix it.” But he didn’t.

    It’s over. I’m still employed. Now onto finishing this report which has been on my desk way too long. And I went to the CVS and bought an unhealthy, non-totebaggy, wonderful bag of TGIFriday’s cheddar and bacon potato skin chips. Lunch just got better.

  93. Rhett, if you’re asking if that subset of “smarter” students is better prepared today, then I would say that is certainly possible. However, those students are benefiting from much more parental involvement than similar students of 30 years ago did. Arguably this parental involvement is critical to counteract the declining quality of public schools.

  94. “Arguably this parental involvement is critical to counteract the declining quality of public schools.”

    Objection — assuming facts not in evidence. :-) Not sure I buy that public schools have declined in the areas that have always sent their kids to college. IOW, if you start from Rhett’s 45% figure in 1985, those kids probably came largely from U and UMC areas. I bet you the schools in those areas are as good now as they were then. I have to say, my kids’ schools are much more “academic” than they were IMD(TM) — they are at least a full year ahead of where I was in math, and a lot more effort is focused on reading comprehension and writing skills. And DD even has a 5-course pre-engineering HS curriculum available to her.

    Now, all of that is at the expense of art, music, recess, and the other “soft” stuff (I had to take art and music and language; DD has to choose two of the three); we can debate forever whether that makes the schools better or worse, but if you’re talking about the skills that directly relate to college prep testing, the schools seem to be even stronger and more focused on that.

    Of course, “decline” is also relative to your baseline — one of my friends talks about her school days in Berkeley in the early ’80s as basically a bunch of “rap sessions” (similar to comments I’ve heard here). I suspect many public schools currently would be an improvement if that’s your starting point.

  95. “I was a junior when this happened. No one took the PSAT as a sophomore when I was a teen”

    Ditto for me. However, times have changed, and many schools now have their kids take the PSAT as sophomores as practice, and I’ve heard some even have freshmen take it. For many kids, it’s a wake-up call to prepare before the real thing, when stakes are potentially high.

    One example I know is a kid who’s just starting at Yale now. He did not do well on his first PSAT as a soph, which was his wake-up call. He did a lot of test prep the next summer, and became a NMSF, and obviously did well enough on his SAT to get into Yale.

  96. Maybe the UMC schools are as good as they were back in the 1980s, however, my anecdata suggest that the low income ones are worse. My kids, DH and I went to different high schools, but all were similar economically. DH’s school and my kids are similar socioeconomically. All schools had low income students with parents who hadn’t gone to college. In all places, there are/were a lot of don’t give a damn teachers, with the prevailing attitude that most kids aren’t going anywhere anyway, so why have them work too hard.

    However, I still had competent math teachers. No teacher ever swung at me, let alone had it dismissed as a gesture of frustration. No one stood in the way of me taking the PSAT. No one ever tried to make me take remedial science when I should have taken biology.

    My parents expended nowhere near the amount of effort nor had anywhere near the interaction I have had with the school to keep my kids on the college track. I have seen a number of my oldest daughter’s friends fall off the college track because they didn’t have someone to push the counselor into letting them take appropriate classes. I think it is easier for kids to be ignored than to have to push past active resistance.

    I have long suspected that a significant portion of the income gap is due to the number of poor kids who have been unable to get a decent k-12 education and are then too far behind to catch up to college degree, which is the bare minimum for a middle class lifestyle.

  97. “We are currently enrolled in a SAT prep class.”

    Do you and your DS both attend the class together?

    “DS is a junior and it seems that all his friends have already completed the class. ”

    Here, a lot of kids take the prep class in the summer between soph and junior years, in part to prep for the PSAT.

    This year is weird because of the change in the SAT, and it’s especially weird for the class of 2017, because the PSAT is being given with the new format, but most prep classes this past summer were still prepping for the old format, which is still being given for the SAT through Jan 2016.

  98. “This still floors me. We all took it as sophomores. Nobody took it as a junior, we took the SAT as juniors.”

    Did you have any NMSF in your HS? My understanding is that the PSAT is also the NMSQT only for juniors.

    From http://www.nationalmerit.org/entering.php:

    “Students who plan to spend four years in high school (grades 9 through 12) before entering college full time must take the PSAT/NMSQT in their third year (grade 11, junior year). They will be entering the competition that ends when awards are offered in the spring of their fourth high school year (grade 12, senior year), the same year they will leave high school and enter college.

    Although some schools encourage their sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for guidance purposes, these students must take the test again when they are juniors to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program if they are spending the usual four years of study in grades 9 through 12.”

    My kids’ school has all juniors take the SAT in December, 2 months after the PSAT/NMSQT.

  99. “Not sure I buy that public schools have declined in the areas that have always sent their kids to college.”

    We’ve discussed many times here how many of the best and brightest females became teachers in the past, and are now becoming engineers and doctors and scientists. And lawyers, too.

  100. “I’m curious if you or Finn or anyone else did or are doing any test prep.”

    I didn’t. Back then, it was still widely accepted that the A in SAT stood for Aptitude, and you couldn’t learn aptitude. It was also unusual, at least among my cohort, to retake it, in part because, IIRC, there were only two times a year we could take it without having to catch a plane.

    But in the “anyone else” category, DS did some test prep in the summer before his sophomore year, in the window between the end of summer school and the start of soph year. He mostly just took practice tests he got from the website and the college counseling office recycle bin. He took the SAT his soph year and did well enough that we decided he didn’t need to take a test prep class. He liked that because it allowed him to take a job this past summer; the prep class would have conflicted with that job.

    I bought a couple of prep books several months ago when Amazon had a sale on Kindle versions, and he did some studying for the new version with those books to prep for the PSAT this year. I should remind him to take a look at the Khan Academy prep class.

  101. “obviously did well enough on his SAT to get into Yale.”

    That was poorly stated. He did well enough on the SAT that his scores did not keep him from getting into Yale. I don’t think anyone gets into Yale just based on SAT scores.

  102. Did you have any NMSF in your HS?

    Yes we did. And as far as I know, nobody took the PSAT as a junior. Juniors only took the SAT.

Comments are closed.