or even in a sushi roll.
Of course it’s not really a Minnesota Sushi roll unless it incorporates Wild Rice.
Having lived on the banks of the muddy Maumee, I find the proliferation of Walleye in MN restaurants one of the oddest things about our relocation. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the creature as a dining option - no it’s the higher price the fish commands here (on par with Salmon), along with the native’s desire to actually consume it.
It seems like Northwest Ohio’s abundance of the critters makes it an economical choice for many residents. Given the low market price, and the questionable source the fish comes from I've been hesitant about consuming Walleye.
The source for Walleye in our former region includes a lake known for catching fire in the 70’s, and a river that most locals are afraid to swim in. Understandably it’s not particularly appetizing to think of eating something from that poisoned well.
Despite the river’s obvious location (formerly at the end of my street) when I purchased a kayak last year most of my friends and family curiously asked “where are you going to use it?” The Maumee just isn’t considered an option for water recreation by most locals, who frequently joke about the level of contamination. Only a few brave souls dare to venture out on the water for fun.
People have a hard time with the concept of eating something from a dirty river. How dirty? Just one two mile stretch of the river in Lucas County contains over 100 pipes discharging industrial and septic waste into the waters where the walleye run.
This is a drop in the bucket to contamination further upriver, at the Maumee headwaters of the St Joseph and St Mary’s river, where the combined sewer overflow of more than 20 cities dump sewage into the river if it rains more than a tenth of an inch.
One Ball State University study found over 300 pharmaceuticals passed into freshwater via human waste. Byproducts of caffeine, nicotine and acetaminophen were found in the waters supplying the Maumee, along with the mood altering lithium which makes for some manic depressive energetic fish who need cigarettes badly. Given that you are what you eat, I always chose to eat something other than Walleye, lest I get the disease Jon Cryer had from Hotshots.
With time (and a steady income), I may eventually overcome my Walleye stigma, but until then I’ll stick with whitefish.