Good Food Book Club: Eating the Ocean: Our Entangled Bonds with the Sea

"Elspeth Probyn wants to eat the ocean. I want to eat her book. It is one of the most profound works I have read on the sea… not least because it dares to digress and move into territories that other writers and academics have hitherto neglected."

--Philip Hoare, Times Higher Education

Please join us for the April Good Food Book club, with a special focus on Earth Day. We will be reading Eating the Ocean by Elspeth Probyn. Oceans cover more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface, and 99 percent of all water on Earth is found in our seas. This incredible abundance has sustained and supported human evolution since time immemorial. Yet today, human industry, as currently practiced, risks most of the ocean’s bounty as we know it.

Enter the astute and literary writer Elspeth Probyn, who’s released a new book—and paradigm—on our bonds with the seas. This perfect companion to Earth Day examines not only how food from the oceans is being decimated and changed by our enormous growth and so-called progress, but also how we can, and ultimately must, change how we view ourselves and our relationship to the seas; this relationship is as integral to us as blood to our bodies. As reviewer Philip Hoare writes, for Probyn “the ocean is about loving the other and loving the same.”

Once we come to terms with the spiraling connections between us as described by Probyn, we will protect and revere and foster the ocean’s profound resilience and capacity to sustain us and life on earth.

Probyn, a gender and culture studies scholar, offers a new and critical perspective as society shifts from a culture of resource domination and extraction to a restorative balance of resilience and partnership. This more holistic perspective includes a deep look at the role of women in shepherding and healing the oceans. As a result, says reviewer Hoare, Probyn’s “study of our leviathan appetite for seafood dares to go deep and recovers pearls.”

As Lisa Heinze writes in Sustainability with Style, “Probyn's vivid detail brings us along her journeys following (and eating many) oysters, swimming with tuna, covertly eating endangered bluefin tuna, and tracking the history of herring quines [girls and women who worked with herring] and women's roles in fishing. . . . I learned so much about the state of our oceans, where our seafood comes from, the danger in always choosing tuna and salmon, and the role of aquaculture (which provides more than half of all seafood consumed by humans!), but most importantly, I was encouraged to think differently about what 'sustainability' means..."

Please join us to discuss Eating the Ocean by Elspeth Probyn (Duke University Press, 2016) on Sunday, April 30, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the Co-op Café. Remember to email to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club.

Eating the Ocean is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used bookstores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the Co-op website at