CONFERENCE ON THE SALTED FISH TRADE
5 July 2019
On 5 July, a conference was given on the salted fish trade throughout history, by Joan Portet i Alegret, a fourth-generation cod fisherman and the person in charge of the weights and measures and quality of the fish at the Santa Maria del Mar Cod Brotherhood in Barcelona.
The event was introduced by Martí Guinart, the counsellor for Historical and cultural heritage who debuted his position at this event as he informed the public.
The table was also occupied by the President of L’Escala Anchovy Salters, Martí Callol, and by Miquel Didac Piñero from the Centre d’Estudis Escalencs and responsible for introducing the guest. The floor was then taken by Portet who offered a conference linked to the evolution of the consumption of cod and the commercialisation of salted fish over time. This is why it was essential to start by explaining the evolution of cod and its resistance.
Portet described the methods using to catch cod, its conservation, its commercialisation and its evolution on the market to reach the current conservation methods which are very different from the traditional ones that cause condensation of the fats that give its flesh the characteristic creamy texture. This is why cod, along with anchovies, are considered to be a star in the world of gastronomy, a category that is well-deserved particularly thanks to the effect the salt has on them.
Joan Portet finished off by talking about his family that has always been dedicated to the world of cod salting; about the techniques for cutting the fish and its consumption, reminding those present that in the past cod was a poor man’s food and now it is a rich man’s dish. He also talked about the human evolution of consumers, who no longer have time to remove the bones or clean the fish, which is why more cod is now being sold having already been soaked to remove the salt than the version that needs soaking at home.
This chat was part of the programme of the 10 Conferences of the Centre d’Estudis Escalencs that are given at the Anchovy and the Salt Museum each year.