Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita spent more than 20 years working on his Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana, an exhaustive 600-plus page book that lists and explains the dishes and ingredients, as well as the cooking techniques and traditions, of Mexican cooking. Yes, all of it.
“Like any dictionary, it's a list of words organized alphabetically [...] You'll have a section on the olive, for instance, which outlines how the olive is prepared from region to region in this country, not in Greece or Italy or anywhere else,” he told Eater in 2013. “You won't find a recipe for mole negro in the book, but you'll learn what it's made of and how they make it in different areas. If there's an ingredient in the explanation you're not familiar with, there will be an entry in the book dedicated to it.”
Despite his two decades of research, and more than three decades working as a chef, nothing could’ve prepared him for what he recently found inside a fish. Muñoz Zurita filmed himself as he cut into a fish’s stomach, and somehow held onto his camera as he pulled plastic bottle caps, a broken comb, and other pieces of trash out of its digestive system. “Please be aware of not using plastic and not littering in the sea,” he wrote. “We are killing planet Earth, our home.”
The minute-long video is absolutely horrifying to watch, but maybe that’s exactly what we need, if our collective behaviors—including our continued reliance on plastic packaging—are ever going to change. According to some estimates, the equivalent of an entire garbage truck’s worth of plastic is dumped into the oceans every single minute of every day. (Five years ago, nonprofit advocacy group 5 Gyres calculated that there were 5.25 trillion-with-a-T pieces of plastic in our oceans.)
Another terrifying report said that up to one third of the plastic that is produced ultimately ends up in the ocean, and unless we make drastic changes, the collective amount of plastic garbage will ultimately outweigh the collective amount of fish by 2050.
Chef Dabiz Muñoz, whose DiverXO is the only three-Michelin starred restaurant in Madrid, shared Muñoz Zurita’s video, calling it “very terrible [and] very scary.” Unless something changes, unless a lot of somethings change, then there’s the very real possibility that videos like this will lose the power to shock us, because they’ll become routine, or even what we expect. That’s the scary part.