Amazon Best of the Month, January 2009
: Once called "the Indiana Jones of food writers," Texan Robb Walsh has developed a cult of devoted readers who have ridden shotgun with him on his obsessive culinary adventures--from the quest for the perfect cup of coffee, to barbecue battles, to Dr. Pepper bootleggers. Who better then to take a five-year quest in search of the perfect oyster, "the world's most profitable aphrodisiac," than the James Beard Award-winning author, who hangs his hat as the restaurant critic for The Houston Press
and has written several books, including Are You Really Going to Eat That?
and The Tex-Mex Cookbook
. Sex, Death, and Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover's World Tour
chronicles a global culinary road trip that takes Walsh from his local Galveston Bay to the coasts of North America, and off to Ireland, England, and France. Fact-filled and laced throughout with his wry humor, Walsh recounts the hundreds of oysters shucked and prepared in myriad ways, and offers a fascinating history that goes beyond the expected, revealing coastal rivalries, recipes, shucking tips, and what to drink with your oyster. --Brad Thomas Parsons
From Publishers Weekly
Food writer Walsh (Tex-Mex Cookbook
) catches the oyster-eating bug while on a reporting assignment in Galveston Bay, Tex. Writing at first about the Texas coastal environment, he seeks to understand the bacterial risks of eating fresh raw mollusks. En route, he becomes a lover and defensive champion of Crassostrea virginica
, the great American oyster, which is harvested primarily on the eastern and Gulf coasts. He works his way from New Orleans to New York City, comparing differences in oyster quality and flavor from water to water and—importantly—season to season. Broader species sampling requires traveling the Pacific Northwest, then crossing the Atlantic to Ireland, England and France. Along the way Walsh covers molluscan history, trade and aquaculture. Ample oyster facts, figures and literary lore flesh out a book that at times discloses surprising and complex economic and social connections between mollusk supply and demand and at others is a slightly by-the-numbers food history. He lists the oyster bars visited in the course of the book—along with a several recipes—which will whet the appetites of aficionados. (Jan.)
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