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Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm Hardcover


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Frequently Bought Together

Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm + A Geography of Oysters: The Connoisseur's Guide to Oyster Eating in North America + The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312681917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312681913
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“While most books about oysters tell people what they want to hear, Shucked tells it like it is: the frigid winter days on the water with hands like popsicles, the backbreaking work, the anxiety of nurturing thousands of dollars’ worth of oyster seed, the hard-partying nights. Erin Byers Murray captures the seasonal rhythms of the New England coast and the romance of one exceptional company’s efforts to coax great food from the sea. You’ll never take an oyster for granted again.” –Rowan Jacobsen, author of A Geography of Oysters

“Part adventure, part memoir, part culinary awakening, Erin Byers Murray's rite of passage from novice to connoisseur takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the world of the oyster. On the way, she gives us pearls of wisdom and wit--both served up on the half shell. Cocktail sauce is optional but don't miss this book.”-- Christopher White, author of Skipjack: The Story of America's Last Sailing Oystermen

"Part of the book’s charm is following Murray through the process of becoming aware of her surroundings in working directly with an edible product. Readers who enjoy Linda Greenlaw’s writing...will appreciate Murray’s offering of just enough information to allow them to become knowledgeable in all things oyster without overdoing it. ...Murray’s portrayal of her personal response to life’s changes and challenges will hold readers’ interest. An entertaining and informative firsthand experience of the locavore movement." --Library Journal

"Murray’s own love of food and food writing informs the narrative, and she skillfully dramatizes the scenes of summertime sowing and depicts her many colorful co-workers. Murray eschews poetic waxing on her subject and focuses closely on the action and the hard, hard work of farming, closing each chapter with a broad range of oyster recipes." --Publishers Weekly

"...a new understanding of locavorism and an appreciation for tradition." --The Sacramento Bee

 

About the Author

ERIN BYERS MURRAY is a Boston area journalist, specializing in food and wine writing. Most recently, she was the Boston editor for DailyCandy.com. Her work as been published in the Boston Globe, Food and Wine, Boston Magazine, Bon Appetit, and many more. Visit her at shucked.wordpress.com.


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Customer Reviews

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Even if you don't love oysters, you will find this book to be well written and interesting.
K. Harrison
A master of artistic prose, Murray takes the reader on an incredible ride through the lives of many souls willing to shuck the stable for the great unknown.
Luke Doiron
Her witty and engaging commentary, coupled with her culinary background, makes this an interesting, fun and informative book.
Speaktomimi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Luke Doiron on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to quit your "stable" yet "boring" career and set of into uncharted waters? Do you long for a life lived simply, purely, and without regrets? Have you ever wished you would have the chance to work with people who loved what they do... but more importantly WHY they do it? Do you want to be happy? If any of these questions resonate with you, buy this book. Forget that, buy two copies and give one to your significant other. A master of artistic prose, Murray takes the reader on an incredible ride through the lives of many souls willing to shuck the stable for the great unknown. This will go down as the most important book you've read in the last 12 months. REMEMBER, the only difference between you today and you 12 months from now will be 3 things: (1) the places you go, (2) the people you meet, and (3) the books you read. Read this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Speaktomimi on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read by a credible writer who spent 18 months working as a farmer at Island Creek Oysters. Her witty and engaging commentary, coupled with her culinary background, makes this an interesting, fun and informative book. Can't wait to try the recipes at the end of each chapter!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Blanding on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Early on in Erin Byers Murray's Shucked, her eminently readable account of the 18 months she spent getting her hands dirty at a Massachusetts oyster farm, she contends that oysters are best served naked with just a little bit of lemon. You might say the same about Murray's writing style, which is as raw as a bivalve on the half shell, with just enough tartness to keep it from becoming overly deep or self-absorbed.

I expected to learn a lot about what it takes to get an oyster from tide to plate, and I wasn't disappointed--Murray's funny and thoroughly unglamorous view of the mucky tides and chilly days out on the oyster float have given me a whole new appreciation for just how much work goes into that satisfying slurp. What I didn't expect was how personal this book would be--the author opens up about her own difficulties and triumphs adjusting to life exposed to the elements, her conflicts and confederacies with the rowdy mostly-male crew of the oyster growers, and the strain her new life put on her marriage with disarming honesty and humor, making the reader ask him or herself what s/he'd do to follow a crazy dream in order to concoct a new definition of happiness.

My one criticism is that there wasn't enough about the history and lore of oysters (I could be wrong, but I don't think the word "aphrodisiac" is even mentioned!) Towards the end, Murray writes about an oyster primer she made for the staff of the new Island Creek Oyster Bar the company opened, and I found myself wishing she'd included part of it in the book itself. Maybe it could be an appendix in the paperback!

But bottom line: if you care about oysters, or just about stories of personal transformation, you'll find yourself flying through the pages of this book. And maybe even wishing you could throw on some waders and join the harvest on the next low tide.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a genuinely entertaining look at one woman's experience working on an oyster farm. Murray is a good writer and this book is engaging. I learned a lot about oysters and will definitely appreciate them more the next time I eat them! I would reccomend this book for anyone who is interested in oysters, or who imagines quitting their desk job to work outside.
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By dixie on January 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
my brother has an oyster farm in New Hampshire..He loved the book..thank you..... great Christmas gift.. ps there should not be a certain requirement on the amount of words you use..whats up with that??
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By Beverly Bradley on November 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
fantastic book - nice change from what I usually read; learned so much about how oysters are "grown"
I would recommend this to any avid reader....
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By Lindsey on September 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not only a fun story, but it's a really cute book especially for a new england coffee table! If anyone's ever been to Island Creek Oyster in Boston, the opening paragraph will make you smile.
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By MarnP on September 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love this book!! I've always loved the 'idea' of life as a farmer or just jumping fully into something new. Erin did what we all dream of and shares it in an entertaining and informative book. Can't wait till our next trip to Boston and plan on eating at ICOB!!
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