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A Geography of Oysters: The Connoisseur's Guide to Oyster Eating in North America Paperback – September 16, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Jacobsen, managing editor of the magazine The Art of Eating, presents the ultimate macropedia for oysters, covering not just geography, but also philosophy, consumerism, epicurean splendor and the proper way to grow a pearl. The first of the guide's three sections, Mastering Oysters, covers such cocktail party talking points as A Dozen Oysters You Should Know and The Aphrodisiac Angle, and presents a primer on how and why oysters taste as they do. Chapter two accounts for half the book's page count and is a travelogue across the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, a movable feast up and down the east and west coasts of North America. Jacobsen ends his research with Everything You Wanted to Know About Oysters but Were Afraid to Ask. (The title exemplifies one of the very few times that his writing goes stale). Here he lists the best ways to ship, store and shuck, and explains why it is perfectly all right to eat oysters in months that do not have an r in them. He also serves up 20 or so recipes, including Coconut Oyster Stew with ginger and lemongrass and Baked Oysters in Tarragon Butter, simple to make but complex in flavor. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The most remarkable single-subject book to come along in a while...Jacobsen covers oysters in exhaustive detail, but with writing so engaging and sprightly that reading about the briny darlings is almost as compulsive as eating them...this book will improve your oyster eating immeasurably...There may be no more pleasurable food than a raw oyster, there almost certainly is no better guide.” ―Los Angeles Times
“The ultimate macropedia for oysters.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Whether enjoyed on the half-shell raw -- alive, actually -- or fried, stewed, baked or pickled, the oyster has an appeal that is unique and perfectly captured by food writer Rowan Jacobsen.” ―Wall Street Journal
“Lively, lucid prose that should suck in even the most squeamish eaters.” ―BN.com
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To the aficionado, oysters provide a combination of subtle sensory ecstasy and spiritual experience. We are always looking for the perfect oyster and each oyster has its unique attributes. Opening an oyster is like opening a present at Christmas, holding the surprise of delight or of disappointment. When travelling around North America we always seek out and head for the Oyster bar in each new city.
In this entertaining volume Jacobsen provides the most complete book I have seen on everything you might want to know about oysters, and then some. As the title suggests the writing is sort of oyster lover's travelogue. He wanders all along the East Coast, starting from Atlantic Canada, down the United States eastern seabord across the Gulf and up the Pacific, even as far north as Alaska. He describes each hidden cove and bay where oysters may be found and the unique features of the shellfish harvested there. In addition the book contains a catalogue of where the best restaurants and oyster bars are to be found and the addresses of oyster shippers. For those who prefer home entertaining there are a variety of recipes and suitable wines to complement the particular type of oyster. However I am sure that most real oyster lovers prefer the "naked" oyster whose delicate bouquet will not be disguised or over-powered by adulterating spices. He even gives directions how to safely shuck oysters and the equipment needed.
I would give this book five stars and cannot imagine a more encyclopedic or accurate presentation of the subject. Oyster lovers everywhere will find this book a real delight.
Robert F Nelson
This book is incredibly well written, witty at times and very informative. You can learn how oysters are farmed and their various techniques. Things I didn't even find on wiki. I learned how they get to harden those shells. I purchased some Carlsbad Blondes, and those shells would just snap in half. Terrible oysters. I know why because of the book.
I'm not sure how the author did it, but it seems he has had the incredible opportunity to sample a great many oysters. I can see his tax return $1000 spent as "research" for his book. What a great way to do research. Upon one of the authors great descriptions, I ordered three dozen Hama Hama's. They were fantastic.
The author picks five or six farms and gives incredible detail about the location, the owner/farmer and his/her history and the oysters themselves. This is a book to own now, because it is relavent now with the current oyster farmers listed. It is a chance to learn about the worlds best and to learn how to sample them.
The only thing I would have loved to see in the book, would be a travel guide on how to visit the various farms the author so nicely listed. That's one of the things I plan on doing is to travel up and down the coast visiting oysters farms along the way. I would have loved this book to have a guide like that.
There is a section on "what kind of oyster" person are you? But I didn't find that very useful or informative. A very minor drawback for an incredibly informative book on oysters. Every connosieur(sp?) should have a copy. A book for oyster lovers by an oyster lover.