A decade ago, Rowan Jacobsen wrote a book called A Geography of Oysters that celebrated the romance of oysters, the primal rush of slurping a raw denizen of the sea, and the mysteries of molluscan terroir. The book struck a chord, and American oyster culture has been on a gravity-defying trajectory ever since.Read more...
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A decade ago, Rowan Jacobsen wrote a book called A Geography of Oysters that celebrated the romance of oysters, the primal rush of slurping a raw denizen of the sea, and the mysteries of molluscan terroir. The book struck a chord, and American oyster culture has been on a gravity-defying trajectory ever since.
With lavish four-color photos throughout by renowned photographer David Malosh, The Essential Oyster is the definitive book for oyster-lovers everywhere, featuring stunning portraits, tasting notes, and backstories of all the top oysters, as well as recipes from America's top oyster chefs and a guide to the best oyster bars. Spotlighting more than a hundred of North America's greatest oysters--the unique, the historically significant, the flat-out yummiest--The Essential Oyster introduces the oyster culture and history of every region of North America, as well as overseas. There is no coastline from British Columbia to Baja, from New Iberia to New Brunswick, that isn't producing great oysters. For the most part, these are deeper cupped, stronger shelled, finer flavored, and more stylish than their predecessors. Some have colorful stories to tell. Some have quirks. All have character. The Essential Oyster will help you find the best, and help you to cherish them better. That is what's captured--and celebrated--in these pages.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-06
- Reviewer: Staff
In the 10 years since Jacobsen’s first shellfish manifesto (A Geography of Oysters), oyster options on menus have expanded at a pace that rivals craft beers. There are now more than 300 varieties farmed or found along the waters of North America. Here, Jacobsen chooses 100 favorites, based on criteria such as historical significance and “flat-out yumminess,” creating an in-depth guide that is also a highly enjoyable read. For each object of desire there is a full-page color photo by David Malosh, and a list of five data points: the species (e.g., Pacific or eastern), how the oyster is cultivated, its physical appearance, its flavor, and its availability. For example, one of the newest delicacies is the murder point, an eastern oyster grown by Auburn University in five feet of water. They are “movie-star handsome” with a cream-of-potato soup flavor and will be produced at a rate of two million a year. Once all this data is dispatched, Jacobsen settles in with a few paragraphs of appreciation for each mollusk. Humorous, crafty, and deeply informative, these passages are the reason to read this book, instead of turning to one of the many oyster apps or websites. Of the Bar Harbor selection, Jacobsen writes that the shells have the “depth and strength of bottom-cultured oysters, but the beautiful purple swirls of bag-coddled bivalves.” A handful of recipes from top chefs round out the book, chased down with a dirty oyster-brine martini. (Oct.)