The Essential Oyster:
A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation
Reporter and author Rowan Jacobsen writes of food, the environment and their intersection. He has written books about apples, terroir, bees, the sea shore, and, of course oysters. He received a James Beard Award for Reference, History and Scholarship and was nominated for the James Beard Award for Food and Culture and for the James Beard Award for Newspaper or Magazine Reporting on Nutrition or Food-Related Consumer Issues for his articles on bees. He has recent written extensively on genetically modified food, fisheries, and saving the world's coral reefs. His first book on oysters: A Geography of Oysters: the Connoisseur's Guide to Oyster Eating in In North America moved me beyond guesswork at the oyster bar. In The Essential Oyster: A Salty Appreciation of Taste and Temptation Rowan Jacobsen updates and goes beyond the first book. The first difference from his earlier work is apparent as soon as you open the book - photographer David Malosh and stylist Adrienne Anderson have stylistically taken the book to a new level. Much has happened in the world of oysters in the last decade - the number of oyster farms, oyster eaters, opportunities for eating oysters, and the popularity of oysters has increased. Jacobsen deftly handles what is new, depend our appreciation of oysters and their relationship to the environment and how that impacts our enjoyment of oysters. Jacobsen organizes the book geographically, covering North America's key oyster regions and the more significant and available overseas oysters. He provides an introduction to each section and conveys what makes that area and its oysters special. He reviews 98 oysters and in each review he gives the species of the oyster, how it is cultivated, how it looks and tastes and how hard it is to find and provides interesting history and background on the oyster, its region and the people who cultivate and harvest it. If you have any interest in oysters, this is a good place to start.
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