The Essential Oyster

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“A dazzling book about the best bivales of our time.” Wall Street Journal

“An in-depth guide that is also a highly enjoyable read…Humorous, crafty, and deeply informative.” Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“A remarkable, essential addition to any food collection.” Booklist (starred review)

“With oysters looking and tasting completely different in every cove and bay, Rowan Jacobsen guides us through the array of choices with authority, verve, and charm. The Essential Oyster is a rare pearl.”
Mark Kurlansky, Author of Cod and The Big Oyster

“This verbally and visually succulent book covers 99 types of oysters, most from the shores of North America… The author’s appreciation of even the least prepossessing of these bivalves is infectious. Jacobsen makes the case that ‘every oyster is a tide pool in miniature, a poem built of salt water and phytoplankton that nods to whatever motes of meaning shaped it.’ East Beach Blondes, farmed in Rhode Island, taste like ‘brine and ozone; a boardwalk in the rain’; Maine’s wild-harvested Belons remind him of ‘hazelnuts and anchovies fried in seal fat, with a squishy crunch like jellyfish salad.’ In terms of presence, New Brunswick’s Beausoleils are ‘as clean and inoffensive as a Jehovah’s Witness,” and wild James River specimens have “oversized muscles and a pale potbelly, like an aging professional wrestler.’ Jacobsen may leave noncoastal readers drooling with jealousy, but vicarious oyster slurping is better than none.” Kirkus Reviews

A decade ago, Rowan Jacobsen’s A Geography of Oysters 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 sizzling ever since. With lavish photographs by renowned photographer David Malosh, The Essential Oyster is the definitive book for today’s oyster lover, featuring stunning portraits, irreverent tasting notes, and delightful 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 the world’s most interesting 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 BC 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.

A few peeks inside:

Colville Bays from PEI

Colville Bays from PEI

PEI oyster tonger

PEI oyster tonger

PNW_Kumomoto_957

Maine Belons

Maine Belons

Hama Hamas and Blue Pools from Hood Canal

Hama Hamas and Blue Pools from Hood Canal

Hama Hama oysters in Hood Canal

Hama Hama oysters in Hood Canal

Recipes

Recipes