In this passionate, playful, and indispensable guide, oyster aficionado Rowan Jacobsen takes listeners on a delectable tour of the oysters of North America. Region by region, he describes each oyster's appearance, flavor, origin, and availability, as well as explaining how oysters grow, how to shuck them without losing a finger, how to pair them with wine (not to mention beer), and why they're one of the few farmed seafoods that are good for the earth as well as good for you.
Many people will remember that Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, but she also warned of a fruitless fall, a time with no pollination and no fruit. The fruitless fall nearly became a reality when, in 2007, beekeepers watched 30 billion bees mysteriously die. And they continue to disappear. The remaining pollinators, essential to the cultivation of a third of American crops, are now trucked across the country and flown around the world, pushing them ever closer to collapse.
Why does honey from the tupelo-lined banks of the Apalachicola River have a kick of cinnamon unlike any other? Why is salmon from Alaskas' Yukon River the richest in the world? Why does one underground cave in Greensboro, Vermont, produce many of the country's most intense cheeses? The answer is terroir (tare-WAHR), the "taste of place". Originally used by the French to describe the way local conditions such as soil and climate affect the flavor of a wine, terroir has been little understood (and often mispronounced) by Americans, until now.
In the spring of 2010, as we watched oil gushing unstoppably into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, many Americans turned their focus to the region for the first time, wondering how this could happen and demanding corporate and government accountability. Yet Rowan Jacobsen brings a surprising perspective to the tragedy: as bad as the spill was, it is only the latest chapter in a century-long story of destruction.
In the 1990s, a marine scientist named Brian Kingzett was commissioned to survey Canada's western coast. He saw amazing sights, from the wildest, most breathtaking coasts to the smallest of marine creatures. Along the western side of Vancouver Island, Kingzett nosed into an isolated pocket beach where he found something unusual. Amid the mussels, barnacles, and clams were round oysters - Olympias. Kingzett noted their presence and paddled on.