A helpful, amusing, no-nonsense oyster manual for the layperson.



The briny underbelly of one of the world’s most respected seafoods.

James Beard Award winner Walsh (Are You Really Going to Eat That?, 2003, etc.) begins his journey in Galveston Bay, whose muddy yet plentiful waters he navigates to explain the nuts and bolts of oyster fishing. From dredging procedures to vibrio vulnificus, a deadly bacteria found in Gulf oysters, he lays bare the industry’s foundations while taking time to explain its competitive nature in a landscape of short seasons and state laws prohibiting outside imports. Walsh faithfully consumes mass quantities of his subject—raw, fried or even pressurized—and takes care to elaborate. He deliciously conveys the spectrum of oyster varieties and flavors, ranging from sweet and milky to salty and nutty. The further Walsh strays from his Texas roots—destinations include New Orleans, Ireland, New York City and Toronto—the sharper his accounts. It would have been nice, however, if he’d offered more elaborate descriptions of personalities he met along the way, in addition to the oysters they serve. Characters who particularly call out for fuller portraits include the New Fulton Fish Market’s grizzly fishermen and Don Quinn, founder of England’s Alternative Oyster Feast, a faux-festival instituted to rail against upper-class food snobbery. Aspiring gourmets will appreciate the recipes sprinkled throughout, from the legendary Oysters Rockefeller to the Grand Central Oyster Bar’s Pan Roast. Walsh borrows descriptions from gastronomes Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and M.F.K. Fisher to expound upon taste and historic feats of consumption—not necessarily a good idea, since they enhance but also and outshine his own depictions. Thankfully, backdoor discoveries soon recapture the spotlight. Oysters from the same region typically have similar taste, the author reveals, regardless of how varieties from Long Island, the Chesapeake and Washington are marketed. “It’s impossible to identify where oysters come from,” he learns from the eccentric biologist who owns the Seasalter Shellfish company in England. “Anybody can tell you anything about where their oysters come from and nobody can prove a thing.”

A helpful, amusing, no-nonsense oyster manual for the layperson.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58243-457-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2009

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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