The ultimate oyster guide
We’re finally to the months with Rs in them. Thank goodness. And just in time for oyster season is one of the most remarkable single-subject books to come along in a while: Rowan Jacobsen’s “A Geography of Oysters.” Jacobsen, a staff writer for Ed Behr’s The Art of Eating newsletter, covers oysters in exhaustive detail, but with writing so engaging and sprightly that reading about the briny darlings is almost as compulsive as eating them.
Whether you are a timid newcomer or a veteran slurper, this book will improve your oyster eating immeasurably. Jacobsen walks you through some of the oyster basics. This even includes a chapter on “What Kind of Oyster Eater Are You?” that analyzes your slurping style and then recommends specific oysters that are likely to please you (“Shrinking Violets” will probably prefer Beausoleils or Kumamotos; “Connoisseurs” will be happier with Olympias and Totten Virginicas.) On a more serious note, he addresses issues of aquaculture and oysters and food safety. For a finale, per the title, he details more than 100 specific oysters, giving specifics on variety, growing area and even cultivator. In addition, Jacobsen has a website that shares not only some of the book’s highlights, but also a plethora of links for ordering oysters for yourself.
There may be no more pleasurable food than a raw oyster; there almost certainly is no better guide.
-- Russ Parsons