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The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (1986)

por Mark Kurlansky

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8262119,537 (3.69)28
Before New York City was the Big Apple, it could have been called the Big Oyster. Author Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of the oyster, whose influence on the great metropolis remains unparalleled. For centuries New York was famous for its oysters, Gotham's most celebrated export, a staple food for the wealthy, the poor, and tourists alike, and the primary natural defense against pollution for the city's congested waterways. Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insight, from the island hunting ground of the Lenape Indians to the death of the oyster beds and the rise of America's environmentalist movement, here are the stories behind Peter Stuyvesant's peg leg and Robert Fulton's "Folly"; the oyster merchant and pioneering African American leader Thomas Downing; the birth of the business lunch at Delmonico's; early feminist Fanny Fern, one of the highest-paid newspaper writers in the city; and even "Diamond" Jim Brady.--From publisher description.… (mais)
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An historical look at the history of oysters, centered around New York area. An interesting look at history through a delectable food. ( )
  addunn3 | May 27, 2019 |
A well written account of the founding of NYC, and the oysters that went along with them. I enjoyed the read. ( )
  Alexiou | Dec 16, 2018 |
Who would have thought that a non-academic book would be written about the history of oysters in New York? Who would have thought that I would have read such a book? Who would have thought I would like the book?

I was drawn to “The Big Oyster” after enjoying other Kurlansky books and while it was New York-centred and some of the references went over my head I was amazed at how the oyster; today a food for the wealthy ($18 for a dozen at my local supermarket) was once just about the most common of foods with oyster bars dotting New York streets. I was a bit disappointed Kurlansky didn’t refer to Dr W.G. Grace’s (the most famous cricketer of the nineteenth century) visit to New York with his cricket team, where he had “a dinner fit for the gods”, feasting on oysters of a size they had never seen before. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Nov 17, 2017 |
History of Oyster farming ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 9, 2017 |
A reflection on the history of oyster harvesting in the waters around NYC. This was more lively of a story than Salt, although covers a relatively short time period. ( )
  Darth-Heather | May 31, 2016 |
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To anyone who is familiar with New Yorkers, it should not be surprising to learn that they were once famous for eating their food live.
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Before New York City was the Big Apple, it could have been called the Big Oyster. Author Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of the oyster, whose influence on the great metropolis remains unparalleled. For centuries New York was famous for its oysters, Gotham's most celebrated export, a staple food for the wealthy, the poor, and tourists alike, and the primary natural defense against pollution for the city's congested waterways. Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insight, from the island hunting ground of the Lenape Indians to the death of the oyster beds and the rise of America's environmentalist movement, here are the stories behind Peter Stuyvesant's peg leg and Robert Fulton's "Folly"; the oyster merchant and pioneering African American leader Thomas Downing; the birth of the business lunch at Delmonico's; early feminist Fanny Fern, one of the highest-paid newspaper writers in the city; and even "Diamond" Jim Brady.--From publisher description.

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