cover image Fish on a First-Name Basis: How Fish Is Caught, Bought, Cleaned, Cooked, and Eaten

Fish on a First-Name Basis: How Fish Is Caught, Bought, Cleaned, Cooked, and Eaten

Rob DeBorde, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-312-34220-3

DeBorde, a writer for the Food Network's Good Eats , has taken the slick and amusing characteristics of that Alton Brown show and applied them toward the proper understanding of seafood. Marginalia runs rampant, telling readers, for example, that swordfish enjoy glow-in-the-dark bait and that some clams live for more than a century. Fortunately, the author knows his way around a pun and is expert and comprehensive in his fishy explorations. Vital stats and nutritional information charts dot most chapters, and 18 sea creatures get their own sections. In each, recipes are preceded by several pages of historical or ichthyological ponderings. For east coasters, the chapter on Dungeness crabs will prove revelatory. Naturally, there is a traditional Fish and Chips recipe, made with cod, and there's a fine page on turning tuna into sushi. Illustrations are appropriately funny and instructive. A red snapper holds up a sign reading, "Yes, I am a red snapper, why do you ask?" and then a few pages later is gutted and carved, step by step. If it's true you can tune a piano but you cannot tuna fish, DeBorde at least takes on his material in just the right pitch. (Apr.)