American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery from Sea to Shining Sea

Barton Seaver. Sterling Epicure, $50 (528p) ISBN 978-1-4549-1940-7
Seaver (For Cod and Country), head of the sustainable seafood and health initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health, has assembled a gorgeous illustrated encyclopedic survey of America’s evolving relationship with seafood. From abalone to wreckfish, Seaver details key characteristics of each fish, its place in culinary history, and common preparations: grouper, for example, are caught mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, and are an “all-purpose fish, as their pearly white meat cooperates with just about any flavors and methods of preparation.” Occasionally he suggests recipes for classic dishes such as lobster Newburg, cioppino stew, and seafood gumbo. Seaver offers accolades to the people in the fishing industry who help bring that food to the table, and the book is accordingly laced with gorgeous photos of fishers and their vessels, massive stacks of preserved halibut and fresh shrimp, and vintage advertisements and other fishing ephemera. “Seafood is part of our culinary heritage,” Seaver writes in the book’s introduction, and his argument that Americans can’t understand the present without knowledge of the past rings loud and clear in this remarkable work. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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