Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

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Penguin, Jul 1, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
582 Reviews

From the Bestselling Author of Salt and The Basque History of the World

Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s third work of nonfiction and winner of the 1999 James Beard Award, is the biography of a single species of fish, but it may as well be a world history with this humble fish as its recurring main character. Cod, it turns out, is the reason Europeans set sail across the Atlantic, and it is the only reason they could. What did the Vikings eat in icy Greenland and on the five expeditions to America recorded in the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried in the frosty air, then broken into pieces and eaten like hardtack. What was the staple of the medieval diet? Cod again, sold salted by the Basques, an enigmatic people with a mysterious, unlimited supply of cod. As we make our way through the centuries of cod history, we also find a delicious legacy of recipes, and the tragic story of environmental failure, of depleted fishing stocks where once their numbers were legendary. In this lovely, thoughtful history, Mark Kurlansky ponders the question: Is the fish that changed the world forever changed by the world's folly?

“A charming fish tale and a pretty gift for your favorite seafood cook or fishing monomaniac. But in the last analysis, it’s a bitter ecological fable for our time.” –Los Angeles Times

“Every once in a while a writer of particular skill takes a fresh, seemingly improbable idea and turns out a book of pure delight. Such is the case of Mark Kurlansky and the codfish.” –David McCullough

“One of the 25 Best Books of the Year.” –The New York Public Library

Mark Kurlansky is the author of many books including Salt, The Basque History of the World, 1968, and The Big Oyster. His newest book is Birdseye.

 

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The research and readability of it is really amazing. - LibraryThing
The recipes, however, did nothing for me. - LibraryThing
This is some great writing! - LibraryThing
Easy to read with lots of little known facts. - LibraryThing
... recipes for salt cod. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dele2451 - LibraryThing

A hearty chowder of fishing lore, naval history, maritime law, traditional cookery, cod biology, and ocean ecology. Would make a nice boxed set with Kurlansky's earlier book, "Salt". Read full review

Review: Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

User Review  - Narasu - Goodreads

I listened to this book on Audible and found it thoroughly fascinating, and a little depressing. The nearly-eradicated cod supply is an example of man's destruction at its most efficient. And I don't ... Read full review

All 148 reviews »

Contents

THE MEDIEVAL COD CRAZE
THE WELLCOOKED HEAD
THE SHAME OF IT
THE CHOWDER AND DANIEL WEBSTER
WEST INDIA IN THE WEST INDIES
A LINGERING MEMORY
DELIGHTING IN HENCOD ROES
NEW ENGLAND VISIT
THE BAD NEWS AT WALDEN POND
SPARE PARTS
CHOWDER
THE DIASPORA OF THE WEST INDIA CURE
THE GREAT FRENCH DISGUISE
BALLS
BRANDADE
THE FISH THAT SPOKE BASQUE

A NEW DANISH YEAR
BABES IN ICELAND
SUNDAY IN NEWFOUNDLAND
THE PARIS DEBUT OF FRESH SALT COD
BACALAONATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
HOW TO COOK THE LAST LARGE COD
GENERAL HISTORY
FISH AND FISHERIES
FOOD HISTORY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Mark Kurlansky is the "New York Times" bestselling and James A. Beard Award-winning author of "1968: The Year That Rocked the World" and "Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World".

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