Tillie, Carolyn

In Oyster: A Global History, Carolyn Tillie delves into the culinary, artistic, sexual, historical, and scientific history of the humble bivalve. Since the dawn of time oysters have inhabited the earth. Naturally high in essential vitamins and minerals, they are one of the oldest known and most widely enjoyed foods consumed by humans. Varying in size from as small as a grape to as large as a dinner plate, the oyster has driven countries towards discovery and exploration. It has been the food of the rich and the sustenance of the poor.  Renowned for its supposed aphrodisiac quality, it has inspired writers, poets, painters, and lovers. Throughout history, it has also contributed to the spread of diseases such as typhoid and cholera. Follow the story from the prehistoric up to the present day, discovering how the oyster became the food of both paupers and kings, contributed to the building of empires and the demise of ecosystems, and why it may be the creature to help save the world’s dying coastal shorelines and reefs.

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Reaktion Books, November 2017.  208 pages, hardcover, colour illustrations.