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“Part adventure, part memoir, part culinary awakening, Erin Byers Murray's rite of passage from novice to connoisseur takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the world of the oyster. On the way, she gives us pearls of wisdom and wit—both served up on the half shell. Cocktail sauce is optional but don't miss this book.”— Christopher White, author of Skipjack: The Story of America's Last Sailing Oystermen
"Part of the book’s charm is following Murray through the process of becoming aware of her surroundings in working directly with an edible product. Readers who enjoy Linda Greenlaw’s writing...will appreciate Murray’s offering of just enough information to allow them to become knowledgeable in all things oyster without overdoing it. ...Murray’s portrayal of her personal response to life’s changes and challenges will hold readers’ interest. An entertaining and informative firsthand experience of the locavore movement." —Library Journal
"Murray’s own love of food and food writing informs the narrative, and she skillfully dramatizes the scenes of summertime sowing and depicts her many colorful co-workers. Murray eschews poetic waxing on her subject and focuses closely on the action and the hard, hard work of farming, closing each chapter with a broad range of oyster recipes." —Publishers Weekly
"...a new understanding of locavorism and an appreciation for tradition." --The Sacramento Bee
The toils and pleasures of oystering.
Like many of her predecessors in the food-based memoir genre, Murray begins in formulaic fashion. An avowed food-lover, the author grew dissatisfied with her life as an editor for a popular Boston lifestyle magazine.She felt lost and craved a fuller connection to the things she loves.When she met one of the directors of Island Creek Oysters, she discovered an opportunity to commit to something more substantial and convinced the company to hire her as an oyster farmer for one year.Knowing nothing about oystering, Murray was schooled early and often—and her prose, frequently humorous and nicely descriptive, does a good job of getting at the grueling experience of this particular niche food industry.Unfortunately, as with so many of the authors within this genre, Murray cannot escape the indictment of privileged self-involvement.When her one-year tenure was over, the author returned to her cushy life, wiser for her blue-collar experience but oblivious to the inevitable differences—despite her avowed solidarity—that will always separate her voluntary incursion from the toil of those who must oyster for their livelihood.
An average foodie memoir.
Posted October 11, 2011
This is a fun and informative read, by a writer who spent 18 months working at Island Creek Oyster Farm in Duxbury Bay, MA. Her culinary background, witty and engaging words and her keen observations about those around her, make this a must-read for anyone interested in food, people or a great story. Doesn't that cover just about everybody?
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