By Mark Kurlansky

From the Bestselling writer of Salt and The Basque heritage of the World

Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s 3rd paintings of nonfiction and winner of the 1999 James Beard Award, is the biography of a unmarried species of fish, however it may possibly besides be an international heritage with this humble fish as its ordinary major personality. Cod, it seems, is the cause Europeans set sail around the Atlantic, and it's the merely cause they can. What did the Vikings consume in icy Greenland and at the 5 expeditions to the United States recorded within the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried within the frosty air, then damaged into items and eaten like hardtack. What was once the staple of the medieval nutrition? Cod back, bought salted by way of the Basques, an enigmatic individuals with a mysterious, limitless offer of cod. As we make our approach throughout the centuries of cod background, we additionally discover a scrumptious legacy of recipes, and the tragic tale of environmental failure, of depleted fishing shares the place as soon as their numbers have been mythical. during this attractive, considerate background, Mark Kurlansky ponders the query: Is the fish that replaced the area eternally replaced by way of the world's folly?

“A fascinating fish story and an exquisite reward on your favourite seafood prepare dinner or fishing monomaniac. yet in the final research, it’s a sour ecological myth for our time.” –Los Angeles Times

“Every every now and then a author of specific ability takes a clean, likely inconceivable thought and turns out a publication of natural pride. Such is the case of Mark Kurlansky and the codfish.” –David McCullough

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

Mark Kurlansky is the writer of many books together with Salt, The Basque background of the World, 1968, and The vast Oyster. His most modern publication is Birdseye.

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It used to be referred to as stockfish, from the Dutch note stok, that means “pole,” as the fish have been tied in pairs by way of the tail and hung over poles to dry, as remains to be performed out at the lava fields of Iceland each wintry weather. however the English desired to produce a year-round offer of cod for a starting to be marketplace, and because neither the North Sea nor Iceland was once chilly adequate for drying fish in the summertime, they grew to become depending on salting. a few fish have been easily offered salted and undried, which turned referred to as “green” now not as a result of colour yet since it used to be thought of a extra traditional kingdom than dried fish. yet in an try to preserve their restricted salt, the British invented a product that was once to be favourite in Mediterranean and Caribbean markets for hundreds of years: a calmly salted dried cod. The Norwegians referred to as it terranova fisk, Newfoundland fish, yet later used the identify klipfisk, rockfish, since it used to be dried on rocky coasts. As eco-friendly and salted-and-dried fish turned to be had, they have been most popular to the unsalted stockfish and taken considerably better costs. The British experimented with new items akin to a summer-cured dried cod from the Grand Banks often called Habardine or terrible John. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Trinculo says of Caliban, whom he unearths at the seashore, “He smells like a fish—a very old and fish-like smell—a form of, now not of the most recent, terrible john. ” wintry weather remedies have been identified to be enhanced. different diversifications have been built. a few fish was once salted at once, and a few was once pickled in brine in barrels. the various pickled and a few of the fairway have been later dried to offer them extra longevity. there has been not just a large collection of items in cured Newfoundland cod but in addition, without doubt, a good diversity of caliber. “As to their caliber, lots of them Stink, for’tis a undeniable Maxim, that if Fish or Flesh be no longer good cured and salted first, they can't be recovered,” John Collins, an accountant to the Royal Fishery, wrote in Salt and Fisheries. it's not unintentionally Royal Fishery accountant used to be publishing a booklet on salt in 1682. The British fisheries had through then been wrestling with the salt challenge for hundreds of years. Collins mentioned that brackish water round England might be boiled, which yielded extra salt than did evaporating seawater. He mentioned the relative caliber of salt and provided this recipe for one of many higher English salts. ... the style of boyling the Brine into Salt at Namptwich. They boyl it in Iron Pans, approximately three foot sq., and six inches deep; their Fires are made from Staffordshire Pit-Coles, and one in every of their smaller Pans is boiled in 2 hours time. to explain and lift the Scum, they use Calves, Cows and Sheeps blood, which in Philosophical Transaction, No 142, is related to provide the Salt an ailing flavour. Wich is an Anglo-Saxon be aware that means “a position that has salt,” and all of the English cities whose names result in wich have been at one time salt manufacturers. yet they can by no means produce sufficient for the Newfoundland cod fishery. Collins warned opposed to French salt, which he acknowledged was once bad.

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