"The English, The French And The Oyster" 1995 NEILD, Robert

NEILD, Robert

[212] pp.

Quiller Press


9 1/2" x 6 1/2"

Why are oysters, which were so cheap and plentiful in Dicken's time, now so scarce and expensive? Why does Britain now produce only 10 million oysters a year when the French produce 2,000 million? After long research into old records and reports, and many journeys to the coasts of Britain and France, Robert Neild reveals how in Britain we neglected the oyster and permitted it to be fished almost to extinction, and how in France the oyster was conserved as a national gastronomic asset. He describes the exuberance of the mid 19th century oyster boom, the bigotry of English pundits who denied the possibility of over-fishing, the part of Napolean III and the French naval reserve in saving the French oyster; he tells of health scares, pollution and oyster hygiene that has been brought about in Britain by the introduction of new EU regulations. He finds that with improvements in oyster breeding and farming there is now scope for a revival of oyster production in Britain - provided demand can be revived. To encourage us to eat oysters again, he looks at the appeal of oysters, at the evidence as to their aphrodisiac and nutritional properties, and at how oysters have been depicted in the arts and verse; he offers practical advice how to select, buy, open and enjoy oysters. Robert Neild's love of oysters, his delight in delving into their past, combined with his skill at combining facts with anecdote and personal comment make this a most original, readable and entertaining book.

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