Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm (Paperback)
Bill Buford's Heat meets Phoebe Damrosch's Service Included in this unique blend of personal narrative, food miscellany, and history
In March of 2009, Erin Byers Murray ditched her pampered city girl lifestyle and convinced the rowdy and mostly male crew at Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Massachusetts, to let a completely unprepared, aquaculture-illiterate food and lifestyle writer work for them for 12 months to learn the business of oysters. SHUCKED is part love letter, part memoir and part documentary about the world's most beloved bivalves. An in-depth look at the work that goes into getting oysters from farm to table, SHUCKED shows Erin's full-circle journey through the modern day oyster farming process and tells a dynamic story about the people who grow our food, and the cutting-edge community of weathered New England oyster farmers who are defying convention and looking ahead. The narrative also interweaves Erin's personal story—the tale of how a technology-obsessed workaholic learns to slow life down a little bit and starts to enjoy getting her hands dirty (and cold). This is a book for oyster lovers everywhere, but also a great read for locavores and foodies in general.
About the Author
Erin Byers Murray is a Boston area journalist who specializes in food and wine writing, and was the Boston editor for DailyCandy.com. Her work as been published in the Boston Globe, Food and Wine, Boston Magazine, Bon Appetit, and many more. She is the author of Shucked.
“While most books about oysters tell people what they want to hear, Shucked tells it like it is: the frigid winter days on the water with hands like popsicles, the backbreaking work, the anxiety of nurturing thousands of dollars' worth of oyster seed, the hard-partying nights. Erin Byers Murray captures the seasonal rhythms of the New England coast and the romance of one exceptional company's efforts to coax great food from the sea. You'll never take an oyster for granted again.” —Rowan Jacobsen, author of A Geography of Oysters
“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