Where Cod and Salt focused on individual ingredients and their place in world history, The Big Oyster constricts its focus to the role of oysters in the history of New York. For many reviewers, the narrowing of the subject makes his well-researched digressions seem out of place. Critics celebrate his account of Manhattan history and the often-surprising role oysters played in its burgeoning economy and social life, but they are generally disappointed in a story that is not as cohesive as they have come to expect from the author. If The Big Oyster doesn't harbor any pearls, it offers a tasty snack__and a cautionary tale about our profligate use of resources.
This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.