Linda's Reviews > Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

Cod by Mark Kurlansky
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's review
Sep 15, 2009

really liked it
Read in February, 2006

I have read in my colonial history research about the plentiful schools of very large cod that were found along the New England coast in colonial times, and decided to see what else I could learn about the fisheries. This little book is well written and readable, with a section of cod recipes at the end of the book. (Many of these, like Fried Cod Head, or Stewed Codfish Tongues, seem to be of historical interest only.) Cod was dried and/or salted to preserve it through the winter months, and was pretty much a steady diet for people along the Canadian and New England coasts, as well as in Spain and Portugal. I also learned a lot about the fishing industry over the past fifty years, and the scarcity of many kinds of fish today because people did not heed warnings that the great plenty from the seas would not always continue. The practice of ground netting, which nets everything on the bottom of the sea and lets the fishermen discard any that are not wanted, is one reason for the great decline in stock. I was a little surprised that the fisheries on the Isles of Shoals in the 17th century were not mentioned.
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