Tom's Reviews > Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World

Cod by Mark Kurlansky
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's review
May 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: food-and-drink, non-fiction, history

This book was a great fit for my interests. It talks about how food (which I love to eat), geography (which has always fascinated me), and history (which I studied in school). It even included historic recipes from various cultures which ate cod.

I don't think I've ever had cod, particularly salt cod, and based on how catastrophically it has been over fished, I may never have it. It was such a widely traded commodity for centuries, it's not shocking that it became depleted. The most interesting point this book raised was that there were various fishing cultures, such as the Basque, may have discovered the Grand Banks far earlier than John Cabot, the first European credited as sailing there. Large cod catches were reported earlier and fishermen would understandably want to keep lucrative fisheries secret.

It would be interesting to have this book updated. Its copyright is from 1997 and I'm curious whether the cod populations have stabilized since writing, and what other fish species have been utterly decimated.
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