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Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
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Cod Quotes Showing 1-30 of 35
“Man wants to see nature and evolution as separate from human activities. There is a natural world, and there is man. But man also belongs to the natural world. If he is a ferocious predator, that too is part of evolution. If cod and haddock and other species cannot survive because man kills them, something more adaptable will take their place. Nature, the ultimate pragmatist, doggedly searches for something that works. But as the cockroach demonstrates, what works best in nature does not always appeal to us.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“To the glee of the British press, a letter has recently been discovered. The letter had been sent to Christopher Columbus, a decade after the Croft affair in Bristol, while Columbus was taking bows for his discovery of America. The letter, from Bristol merchants, alleged that he knew perfectly well that they had been to America already. It is not known if Columbus ever replied. He didn’t need to. Fishermen were keeping their secrets, while explorers were telling the world. Columbus had claimed the entire new world for Spain.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Man wants to see nature and evolution as separate from human activities. There is the natural world, and there is man. But man also belongs to the natural world. If he is a ferocious predator, that too is a part of evolution.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Nature remains focused on survival.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“The technology never reverses itself. It creates new technology to confront new sets of problems.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“The town of Lunenburg was built on a hill running down to a sheltered harbour. On one of the upper streets stands a Presbyterian church with a huge gilded cod on its weather vane. Along the waterfront, the wooden-shingled houses are brick red, a color that originally came from mixing clay with cod-liver oil to protect the wood against the salt of the waterfront. It is the look of Nova Scotia - brick red wood, dark green pine, charcoal sea.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“When the Basque whalers applied to cod the salting techniques they were using on whale, they discovered a particularly good marriage because the cod is virtually without fat, and so if salted and dried well, would rarely spoil. It would outlast whale, which is red meat, and it would outlast herring, a fatty fish that became a popular salted item of the northern countries in the Middle Ages.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“The medieval church imposed fast days on which sexual intercourse and the eating of flesh were forbidden, but eating "cold" foods was permitted. because fish came from water, it was deemed cold, as were waterfowl and whale, but meat was considered hot food.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Cod became almost a religious icon - a mythological crusader for Christian observance.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Cod meat has virtually no fat (.3 percent) and is more than 18 percent protein, which is unusually high even for fish. And when cod is dried, the more than 80 percent of its flesh that is water having evaporated, it becomes concentrated protein - almost 80 percent protein.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Since the industrial revolution, Great Britain had been developing an ever-increasing market for groundfish - especially cod, haddock, and plaice - because fried fish, later fish-and-chips, became the favorite dish of the urban working class.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“By the time the war ended, Iceland was a changed country. Not least among the changes, in 1944 it had negotiated full independence from Denmark. Now it was free to negotiate its own relations with the rest of the world. Because of cod, it had moved in one generation from a fifteenth-century colonial society to a modern postwar nation.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“PARTY CHOWDER Take a cod of ten pounds, well cleaned, leaving on the skin. Cut into pieces one and a half pounds thick, preserving the head whole. Take one and a half pounds of clear, fat salt pork, cut in thin slices. Do the same with twelve potatoes. Take the largest pot you have. Try out the pork first, then take out the pieces of pork, leaving in the drippings. Add to that three parts of water, a layer of fish, so as to cover the bottom of the pot; next a layer of potatoes, then two tablespoons of salt, I teaspoon of pepper, then the pork, another layer of fish, and the remainder of the potatoes. Fill the pot with water to cover the ingredients. Put over a good fire. Let the chowder boil twenty-five minutes. When this is done have a quart of boiling milk ready, and ten hard crackers split and dipped in cold water. Add milk and crackers. Let the whole boil five minutes. The chowder is then ready to be first-rate if you have followed the directions. An onion may be added if you like the flavor. This chowder is suitable for a large fishing”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“The word cod is of unknown origin. For something that began as food for good Catholics on the days they were to abstain from sex, it is not clear why, in several languages, the words for salt cod have come to have sexual connotations. In the English-speaking West Indies, saltfish is the common name for salt cod. In slang, saltfish means "a woman's genitals", and while Caribbeans do love their salt cod, it is this other meaning that is responsible for the frequent appearance of the word saltfish in Caribbean songs such as the Mighty Sparrow's "Saltfish".”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“In Middle English, cod meant "a bag or a sack", or by inference, "a scrotum", which is why the outrageous purse that sixteenth-century men wore at their crotch to give the appearance of enormous and decorative genitals was called a codpiece.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Typical of Iberia, both the Basques and the Catalans claim the word comes from their own languages, and the rest of Spain disagrees. Catalans have a myth that cod was the proud king of fish and was always speaking boastfully, which was an offence to God. "Va callar!" (Will you be quiet!), God told the cod in Catalan. Whatever the word's origin, in Spain lo que corta el bacalao, the person who cuts the salt cod, is a colloquialism for the person in charge.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Then, in 1497, five years after Columbus first stumbled across the Caribbean while searching for a westward route to the spice-producing lands of Asia, Giovanni Caboto sailed from Bristol, not in search of the Bristol secret but in the hopes of finding the route to Asia that Columbus had missed. Caboto was a Genovese who is remembered by the English name John Cabot, because he undertook this voyage for Henry VII of England. The English, being in the North, were far from the spice route and so paid exceptionally high prices for spices. Cabot reasoned correctly that the British Crown and the Bristol merchants would be willing to finance a search for a northern spice route. In June, after only thirty-five days at sea, Cabot found land, though it wasn’t Asia. It was a vast, rocky coastline that was ideal for salting and drying fish, by a sea that was teeming with cod. Cabot reported on the cod as evidence of the wealth of this new land,”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Massachusetts had elevated cod from commodity to fetish.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Newfoundlanders debated over when "the cod was coming back". Few dared ask if. Or what happens to the ocean if they don't come back?”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“gastronomically, a wild salmon and a farmed salmon have as much in common as a side of wild boar has with pork chops.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Nature may have even less patience than politicians.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Nature, the ultimate pragmatist, doggedly searches for something that works. But as the cockroach demonstrates, what works best in nature does not always appeal to us.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Salt cod, morue, had slowly made its way up from peasant food in the south to become an honored French tradition. But not fresh cod.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Politics and nationalism often play far greater roles than conservation in the decision-making process.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Newlyn does not look like the Cornish towns on either side: Penzance and Mousehole. Those are resort towns where British vacationers practice that peculiarly British pastime of strolling the beaches and walkways, bundled in sweaters and mufflers. But Newlyn is a fishing town - or, increasingly, an out-of-work fishing town.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“There is a big difference between living in a society that hunts whales and living in one that views them. Nature is being reduced to precious demonstrations for entertainment and education, something far less natural than hunting. Are we headed for a world where nothing is left of nature but parks?”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Antoine-Auguste Parmentier was an eighteenth-century officer who popularized the potato in the French Army, and his name has ever since meant "with potatoes".”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“The most highly developed salt cod cuisine in the world is that of the Spanish Basque provinces. Until the nineteenth century, salt cod was exclusively food for the poor, usually broken up in stews.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“People who know fresh cod - from the great restaurants of France, to British working-class fish shops, to the St. John's waterfront - all agree on three things: It should be cooked quickly and gently, it should be prepared simply, and, above all, it must be a thick piece. Only a large piece can be properly cooked.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
“Where there are Norwegian communities, there are cod clubs.”
Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

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