Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

By Mark Kurlansky

From the Bestselling writer of Salt and The Basque heritage of the World

Cod, Mark Kurlansky’s 3rd paintings of nonfiction and winner of the 1999 James Beard Award, is the biography of a unmarried species of fish, however it could in addition be a global historical past with this humble fish as its ordinary major personality. Cod, it seems, is the cause Europeans set sail around the Atlantic, and it's the merely cause they can. What did the Vikings consume in icy Greenland and at the 5 expeditions to the USA recorded within the Icelandic sagas? Cod, frozen and dried within the frosty air, then damaged into items and eaten like hardtack. What used to be the staple of the medieval nutrition? Cod back, bought salted via the Basques, an enigmatic individuals with a mysterious, limitless provide of cod. As we make our method throughout the centuries of cod background, we additionally discover a scrumptious legacy of recipes, and the tragic tale of environmental failure, of depleted fishing shares the place as soon as their numbers have been mythical. during this beautiful, considerate background, Mark Kurlansky ponders the query: Is the fish that replaced the area without end replaced by means of the world's folly?

“A fascinating fish story and a fine looking present in your favourite seafood cook dinner or fishing monomaniac. yet in the final research, it’s a sour ecological delusion for our time.” –Los Angeles Times

“Every from time to time a author of specific ability takes a clean, possible inconceivable suggestion and turns out a ebook of natural pride. Such is the case of Mark Kurlansky and the codfish.” –David McCullough

“One of the 25 top Books of the Year.” –The New York Public Library

Mark Kurlansky is the writer of many books together with Salt, The Basque background of the World, 1968, and The sizeable Oyster. His most up-to-date e-book is Birdseye.

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Even if Cabot had claimed North the US for England, British fishermen had now not instantly joined the cod rush simply because catches have been solid in Iceland. It used to be cod that had first lured Englishmen from the security in their beach in pre-Roman occasions. by means of the early 15th century, - and three-masted ketches with rudders have been going to Iceland and the Faroes. not just have been those the superior fishing vessels of the day, yet now not until eventually the 20 th century could Icelanders have vessels of an equivalent caliber for fishing their very own waters. however the clash among England and the Germans of the Hanseatic League over rights to Icelandic cod grew gradually worse. In 1532, an Englishman, John the wide, was once murdered within the Icelandic fishing station of Grindavik. although Britain’s Icelandic Cod Wars are considered a twentieth-century phenomenon, the 1st one used to be trigger through this Grindavik killing and used to be fought no longer opposed to Iceland, which used to be a colonized and docile country by means of then, yet opposed to the Hanseatic League, which had constructed its personal military. Uncharacteristic of the British, after a quick struggle they just withdrew from the Icelandic fishery. As di Soncino had anticipated, Britain didn’t want Iceland anymore. aspect displaying Cod battle of 1532 off of Grindavík from Olaus Magnus’s Carta Marina, 1539. (Uppsala college Library, Uppsala) With the hole up of Newfoundland, the British West nation begun constructing significant fishing ports. within the days of sluggish crusing, a westward place was once an immense virtue since it decreased the size of a voyage. other than eire, which used to be too impoverished to boost a far off water fleet, the ports that remained very important to the Newfoundland fishery into the mid-twentieth century—St. -Malo at the Brittany peninsula, Vigo at the northwest tip of Spain, the Portuguese ports—were these within the eu areas closest to Newfoundland. The Spanish Basque urban of Bilbao, with its ironworks supplying the anchors and different steel fittings for Europe’s ships, was once one of many ports that grew with the growth in shipbuilding created by way of the cod exchange. in keeping with historian Samuel Eliot Morison, at no time in historical past, now not even in the course of global conflict II, has there ever been one of these call for for alternative of sunken ships as among 1530 and 1600. ecu ambition was once just too some distance prior to know-how, and till greater ships and higher navigation have been built, shipwrecks and disappearances have been a customary a part of this new event. during this quickly increasing advertisement international, the British had one nice drawback over the French, Spanish, and Portuguese: they'd just a modest offer of salt. such a lot northern nations lacked salt and easily produced wintry weather fish that used to be dried with no salting. It was once referred to as stockfish, from the Dutch be aware stok, which means “pole,” as the fish have been tied in pairs via the tail and hung over poles to dry, as continues to be performed out at the lava fields of Iceland each wintry weather. however the English desired to produce a year-round provide of cod for a transforming into industry, and because neither the North Sea nor Iceland used to be chilly adequate for drying fish in the summertime, they turned depending on salting.

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