Harry Mount

Why Ask If Shad Do It?

The Big Oyster: New York in the World – A Molluscular History


Jonathan Cape 307pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Next time you eat an oyster, you may or may not like to know that you’re eating the oyster’s brain, stomach, intestines, liver, heart, muscle, gills and lips. Oh, and that thin salty water all these things are floating in? That’s oyster blood.

People who like oysters are a robust breed – the sort who like their beef blue and their Bloody Marys fiery – and will actively like the idea of swallowing bits of anatomy. They also tend to be a pretty well-off, sophisticated breed nowadays. Even though oyster consumption is on the up, and oysters are flourishing in British waters, they are still the staple diet in Green’s of St James’s, not in McDonald’s.

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