Sex, Death & Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover’s World Tour
by Robb Walsh
Counterpoint Press (2009)
When award-winning Texas food writer Robb Walsh discovers that the local Galveston Bay oysters are being passed off as Blue Points and Chincoteagues in other parts of the country, he decides to look into the matter. Thus begins a five-year journey into the culture of one of the world’s oldest delicacies. Walsh’s through-the-looking-glass adventure takes him from oyster reefs to oyster bars and from corporate boardrooms to hotel bedrooms in a quest for the truth about the world’s most profitable aphrodisiac.
On the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf coasts of the U.S., as well as the Canadian Maritimes, Ireland, England, and France, the author ingests thousands of oysters—raw, roasted, barbecued, and baked—all for the sake of making a fair comparison. He also considers the merits of a wide variety of accompanying libations, including tart white wines in Paris, Guinness in Galway, martinis in London, microbrews in the Pacific Northwest, and tequila in Texas.
Sex, Death and Oysters is a record of a gastronomic adventure with illustrations and recipes—a fascinating collection of the most exciting, instructive, poignant, and just plain weird experiences on a trip into the world of the most beloved and feared of all seafoods.
Once called “the Indiana Jones of food writers,” Texan Robb Walsh has developed a cult of devoted readers who have ridden shotgun with him on his obsessive culinary adventures–from the quest for the perfect cup of coffee, to barbecue battles, to Dr. Pepper bootleggers. Who better then to take a five-year quest in search of the perfect oyster, “the world’s most profitable aphrodisiac,” than the James Beard Award-winning author, who hangs his hat as the restaurant critic for The Houston Press and has written several books, including Are You Really Going to Eat That? and The Tex-Mex Cookbook. Sex, Death, and Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover’s World Tour chronicles a global culinary road trip that takes Walsh from his local Galveston Bay to the coasts of North America, and off to Ireland, England, and France. Fact-filled and laced throughout with his wry humor, Walsh recounts the hundreds of oysters shucked and prepared in myriad ways, and offers a fascinating history that goes beyond the expected, revealing coastal rivalries, recipes, shucking tips, and what to drink with your oyster.
–Brad Thomas Parsons, Amazon Best of the Month, January 2009
Sex, Death & Oysters…captures the Houston food writer at his best, offering culinary insight, scientific fact, and offbeat humor as he travels the globe in search of the truth about oysters (including their alleged resemblance to the female anatomy and occasional fatal effects). His five-year adventure led him far from Galveston Bay to places such as France and Ireland, where he questioned many a mollusk expert — harvesters, farmers, and consumers — about the makings of a superior oyster.
-Mike Shea, Texas Monthly Magazine